So, I'm just going to come right out and say it: Being in front of the camera can feel unnatural and sometimes, just down-right weird. Heck, I'm a photographer and I still get the camera-jitters from time to time when I'm on the other side of the lens! But, the truth is: having your pictures taken for your engagement session doesn't have to be an uncomfortable experience - it can actually be really fun!
Almost every single one of my couples I've had the opportunity to shoot with have never had their photos taken professionally; and almost every single one of them have said what you're most likely thinking at this very moment "but, we're awkward in photos." well guess what? No, you're not. You just don't feel comfortable. There's a big difference.
So to help you feel just a little bit more comfortable in front of the lens, here are some tips you can follow before and during your engagement shoot:
1. Choose a Photographer Who Gets You
I know, I know. This sounds super biased coming from me, but it's true! Think about it: Would you rather have your photos taken by someone you've spoken to once during the initial phone call, not talk to them until the day of, and be put into poses that feel unnatural and, you know, posed? Or would you rather have a photographer who actually takes the time to get to know both of you, your personalities, how the two of you interact together, etc. so they can translate that into your photos so when you're looking back on them, they feel true to you?
Having a photographer who already knows your personalities and gets along with you will make it feel like you're just bringing a friend to take some photos of the two of you on your little adventure. You won't be worried as much of "what are they thinking of me?" "they probably think we're weird." Because they'll already know you and will love that side of you!
2. Choose Outfits that Make You Feel Comfortable
The outfits you choose, believe it or not, are really important in determining the vibe of your session. I have another post I'll link below that goes over all the ins and outs of choosing the perfect outfits for your engagement session, but the most important point out of all of it is to find an outfit you will feel comfortable in. Show up as yourself (with a little bit of spice, of course.) But remember that you want these photos to be an honest representation of your love for one another, and, equally as important, an honest representation of you! So be sure to wear something you'll feel 100% confident in! Click Here for the Outfit Guide
3. Focus on Each Other
When in doubt, just look at your partner! Looking at each other can spark many emotions and reactions! Whether that's laughter, intimacy, silly faces, all of them are gold! This is your engagement session, after all.
If you need a moment to ground yourself, or start to feel a bit overwhelmed, just look at your lover and think of all the things you adore about them. This will bring about those genuine reactions in your photos that we all know and love. You can even close your eyes during this! Rest your head on their chest, and simply breathe. You don't even have to announce this to your photographer, just simply be present in the moment with them. Take it all in, and when you're ready, you can open your eyes again and look to your photographer for what's next!
4. Movement is Key
Wiggle it out! Move around! Switch to a new rock ^^^ - having a constant flow of motion (even the slightest of hand motions) will create more genuine, less-posed images. Your photographer will be able to give you great prompts to implement into your session to keep these motions going, and in turn, they will feel more natural for you to do, and can be really fun too!
for instance, your photographer could either:
a.) prompt you to where your partner is giving you a kiss on the cheek or temple, and have you close your eyes and smile while caressing each other softly (small movement). OR
b.) prompt you to where your partner has to give you as many kisses all over your face in a matter of 10 seconds, and you have to avoid them at all costs (big movement)!
examples of each
both of these are great ideas, but have very different end results. The "small movement" prompt will give more of an intimate feel to the photo, like a quiet moment between the two of you. The "big movement" prompt will have that big, genuine laughter and the candid moments we all know and love.
5. Ignore the Camera
Yep. Ignore it! Pretend it's not even there! When you go into your session together with the right mentality of "we're just going to enjoy our time together and (Faith/Our Photographer) is just coming along to get to know us better before our big day!" you'll have nothing to stress about. Keep in mind that this session isn't for the sole purpose of looking perfect but by looking perfectly and completely you! You'll be moving around, having fun together, laughing, talking, (tripping over your feet maybe), and, most importantly - enjoying your time with each other. Pretty soon, you won't even feel there's a camera there!
Planning Your Own
Looking to plan your own engagement session and need a little inspiration? Check out this dreamy engagement session at Rock Island State Park, TN!