9 Tips for an Amazing Engagement Session

So you've found your photographer and now you're gearing up for your engagement session. Maybe you're really excited, really nervous, or a combination. Nonetheless, you find yourself wondering, "what the heck do I do to prepare myself for this?" I've always been very personable with my advice and am still happy to offer specific tips for your individual needs, but I thought I'd put together a general list of tips to help ease your nerves. The biggest aim for including engagement sessions in my wedding packages is to get comfortable with one another. You'll get used my personality and shooting style and I'll get to know you and your love story. I hope these tips come in handy for planning your session! 

1. Keep it simple.

There are so many articles and blogs out there giving you a million pointers for a great engagement session, so many photos on Pinterest and Instagram to envy, so many outfits and locations to choose from... I know it can be overwhelming and you want your engagement session to be perfect. But the best thing to do is to simplify. You don't need to go to multiple locations to get great shots, you don't need multiple outfits, and you definitely don't need props. If you have hired a professional photographer, you don't need a list of poses to choose from because they'll guide you through the session. 

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2. Go for comfortability. 

Select a location that suits you. Maybe you and your boo like walking around the city, maybe this includes grabbing coffee or eating ice cream. Maybe you like reading books. Maybe you like hiking. Maybe cooking or making coffee together at home is what makes you most comfortable. Let's stick with something that you like to do together.

Don't wear anything you wouldn't normally wear. This tip is especially necessary for ladies- if you don't wear heels, don't wear them for your engagement session. Chances are we are going to be walking around and if you're uncomfortable, it's going to show. I recommend avoiding being matchy-matchy. It looks much better to coordinate a color scheme rather than wear the exact same color. If one person wears a pattern, keep the other person in solids. (More wardrobe help here.)

Think of an engagement session like a first date- you want to present the best version of yourself, but you still have to be comfortable enough to be yourself. 

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3. Look at my past engagement sessions- both of you.

I think this is really important. Make sure to take a peek at what my work looks like. My shooting style is very casual and laid-back. I like to focus on real moments and have a more photojournalistic style. This shooting style is very different than just showing up and smiling, looking at the camera. My intention is to capture your personalities and your connection. I believe if you look through my work (especially my blog), you'll get a feel for the type of moments I try to bring out. 

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4. Know what you want. 

If you have a specific vision for your session, it's important that you convey that to me. I will always have my own set of ideas, but it's important to know what you're into and what you're looking for. You can share your Pinterest board of photos you like with me so I have an idea of your overall goal. This doesn't mean we'll copy another photographer's work, it just means that we'll be on the same page with the type of shots you're looking for. Likewise, if you need a specific shot or layout for your Save the Date, please tell me so we can make sure you get that!

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5. Know your limits. 

If you're not super comfortable kissing in front of the camera or know for sure you don't want specific poses, let me know! I'm not a mind reader, but I try to do everything I can to make sure you're feeling comfortable and enjoying the session. If I put you in a pose you don't like, feel free to change it up! I like to shoot with fluidity so I'm really capturing your personalities and not just shooting the same pose over and over. Every couple is different and every session is going to look different.

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6. Relax and enjoy the moment.

The first several minutes of the session are usually chatting and getting to know one another while I get my camera settings fine tuned and shoot some test shots. This time is spent to really get comfortable being in front of the camera. These photos don't even make into the gallery a lot of the time, so just relax and settle into it. Once I have a feel for what poses work for the two of you and how much guidance you need, we'll get a nice groove going and the session will become fun and loose. 

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7. Remember why you're here.

As much as photography is my passion and drive, your engagement session is not about me. It's about you and your love for each other. If you start to get nervous or freaked out during your engagement session, look to your loved one and remember why you're here. Stay focused on each other and the love you're celebrating. Throughout your session, I'll do a few posed looking-at-the-camera shots, but for the most part the session will be focused on the connection between the two of you.

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8. Pay attention to details. 

Chances are your ring is going to get some attention during this session, so make sure your ring is clean and your nail polish is how you like it. Make sure your boo has on the right shoes (you'd be surprised at how many sessions I've done where the dude showed up in the "wrong shoes" haha). If you're picky about sides of your face or the way your bangs go about, let me know so I can keep that in mind and you can worry less about those details. 

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9. HAVE FUN!

This is definitely the most important note. We may shoot for an hour and end up with 100+ images. There are bound to be at least a few you really love, and how many images do you really need? Probably not 100. Probably not even 50. Your engagement session is the best way for you to get warmed up to me and vice-versa. I'm a huge dork and am definitely going to try to make you laugh, so be prepared to have fun! There's no reason to have stiff, boring posing rule the day. If you're silly together, BE SILLY TOGETHER. PLEASE! Those images will likely be your favorite from the whole day because they are *you* and they are *real*. Nothing beats that.

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I hope this has made you more excited and less nervous about your session. I'd love your feedback and am happy to help with any specific questions about planning your engagement session. Enjoy this season of your love and life with your partner. 
xo,
Ashley