5 Tips For Effortlessly Flawless Engagement Photos


Spring has sprouted here in Minneapolis and another thing that's in full bloom-engagement sessions. For me, engagement sessions are the best way for me to build report, connect, and learn about what makes my couples love unique. I adore shooting these sessions.  

When I first started photographing weddings, I'd get tons of emails from brides-to-be all too giddy to schedule their engagement sessions. But I learned quickly that picking a date on a calendar is only part of the process when it came to preparing my clients for our photoshoot. For most people, this may be one of the handfuls of times they have ever stepped foot in front of a professional camera in their life, and while I always send my couples a lot of information leading up to their engagement session, today on the blog, I thought I'd share some of that advice. 

1) The atmosphere:

You should feel at home in your surroundings, at the end of the day it doesn't matter where you are, it matters who you're with.  When it comes to picking out a location, the only real advice I have for my couples is this, choose a place that you feel at home. If you and your partner enjoy the quiet countryside, don't pick a bustling city local as your backdrop. You want to be able to express your affection and emotion for each other freely, so choose a spot that fits your personalities. Likewise, if you live and breath for the city and the thought of dirt, mosquitos and insect repellant isn't quite your thing, don't opt for the picturesque field just because it's popular on Pinterest.  You want your images to be a reflection of you as a couple not some carbon copy of everyone else's engagement sessions. If you have a favorite activity you both enjoy doing together; let's schedule a photo shoot around that! Click here to check out an awesome example of Ashley and Dan's recent engagement session featuring Skee-Ball and roller skates!


2) The Fashion:

Contrary to what you might have heard or read about on Pinterest when choosing outfits for your engagement session, you don't want to be too matchy-matchy unless you're trying to channel those cheesy Proex portraits. I'm not entirely knocking Proex, it's actually where I got my start as a portrait photographer, but there's a reason they went out of business and cheesy matching outfits awkward patriarchal poses are among the list of reasons. 

Start with something you are comfortable wearing. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing because it's too tight, or lose it will show up on camera. While color is good and a little eclectic taste never hurt anyone, I always recommend couples stay away from tight, repetitive patterns and flashy colors because they can drag the eye away from focusing on the intimacy of you and your soon-to-be spouse. My sessions always include two outfit changes so opt for both a casual everyday look like jeans and a t-shirt and a dressier ensemble like a flowing maxi dress for her paired with a more formal button down for him. I want your images to breath YOU, so pick your wardrobe based on items you would wear in real life. 

3) The Hair and make-up:

Use this as an opportunity to get dolled up. That's right girl, I'm giving you permission! It’s not every day that you get portraits taken together, so use the engagement session as a chance to get your hair and makeup professionally done! It’ll also immediately make you feel more confident going into the session, especially since these photos are ones you’ll likely want to hang on your walls. 

If you already have your hair and makeup artist selected for your wedding day, you may ask to use this as you “trial” with them to test out a few looks and see how well they translate in your images. And afterward, what better way to end the evening than heading out to dinner, since you’ll both look dressed up and ready for a night on the town! You can never go wrong with falsies, a bold lip, and a fresh manicure to show off your ring!


4) The Golden Hour:

Timing is everything! As a natural light photographer, I plan my sessions around the lighting of the day.  I usually begin them an hour and a half before sunset which will allow for an outfit change and a location change while shooting during the golden hour. We don’t always have control over shooting in this light on your wedding day, so taking advantage of an open schedule for your engagement shoot is so worth it. This also means that you need to be on time and ready to shoot at the scheduled start time. We can only shoot until the sun goes down, so if you are late – that is less time for us to create magic! 

Lastly, but most importantly...

5) The experience

Have Fun! I know that engagement sessions can seem nerve wrecking especially if this is one of the first times you've found yourself stepping in front of a professionals camera, but that's just what I am, a professional.  During our session, you'll quickly learn 4 basic poses that I teach all my couples and I’ll help guide you through our time together offering direction and allowing for natural movement to create variation from there. You'll be feeling like you're gracing the covers of vogue in no time at all! And remember, this is a time when you two simply get to hang out and spend time together. So relax, flirt away, and be conversational (Both with me and with the love of your life!) It’s totally normal to feel nervous, but know that I’ve got you covered and want the entire experience to feel and be the most effortless part of your wedding planning!