Taking engagement photos is one of the most fun things you’ll get to do as a couple. It’s like your wedding day, but without all of the pressure. Just the two of you, beaming, and a crew of paparazzi following behind. You’ll feel like rock stars. Here are some of my best tips on how to make the most of your e-session, as well as some extra insight from a few of Pittsburgh’s finest wedding photographers!
Get to know your photographer. The best way to guarantee you’ll feel comfortable in front of the camera is to befriend the one working it. Make sure your personalities jive and that you can truly be yourself around them. It’s magic when this happens and it really shines through in your images!
PRO TIP from Ashley Giffin Photography – “I love getting to know my clients. I highly recommend taking the time to talk to each other, ask questions, laugh, and just have fun. It not only helps with knowing how to work it in front of the camera but it also helps the photographer know what you are comfortable with and how to direct you.”
Select a location (or theme) that is meaningful. One of the spots where you take photos should be a place that is special to the two of you – where you met, the restaurant where you had your first date, your favorite bench in the park, or even your own home. Share a favorite hobby or a love of something? How about some photos of you two enjoying whatever that is together. Those are the images that will mean a little extra something to you.
PRO TIP from Eva Lin Photography – “When picking a location or theme, find something that is special to you as a couple. One of my favorite engagement shoots was when the groom played his family heirloom accordion and the bride danced along the street (their idea!). And since music was such a huge part of their relationship, they also dressed up and pretended to play in a rock band with amps, guitar, mics, the whole nine yards! Your favorite date spot could also be a wonderful place for some intimate candid moments. You will rarely get an opportunity to do a shoot however you choose, so I always recommend being a little creative.”
Or go completely rogue! Think totally outside the box and head to a spot where no one has ever gone before. Photos with the Pittsburgh skyline will always be beautiful but there are soooo many other cool spots for your session too! Be creative!
PRO TIP from Veronica Varos Photography – “This session is a great opportunity to visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Are you and your fiancé utterly obsessed with photos of Yosemite or Ireland? Buy yourself a couple of round trip tickets and turn your session into an adventure.”
Choose clothing carefully. Make sure you’re comfortable in whatever you select. You’ll be moving around a lot and you don’t want to be fidgeting with your outfit. For our engagement photos, I wore a dress with a cut out back. However, I was constantly worried about my bra strap peeking out. In hindsight, I wish I would have chosen something that allowed me to be a bit more mobile and relaxed. Coordinate, but don’t match, your attire with your fiance’s. You don’t want to look like twins but you also don’t want to clash with each other either.
PRO TIP from Steven Dray Images: “Ask your photographer for tips on what to wear. You should wear something that is comfortable and reflects you as a person and as a couple. Pick up a copy of the latest fashion magazine and draw inspiration from it. And dress appropriately for the weather!“
Treat Yo Self! Ladies, get your hair and makeup professionally done. Ok, you don’t really have to do this but you’ll feel fabulous. Guys, splurge on some new clothes or brush the dust off that three piece suit. Always love the theatre but never get a chance to go? How about some photos at the Benedum Center? Your engagement session is a rare opportunity for you to do something you don’t usually get to do so take advantage of it!
PRO TIP from Michael Will Photography – “I’ve found the best photos happen when couples think outside the box and go big with either unique locations or wardrobe or both. Make it fancy!”
Be yourself. If you are forcing a pose or a facial expression, it’s going to show. Don’t worry so much about trying to “pose” or look like a model. Instead, just relax. Act as if the camera isn’t even there and just do what you would normally do. I know it’s probably more easily said than done but this is why the first tip above is so important!
PRO TIP from Beth Insalaco Photography – “The best pictures come when you are relaxed and having fun! Truly be yourselves and help each other loosen up. You know each other best and seriously, you can’t do anything wrong in front of the camera. My job is to create great photos by directing, posing, and catching the real and perfect moments.”
Don’t copy. Pinterest is a great way to gain inspiration but if an idea or pose looks like one that me and a thousand other people have pinned, you’re doing something wrong, IMHO. An idea is only original the first time it’s done; after that it’s just a replication. Be unique. Don’t ask your photographer to duplicate a pose or a shot you saw online. It’s insulting to their creativity…which brings me to my next point…
Let your photographer take the lead. Artistically speaking, your photographer is going to know what is best. Don’t be afraid to try something new that he or she suggests. They may ask you to pose in front of seemingly strange backgrounds or in an odd way but the outcomes could be amazing. Be open to their suggestions and let their artistic eye be the guide.
Don’t over style. Incorporate some props or signs but try not to go overboard. All good things in moderation. The best images are when the focus is on you and your sweetie, not all of the other “stuff”. Likewise, don’t get too caught up in a specific background. What’s in the foreground (i.e. YOU!) is way more important!
PRO TIP from Elizabeth Craig Photography – “Too many couples want over-the-top sessions or very specific backdrops. They don’t realize until much later that 1.) it didn’t play nearly the role they thought it would and 2.) it actually took away from the main focus of the photo. The most important thing is an e-session is the couple – their connection, their energy, and their ability to be romantic, sweet, funny, and at ease.”
Last but not least, have fun! It’s not every day that you get to bask in the glow of being engaged and have a talented photographer snap pics of you doing it. Enjoy it! Soak in every moment and let your happiness shine through. The results will be incredible.
PRO TIP from Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers – “It’s ok to feel silly! I believe that giving my couples the ok to feel silly instantly relaxes them. They then know there is no pressure to be a ‘professional model’ and that we’re all working together. The permission to feel silly produces a connection between couple and photographer.”
Will you be taking engagement photos soon? What do you think of these tips? If you’ve already had your e-session, what advice do you have for others prepping for theirs?