7 tips for taking better candid engagement photos

So, you said YES (or you asked someone if they’d say yes) and now you’re engaged! Once you’ve had a chance to pop multiple bottles and share the news with everyone, the first official act of your new status as an engaged couple may be to take your engagement photos… the most common concern I hear as a photographer is that you don’t take good photos together / hate having your photo taken / want candid moments together that don’t look posed or staged…

I get it! No one is naturally photogenic when told to “SMILE!”… seriously think about it. I’d rather ask people to lick noses since that elicits more of a genuine expression than asking you to smile on command ever will. ;)

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Here are 7 do’s and don’ts that hopefully help get you in the right mindset when it comes to taking photos together!

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Do feel confident.
Shop for a fun new outfit or go to an old classic you know you love the way you look in. Make an appointment to get pampered (meaning, scheduling a hair/makeup trial for the day of your engagement session can kill 2 birds with 1 stone!) if it’ll give you an extra boost of confidence. If not, just do you!!

Don’t worry about how you look.
That’s my job. I’ll tell you if something’s out of place and remind you to empty your pockets. ;) You don’t have to be models! The quality and range of emotion real couples have and want to celebrate together, is why I love what I do.

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Do think of our time together as a rehearsal for your wedding day.
Having casual and everyday photos of you both that aren’t phone selfies is wonderful and something I think more couples should absolutely have, but the main goal of our time together is to get to know each other. I want to feel like a good friend that happens to have a professional camera by the time you’re saying ‘I Do’… not some random person you can’t remember the name of who asks you to smile in my direction. I want to see how affectionate you naturally are together and learn what inside jokes you make that result in nose crinkling laughter and eyes smiling so brightly, it’s unmistakable that your love is unique and special.

Don’t worry if one of you is more enthusiastic about taking photos than the other.
Just being a good sport and going along with the crazy ideas your fiance has or the prompts that may be out of your comfort zone will encourage them to love you that much more for it… and if nothing else, will earn you a beer right after we’re done.

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Do hold hands.
Touch noses, faces, fingers, hips, hair, neck. Seriously, you’re getting married! You found your person!!

Don’t overthink it.
If thinking of it as a photoshoot makes you nervous, think of it as a date and pretend I’m not there!

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Do eat before (nothing good happens on an empty stomach) and drink during.
I’m a huge supporter of liquid courage in whatever form that takes! We can start at your favorite bar, break open champagne when we start or enjoy a fun cocktail halfway through... why not?

Don’t look at Pinterest poses.
The light, the location and your love are not the same as that super posed adorable couple who’s flowing hair took more time and setup to capture than it looks like. However, this leads right into my next tip…

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Do communicate if you have a strong vision for what you want.
I love it when couples not only choose a location with meaning but also have an idea of the kind of images they want out of their engagement photos. Are you an outgoing couple that want your photos to reflect a lot of movement and more candid action? Or are you most comfortable at home in a more private spot to allow you to be comfortable getting cuddly and close together while barefoot and quiet?

Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place.
You met online… or at college… or at work… or at a bar during a night out with mutual friends. However the stars aligned, the fact is that they DID. Millions of tiny decisions, conversations and choices lead up to the moment you met and when you stop to think about it all, it’s pretty miraculous and deserves to be celebrated.

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Do bring your dog!
I’ve captured the fastest moving hyper little pup and the sassiest 100lb. Great Danes. I was a boxer mom, we have 2 kids and I have plenty of experience and tricks up my sleeve. Besides, slobbery wet kisses make for the best expressions!

Don’t choose a location you’re not comfortable in or familiar with.
Meaning and good vibes are everything. Your location should hold both... and if you can’t think of the perfect spot, I’m happy to share my favorites that may resonate with you!

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Do embrace your awkwardness.
At least for the first 10 minutes. It means you care and you’re doing it right... I promise. Remember your first date? Pretty sure those first 10 minutes were awkward too... and look how that ended up.

Don’t bring an audience.
Other than a friend or family member meeting us to help take the dog home if you bring yours, this is one situation that is best as a party of 3.

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sneak peeks | julie + joe's burgundy and rose gold main street ballroom wedding

“Everything with Joe just felt right from the very first day.” …shouldn’t all love stories start like this?!

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Being from the same hometown, growing up in the same church, attending rival high schools and having countless mutual connections in their small community in Carroll County, Julie + Joe were truly meant to find each other!

Their wedding day at Main Street Ballroom in Ellicott City was full of overwhelming emotion, radiant joy and the most beautiful rose gold details that complimented the industrial metals and stone foundation walls that make up this historic venue!! Julie was an incredible bride, glowing from the inside out and the way Joe looked at his beautiful bride made my heart explode! I couldn’t get enough of Julie’s gorgeous red hair swept up in her mom’s veil and alllllll the flowing soft tulle netting on her WToo by Watters wedding gown. Speaking of dresses, the mix-n-match styles of the girls’ colored floor length Birdy Grey bridesmaid dresses in pinot noir, had me swooning from the second I saw them!

For now, enjoy these sneak peeks and know much more is to come!

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Aren’t those scarves the perfect touch of subtle pattern and softness for a winter wedding?!

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Pure JOY.

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Hard to pick one, but the off the shoulder ruffled top of the Jane convertible Birdy Grey dresses might be my favorite!

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cheers, newlyweds!
xo,
Naomi


huge thanks to this rockstar team!

planning: Sara Reynolds Events
venue: Main Street Ballroom
rentals: Something Vintage Rentals
DJ: One Rock Studio
caterer: Eleven Courses
flowers: Blossom and Basket Boutique
beauty: In Style Salon
officiant: Rev. Kirsten Blom-Westbrook
dress: WToo by Watters
boutique: Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection
bridesmaid dresses: Birdy Grey in Pinot Noir
ring: Smyth Jewelers
shoes: Betsey Johnson
tux: Generation Tux
videography: Clay Estes Productions
cake: Santoni's Marketplace & Catering
donuts: Maple Donuts
transportation: Lasting Impressions: Maryland & Pennsylvania Limo Services


sneak peeks | elizabeth + donald's winter wedding at the baltimore country club

Elizabeth and Donald’s winter wedding at the Baltimore Country Club had the most incredibly chic, elegant and beautiful meaningful elements making up their day - I’m overjoyed to share these early favorites with you!

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You need to peek at this exquisite December wedding that had:

  • Jayce the pug as their dog of honor in a bowtie

  • an ivory, burgundy and gold festive holiday color palette

  • a bouquet of burgundy peonies, white anemones, white calla lilies + eucalyptus

  • Elizabeth’s grandmother’s fur stole

  • confetti cannons raining on the dance floor

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And I also want to share a PSA that rain on your wedding does NOT mean disappointment and dreary photos - quite the opposite! With creative areas of cover, snuggling together to stay warm and clear umbrellas, it means we get to be more creative and you get the best luck… you know, because rain on your wedding day is good luck (coming from this husband and wife photography team that got married at a vineyard during a hurricane and still look back on it and laugh 10 years later)! ;)

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Congratulations again, lovebirds! ps: Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’ has always been one of my favorites to listen to this time of year and now memories of confetti swirling around as I hear it will always bring me back to your day!

xo,
Naomi

huge thanks to this talented team!


planning: Brian Scott
venue + catering: Baltimore Country Club
ceremony: The Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore
getting ready: Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
hair/makeup: Ariel Lewis
invitation + paper goods: mlc designs, llc
florist: Rutland Beard Florist
band: Bachelor Boys Band
shoes: Badgley Mischka
videographer: Black Tie Video
dress: Romona Keveza
boutique: Garnish Boutique
bridesmaid dresses: Lula Kate
bridesmaid dress boutique: Bella Bridesmaids
groomsmen attire: Tom James Company
transportation: Superior Tours and American Limousines, Inc.

6 reasons why you should do an engagement session!

6 reasons why you should do an engagement session!

I wanted to share my top 5 reasons why engagement sessions are so valuable... since after being in this industry for awhile, I've answered all of the questions below and you might be wondering the same thing!

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