How to Prepare for Your Photo Session

1. Be Yourself

Trust me, I know that even the thought of getting your pictures taken instantly makes you want to run away or turn into someone else, but I promise, the best thing for you to do is to just be yourself! The first couple of minutes always feel un-natural because let’s be honest, a lot of us aren’t professional models and don’t spend most of our time in front of the camera. But after a while, you get used to it and then you’ll feel like a natural. Being yourself helps to ensure that you make the best pictures of YOU! You can look back years later and know that the images are authentically you! I really wholeheartedly believe in capturing images that are of you two and your relationship the way it really is, and this comes from having my couples be at ease with each other and even forgetting that I’m there. This leads me to my next point..

2. Posing

My philosophy about posing is that traditional “posing” can feel forced and thus results in images that look forced. My style is not this at all, I don’t want those forced fake poses! My style is authentic and true to who you are. I try to “direct” instead of “pose” which basically means that I guide you into poses that make you feel comfortable and then give you prompts to interact with each other in a way that feels natural. Sometimes I’ll give you things to do that are fun and goofy and result in cute pictures of you two laughing and loving each other! This also eliminates a lot of the awkward feelings like “what do I do with my hands?” (I know, I’ve been there!) So all I ask is that you guys trust me and go along with my suggestions because the pictures will be beautiful and it’s the best way to capture your real personalities.

3. Lighting

Because I LOVE to take advantage of the natural light, I usually time sessions to be in the hours right after sunrise or the hours right before sunset. This is to take advantage of “golden hour”. The light is nice and soft as it hits the skin. It is the perfect light for shooting romantic, emotional and fun images! You will notice that the perfect light creates a beautiful glow in the images.

4. Treat Yo Self!

I hope you guys are excited about the shoot because I am!! If you can, treat the day like a fun date day. Go do something fun together and spend the day enjoying each other’s company, so that at the end of the day you’re all ready and excited to spend some time creating memories with me that will last forever! Some people will have their practice run regarding hair, makeup, and nails for the engagement shoot. This helps them feel a little more ‘done-up’ for the shoot and boosts their confidence. I am not saying you should do this AT ALL!! (Seriously, as someone who generally wears very little makeup, you definitely don’t have to! Do what you’re comfortable with!) However, what I can say is that in my experience shooting engagement sessions, sometimes spending a little extra time getting ready can make you feel that much better with the final images. Again, what’s most important is that you feel comfortable in your clothes, makeup, etc, so that you can just focus on each other.

5. Props and Accessories

Props can be so great for pictures! And it might not be what you’re thinking, I’m not saying you have to bring a chalkboard or balloons or anything. I just encourage you to bring things that are very YOU, like if you play the guitar, bring a guitar, if you have a dog, bring the dog, if you drive a motorcycle, bring that!

And, I always encourage accessories! I love when couples bring hats, sunglasses, scarves, jewelry, etc, because it adds more interest to the outfits rather than being too plain. The only accessory I don’t encourage is watches typically, since when couples hold each other’s faces it can be distracting. But if your watch is special to you, wear it!

6. What to Wear

I will be the first to say that I don’t have an amazing fashion sense by any means but these are tips that I’ve learned from experience make you look the best in the pictures. You don’t want to end up in a situation where the pictures look great except for something super distracting that someone is wearing. But the most important thing to take away is that you should be comfortable and feel most yourself in what you’re wearing. Don’t feel like you have to buy new clothes or go out of your way to look “fancy” if it’s not what you’re feeling.

I think people look the best when they’re true to themselves and that comes across in the pictures. But if you wanna do the real fancy thing then go for it!! If you want both, maybe bring a casual outfit and a fancier one. That way you have some variety in your gallery and you don’t have to decide upfront.

For colors, I typically recommend sticking with neutrals and earthy tones. Neutrals doesn’t have to mean just grays and browns, there’s neutrals of every color (mustard yellow, forest green, navy blue, burnt orange, etc). Try to stay away from bright, neon, distracting colors. The only specific colors I typically recommend to stay away from are pinks and bright oranges / reds, because a lot of the time it results in people looking more pink-toned than normal and a bit weird in photos. Neutral colors typically look best in every setting, which is why I recommend them, but also think about the location we’ll be shooting and try to pick outfits that won’t clash or blend in too much with the environment. If we’re shooting in an open field, ditch the green. If we’re shooting downtown, try to avoid all-black.

Avoid big, loud, chunky, crazy patterns, and definitely avoid clothing with big logos. The smaller or more subtle the pattern, the better! If the pattern is too loud, it will distract from your faces, and it can clash with the background, especially downtown where the background is already busy.

Try to avoid pairing too many patterns together because it makes the photos feel a little hectic and distracting from your faces and the location.

Also, be sure to iron your clothes before so there’s not huge wrinkles distracting from your faces either!

With all of these tips in mind, remember that you’re both gonna be in these pictures, so you want to look good together! Don’t try to match too hard because that can look “matchy-matchy” but try to wear colors that complement each other.

The main rule is that you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing! These are just some guidelines if you’re lost. Check out my Pinterest board for some inspiration if you want more.