02. Bring Options, But Not Too Many Options
Plan for 1-2 outfits, and trust your photographer with which ones those should be! I'm a huge fan of the outfit change, because it gives you a lot of beautiful and varied photos from our session, but when couples show up with a car full of outfits that they absolutely have to all wear during their hour engagement session, my inner panic button goes off. In order to get three or more outfits photographed in a basic hour session, you're going to have to sacrifice some of what makes the photographs truly special. In a typical engagement shoot, I'll stick you guys in front of something really beautiful, give you a few moments to get your nerves out, and then wait for the moment when you're able to tune everything out and truly interact with each other, which is exactly what I want to capture. If we're worrying about checking off the 10 outfit combinations that you brought, that special element gets lost and the photos look a lot more pose-y than either of us want - it becomes a series of mini-shoots within a session, which isn't going to give you the kind of images you're hoping for. I always recommend being in communication with your photographer before the session, so that you can plan together what's going to look best with the location, but if you're still unsure, bring your options, let your photographer give their professional opinion, and go from there! If there's something specific you want photos in, like jerseys from the college where you met, make sure to communicate that to your photographer so they can plan the best time and location to get those shots within the session!
03. Pay Attention to Fit
It sounds basic, but oh, it's so important. Take the time to do a full 360 in the mirror before you head out. Ladies, if you're wearing a dress that you feel is a little too tight to be comfortable, you're probably not going to be crazy about the photos. Men, stay away from baggy pants, and although your shirts and pants definitely don't have to be Fall Out Boy fitted (please actually don't do that...), well-fitting shirts and pants just look better. You're working the fine line between the 20 year old hipster working for Google + Nick Miller from New Girl. Find your happy medium - and if you don't know how to do this, please just ask your fiancé. She has some great suggestions, I promise.
05. ...But Also Keep The Season In Mind
Keep the weather in mind when planning your look! If it's humid in these sticky North Carolina summers, or if there's a chance of rain, consider an updo instead of curls. Consider dark clothing instead of light ones that could become see-through or show sweat. Unless you are a blessed human who doesn't ever sweat ever (lucky!), save grey for the colder months. Trust me. And on the other side, if you're planning a winter session but are just DYING to show off your new mini-skirt, chances are that your legs may look a little more pale than you were hoping for, or your goosebumps will show.
06. Make It Just You Two
Plan for it to be just you two at your engagement session. Moms are amazing for bridal sessions, best friends are absolute godsends on wedding days, but for engagement sessions, keep it to just you two. The reason being? To make the most beautiful and authentic engagement photos, you two really need to be able to get "in the moment". That means no mom telling you to "pull your top up!" or no best friend egging you on, but just you two, staring into each other's eyes and being madly in love. Your photographer is a distraction enough, so just leave the others at home - and if you're doing a session with me and worried about being uncomfortable, I promise to make such a delightful fool of myself until you are comfortable being your sweet, dorky self all day long.
08. And Try To Relax
Pretend that I'm not there, and just be you. This is the hardest part of your engagement session, but is also absolutely the most important. You're going to feel uncomfortable at moments. And that's ok. You don't spend all of your time posing in front of a camera, this is likely a new-ish experience for your both, and there's a big chance that your man would rather be watching the game than doing this. It's okay. All of those things are very valid, however, to make the most of this photo session, you'll have to drop them all and just become really present with your future spouse. Drown everything else out, and just appreciate this time with them. It'll be an amazing experience for the two of you, and will also make for the absolute best photos.
09. But Mostly Just Be Yourself!
Be you! Do what feels normal. If you're a super touchy-feely couple, then nuzzle up and touch his face and stroke her cheek and be super passionate. I love it. If you're a couple that love a great joke and don't really spend a ton of time nuzzling each other's faces, then tell your jokes. Tell me in advance and I'll bring a sheet of jokes to tell. Chase each other around, figure out who is most ticklish, whatever you need to really enjoy this session and be natural. Don't try to be a Casablanca moment if you're more of a rom-com, and if you are an old timey romance movie, embrace that and come ready to do a lot of dancing and dipping. Just be you. You don't want to look back on these in ten years and be like, oh hey remember when this pose was super trendy on Pinterest? Nope. You want to look back on these and be like, wow, that's exactly who we were during this time in our lives.
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Lindley Battle is a Winston-Salem and Greensboro fine art wedding and portrait photographer, specializing in bright and airy photos using natural light and capturing authentic emotion.
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