How to Nail your Engagement Session

A Guide

There’s no need for awkward engagement photos.
This is about that real stuff.

The love that makes you light up.
The love that has you giggling until you cry.
The love that feels like home.


1. Say Goodbye to Awkward Poses

Do you consider yourself awkward in front of the camera?
Yes? That’s ok!

To provide some insight, only ONE of my clients was actually a Ford Model with modeling experience (who did actually get married). The rest of my clients are real, rad people, just like you, who have a desire to have fun with their best friend while having that connection documented in a way that feels natural to them.

Fortunately, if you’re booking me, that hopefully means you also believe that love is so much bigger than our fears and insecurities.
My goal for every single session is to create a comfortable space where you both feel free to be yourselves with one another. And while that’s probably a lot easier to read than do (especially when a camera is pointed at you), I thought it important to share a bit of insight on how we’ll get those photos that act as a mirror to your relationship.

For starters, I love grabbing a cocktail, a light meal, or some coffee before your session. This creates face to face comfort and helps to release nerves while also giving you guys a bit of cool off time after your morning of running around and getting ready. Having this space to reset is so important to get great photos.

This part of the session is what allows us to hop right in to incredible photos and is a practice I deeply value for the connection it provides us and for the transition it allows us from getting ready to feeling in love.

Now, a little about how I “pose”.
I will guide you through every part of your session. Whether it’s directing you into beautiful light or putting my camera down and showing you the motion or pose I’m describing, you will have guidance. However, I also think it’s important to leave space for authenticity within that guidance. So if you guys get off track, find a dog to pet, and randomly decide you want to go for a swim or take a shot of tequila then ride tandem bikes I promise to keep documenting through it all.

Throughout the session I am constantly observing your body language and paying attention to your comfort level – if there is any sign of discomfort or stiffness I will ask you guys to move around, shake it out, and loosen up through various activities or prompts.

Some couples aren’t touchy-feely while others just really enjoy making out occasionally – everyone is different and I value that in all of my couples. Your comfort is important to me and knowing your love language is key. I rarely ask my couples to just kiss, rather, I love the results that come when asking questions or provide prompts that encourage natural moments and feelings to come forth.

While I certainly want to create beautiful photos, I also want to create photos that you can look back on and remember what was said to you in that moment that made you feel that way.

After all, this is about how you feel. I love hair blowing in the wind, I love deep laughter, genuine smiles, eye contact, I love body language that says I love you, that shows comfort. I love independence and solitude as well.
But mostly what I look for and strive for within my work is finding who you two are when you’re together and honing in on that.

It’s in those moments, post me ‘posing’ you and you guys laughing over who is the bigger bed hog that the sweet moments unfold – those are the moments that I focus on.
Try not to worry about you snorting while you laugh or trying to hide your double chin (we all have one), I’m a pro at getting the genuine moments, the beautiful moments. Your only job is to remain present and have fun.

2. Treat it Like a Date!

So if you guys are at the point where you’re about to spend forever together I’m going to assume that you guys have obviously had a lot of fun over the years/months/weeks that you’ve know each other.
In fact, so much fun that you’ve decided to keep dating for life.
Which is AWESOME!

All that to say, treat this session like a date. Focus on having fun. Don’t do things you wouldn’t normally do (i.e. spending $200 on getting hair + Makeup + new clothes, etc). Wear clothes you love – that you feel comfortable and confident in.

When you start to think of this session as a date it becomes a lot less scary and you remember why you’re doing this in the first place (because you’re in love!).

It’s important to keep in mind that 90% of these photos will be “in the moment” so perfection is not the goal here. We’ll get some that your parents will love, but your connection is the most important thing we’ll be focusing on. Throughout the entire session, I am considering angles that compliment you both but I also think it’s important to remember that you’re a real human and that you are loved for all that you are in this very moment. That reality is what I strive to document.

(I know it’s so cheesy, but love is so wonderful!)

When you start to focus on enjoying each other’s company that’s when those awesome photos happen and by awesome I mean you feel good and you’re either laughing hysterically or sharing a genuine sentimental moment of tenderness.

A good thing to ask yourself is, “what do we like to do together?” This will help in brainstorming where we should go for your session. Just because everyone does their photos somewhere doesn’t mean you should too. If you guys love grabbing coffee and then walking to the dog park to pet some pups, I’m game. If you love antiquing and exploring new places we’re probably already best friends. If you guys love riding your bikes and ending your evening with a picnic on top of your favorite parking garage while you watch the sunset – awesome. Whatever you guys do for fun, whatever means something to your relationship, let’s do that.

I want you guys to be able to look back on these photos and be like…yeah, that totally is us and I love that.

3. What to Wear

This is my favorite – because colors are HUGE and I don’t expect you to think about all the things that go on in my head while I’m shooting.

But here’s the deal, if you’re hiring me that’s because you hopefully love my work and trust that I only want the best possible photos for you.

Color theory is a big part of how photos come out, so after we figure out your location I’ll suggest a color palette for you that will lend itself complimentary to the environment we’re shooting in.
If you two decide you want to have your photos at the park I’ll probably heavily suggest avoiding greens and blacks (I don’t want you to look like you’re also a tree/floating head).

I hope this is starting to make sense, I want you to stand out, not blend in and what you wear will dictate that. The photo above is of Sarah and Payton and they’re (if you can’t tell already) very outdoorsy and would most likely wear the above outfit any day of the week – I love it. This photo works because their outfits are neutrals like the environment (they’re also just really cute).

Giving each outfit an hour works the best – your outfit(s) should always reflect the location. I love doing moving shots so I always encourage you guys to wear comfortable shoes and outfits that allow you to walk, move, run, jump, piggyback, and sit on the ground in. If the outfit you pick has to constantly be adjusted or makes you even remotely self-conscious do yourself a solid and pick something else.

If you’re stuck on colors or prints or just what to wear please reach out to me and we can go over your options and decide what will work best for where we’re shooting.

Here’s a link to my Outfit Inspo Board – it’s filled with wonderful examples of couples complimenting one another’s outfits without matching.

4. Where to Go

Your session should be all about you, and the location you choose should reflect you as a couple. If you love the outdoors let’s pick a hiking trail to explore together (in this instance, packing as light as possible is best because we will most likely photograph you from place to place). If you love getting dressed up and being in urban areas there are some pretty cool cities and downtown locations we can visit. If you love cooking breakfast and hanging out in your cute pajamas all day let’s hang out and make breakfast then let’s do something cool in your own house. One thing to keep in mind is to not get your heart set on one particular spot in a certain location because if the light is terrible in that spot it most likely will not be a great photo. Light is SO important when capturing moments. That’s why we like to shoot close to sunrise or sunset when the sun is lower in the sky and the light is golden and even. Some of the best days to shoot are when it’s overcast due to consistent even lighting. Some locations do require a photography fee and an appointment. If you want an idea of how much it may cost and what appointment policies are I normally know them in local areas. I do leave it up to you to make the appointment and pay the photography fees.

5. Trust

I want to photograph your connection, and the only way for me to do that is for you to let me in a little. Let me get to know you. I will probably ask how you met, how you got engaged, and I may even ask you a few sillier questions, too. These are all just for fun, so don’t take yourselves too seriously. If I ask you to do something that seems a little out of the ordinary, just trust me – I am probably anticipating the reaction. I want your photos to be great just as much as you do, and I want this to be a collaboration. The easiest way to do that is for you to trust me. If you have any questions or need some guidance, just reach out. I promise I will give you  110%.