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Seven Secrets to Nailing Your Engagement Session

Updated: Nov 11, 2018

Congratulations, you're engaged! You've found that person who feels like home and made it officially official, which means the wedding planning can officially commence! Undoubtedly one of the priorities of your big-day dreaming, detail-pinning brain is scoring some amazing images of you and your fiance! But chances are you're lacking in experience as a model (aren't we all) and probably have no idea where to begin with preparing for a professional engagement session. Spoiler alert, you aren't alone! Knowing what to expect when having this exciting chapter of your love story preserved and how to get the most out of your hard-earned dollars can ease the tension that accompanies standing in front of that daunting black box. I send out an engagement style guide to all of my brides, and while I usually reserve these resources specifically for my couples, today I'm plucking out *seven* of my favorite tips to help you get the most out your shoot. While some of these tips are more specific to my style of imagery, most of them are universal for all couples. If you have any specific questions, definitely contact your photographer about their style and preferences! But without further ado, here are my seven secrets to nailing your engagement session!

1) HAVE an Engagement Session

If you're reading the post, it might seem like I'm preaching to the choir, and rightly so! However, if you're considering skipping the e-session, take the time to weigh the pros and cons before declaring it unnecessary. Engagement sessions are SO important for many reasons, and carving out the space in your calendar and budget to take them is almost always beneficial. I automatically include a complimentary engagement session in all of my wedding collections because that time we spend together is invaluable to me as a photographer! For real, I would rather offer it free of charge than skip the session! Why on earth would I do that?! Because when it comes to your wedding pictures, I am striving to create genuine, authentic images that tell the story of who you are as a couple, and (just being 100% honest!) that simply doesn't happen if we have only emailed back and forth. Getting the chance to chat with you and walk you through my posing techniques helps pave the way for us to feel confident together as couple and photographer, and if I'm lucky, as friends. Another bonus to being comfortable with each other is having the ability to move through photos quickly if we need to on the big day. I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been necessary! And this is just the tip of the iceberg! I will actually turn down a wedding if the couple doesn't want to do an engagement session - it's just that important to me!

2) Choose the Location Carefully

Where you shoot will directly affect the feel of your photos. Lighter backgrounds will create airier (is that a word?!) photos, while darker backgrounds will create more dramatic images. The photographer does most of the legwork of choosing amazing mini locations during the actual shoot, but keeping in mind your photographer's style when choosing the place you will go can help make sure you get the images of your dreams! Due to my style, I usually choose to shoot in locations that cater to light and airy imagery (fields, light colored buildings, lakes, etc) and choose to avoid locations that lend darker feels like forests, dark buildings, & thick tree lines. Ask your photographer if they have preferred locations! While a great location is helpful, a wedding photographer should be able to make just about any location work; so if you have a place that is meaningful to you as a couple definitely speak up!

3) Don't Match, Coordinate

We all get a bit uncomfortable thinking about those cringe-worthy family photos where Every. Person. Wears. The. Same. Thing. I'm guessing that's not what you have in mind for your dreamy engagement photos! Instead of matching with your other half, try to coordinate your outfits. For example, choose to wear different shades of the same color, or go with a more neutral palette (my personal preference!). Bonus points if your outfit includes a flowy dress!

4) Get Your Nails Done

All eyes will be on that ring finger all session long, so scheduling a manicure can be a good idea! Even if you're someone who doesn't normally wear full sets or even polish (hello that's me!) having your cuticles cleaned up and nails shaped can make a world of difference in the final images. Some things can't be photoshopped!

5) Have Your Ring Cleaned

Once again, lots of focus will be on your ring! And rightly so, I'm guessing it wasn't cheap! I photograph the engagement ring with a macro lens, which means I will be getting up close and personal with that bling, and every tiny piece of dust will be visible for the world to see. Most jewelers clean their rings free of charge - just plan to take it in a few days prior to your engagement session and you'll love the way your ring photographs!

6) Consider Professional Hair & Makeup

I always suggest professional hair and makeup for your engagement photos because H&M artists get people photo-ready on a regular basis, so they know exactly how to show you off! If the artist you chose for your wedding day offers a trial, you can suggest planning it for the morning of your engagement photos. Two birds, one stone!

7) Prep Your Groom

Some grooms are really into the engagement sessions, and others would rather be anywhere other than in front of a camera! Going over the photographer's portfolio of images and being aware of how the session will progress can help ease a bit of camera-induced anxiety and make the session, dare I say it, fun!

So, there you have it! But beyond those seven tips, the most important thing is to enjoy some time with your sweetheart. Relaxed, in-love couples lend to authentic and inspired imagery! You'll probably feel a bit awkward in the beginning - after all, it's not every day you're thrown in front of a camera! Your photographer should help ease the tension, and pretty soon you'll feel like models. Even better, you will come away with some gorgeous images and an hour spent snuggling with your fiance, and if that's not a win I don't know what is.

This isn't the typical post I write for my blog, so if you're a fan let me know and I'll work on creating more content like this! As always, let me know if you have any questions. Until next time! - Angela


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