10 tips for natural, non-awkward and real engagement photos

Ready to hear something crazy? Engagement sessions aren’t really even about the photos themselves. The photos are a bonus. Yup, I said it.

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So what the heck are they for, then?! And how do we get those candid and unposed moments to our engagement photos? Hint: READ ON…

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What are engagement photos really for?

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  1. Establishing a relationship between the 3 of us so you don’t have a stranger documenting the most intimate (and stressful!) days you’ve ever experienced.

    Why would you want to have the first time you meet the person you’ll spend the most time with on your wedding day other than your partner, be the afternoon of your wedding?

  2. Building trust… between the 3 of us but also for your immediate family to see photos we took together, to know my style and work in advance.

    Once they do, they will know they can relax on the wedding day and trust us to work our magic and be creative while also capturing everything important to them, as it happens.

  3. Enjoying a lighthearted night out together during the stress of wedding planning.

    An excuse to spend an hour outside together having fun with the person you love the most in this world during one of the most exciting times in your lives? Yeah, it could be a lot worse.

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As a wedding photographer who prioritizes real moments, natural expressions and genuine laughter, my goal whenever you’re in front of my camera is to allow you to feel comfortable enough to laugh, cry, smile, kiss, hold hands and embrace the way you would (and do!) when no one’s watching. If there’s anything I hear time and time again, it’s one of these statements:

  1. “We’re really awkward.”

  2. “My fiance doesn’t like having his/her picture taken.”

  3. “We don’t need engagement photos because we already have them / my friend / uncle / sister took them for us right after we got engaged…”

  4. “Where should we take them? We don’t live in Baltimore and don’t know any places that would be meaningful to us.”

  5. “What should we wear? We’re casual people and it’s not our style to get dressed up.”I’m excited to share this list of 10 tips with you so that taking engagement photos doesn’t have to be something you dread. Instead, it can and should be fun, memorable and refreshing. If you think of it as just another date night, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to do it?

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Without further ado, here are…

10 tips for achieving candid and non-awkard
engagement photos (in other words, cheesy and overly posed is not my style either)!

Read it, save it and share it… and then read it again right before we meet up. ;)

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  1. DO YOU. If you take nothing else from this list, stop putting pressure on yourselves to be models or pose a certain way. None of my clients are and NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH THEIR HANDS WHEN THEY START! I’ll worry about how you look in front of the camera and give you tips, direction and confidence as needed, as long as you worry about having fun with your boo.

  2. Wear what you feel best in and you will automatically feel less awkward. If your groom doesn’t go anywhere without wearing a hat, bring the hat (we’ll take it off for a few, I promise).

  3. Put your ‘fancy’ clothes on. I personally feel that we don’t have enough reasons to get dressed up these days (hellooo, people used to get dressed up to ride trains!), but refer to no. 1... fancy can mean whatever you want it to. Maybe it’s just red and cute heels or new and crisp, dark denim!

  4. Bring the champagne. Shake it up… magic! I don’t discriminate though and highly encourage all types of liquid courage to be enjoyed! ;)

  5. Don’t wear your Fitbit. Take off your ️Apple watch. Give me your keys (but just remind me I have them when we’re done)!

  6. Eat a snack before we start but save the meal for after. No one does well with a grumbly belly and dinner at your favorite spot will give you something to look forward to.

  7. Choose your location strategically. Think through the places you’re most comfortable in together and the things you like to do in your free time.

  8. Weave in your personality and story. Did you meet in college? College campuses are THE MOST photogenic. Do you brew your own beer? Let’s start at your fave brewery. Was your first date at a winery? Bring a bottle of that wine to enjoy. Do you run together? Let’s stroll the trails. Do you own a ️boat? Tell me when and where and I’m there.

  9. Don’t bring extras... as in parents/friends. Unless they’re coming to bring home your pup once we’re done with them, I like being your one and only third wheel. Adding others is when it can actually get awkward.

  10. Don’t rush the process. I’ve found one hour to be the sweet spot for getting comfortable and used to having a camera near you, having fun and having a bunch of conversations about anything and everything that will allow your wedding photos to be that much more natural and full of real emotion... because that’s the ultimate goal in the end, right?

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After reading all of this, 1. you deserve a sweet treat and a glass of wine and 2. I hope you’re looking forward to your engagement session! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll share my thoughts and answers ASAP!