Learn amazing and simple Engagement Photography tips from perfect locations to amazing ideas of engagement poses for couples.
Engagement Photography Tips
Engagement photography and couples photography sessions should be fun and carefree and your clients should feel comfortable. You should capture their genuine love and emotions and leave them feeling like they just had the most fun and they can’t wait to see how great their engagement photos will be. Whether it be for an engagement session (which generally happens 1-2 months after you are engaged and before the crazy wedding planning begins) , anniversary session or a “just because” couples session, there are a few things that can be done to make sure it is a great experience for you and your couple.
Before you even begin talking to clients it is super important to get
out and find a variety of locations. Most areas have a lot of photographers,
so it is helpful to find some different spots that aren’t used by every other
photographer. You want to be unique and different from others so that
clients have a great reason to come to you! I still use the “popular” spots if
requested but I also have a list of spots that are more unique and set me
apart from other photographers.
The best way to find your own spot is to get out and explore! My favorite spot is one I found just from driving down backroads. You can also look at maps and find treed, rocky or areas that look different and see if those are on public land. If you have to use a well known spot, try to find different angles or different little areas that aren’t photographed all the time.
When location scouting, also take into account what the light will be
like there when you want to shoot. Ideally I like to shoot sunrise or golden hour sessions. I have to find areas that will look great for both of those times since they are completely opposite!
Get to know your couple!
I can’t stress this enough, this will make or break you in your client experience. This starts right from when your client inquires with you. Ask
them questions about themselves and their significant other. You can send
them a questionnaire asking things like how they met, what they do for fun,
favorite tv shows, where they are originally from, jobs, pets etc. I also
always ask if they have a favorite spot or somewhere that is special to them.
Getting to know your client ahead of time will help your session run
smoothly and will help you pick a perfect location for the session. If you
know they don’t like the outdoors, then you probably don’t want to suggest
a hike in a hilly nature spot. Maybe suggest a downtown location or a cute
The second part of getting to know them happens at the session.
Make conversation! Build off of what you already know about them. Ask
them about their jobs, honeymoon plans, pets and so on. I will ask them
about wedding plans, but if it seems stressful I will move onto something
else so that they don’t stress at the session. If it’s an anniversary session I
will ask them about their favorite parts of their wedding day. Getting them
to reminisce usually brings out the best genuine emotions!
Engagement Poses for Couples
I always start out my sessions telling my couples that I will pose them,
give them prompts and direct them, but I will also capture some candid
moments. I tell them that they can’t do anything wrong so not to worry. I
also tell them that the first fifteen to twenty minutes are awkward, it’s not
everyday you have to kiss on demand in front of someone, but it gets better
and they will end up having fun!
All of these engagement poses for couples happen from that one starter pose and flow easily. I shoot with a prime lens, so I don’t stand in the same spot for more than a couple shots at a time. I like to get in close to show the emotion and far away to show the whole scene and everything in between. This is probably my best engagement photography technique thats most successful.
- Always start out with simple poses like walking, holding hands and smiling at each other.
- Walking away from me can be a super cute shot and they feel super at ease because they don’t have to worry about looking at you, the photographer.
- Give constant compliments and tell them how wonderful they are doing. Make sure to switch up your compliments so they sound genuine. If you say, “That’s perfect, oh perfect, just perfect” every time it won’t feel like you mean it!
- Get a ton of variety in your shoots, so move around a lot to take pictures of different angles and different distances.
- Move around to a lot of different spots within a location and do a lot of different poses so that you have a lot of variety.
Once I have done a few “simple” poses I work into building onto
poses. This may sound daunting but it’s really very simple. Once you get
the hang of it your session will flow better and you will be able to think of
the next pose much quicker.
- One example of this is to have your couple face each other and hold hands.
- Tell them to stand super close to each other so it doesn’t look like they are standing at the altar (which makes them laugh every time).
- Then have them both look at me
- Then have them look at each other
- Have him look at her while she looks at me and vice versa
- Ask him to give her a forehead kiss
- Then a temple kiss while she looks at me
- Then forehead to forehead which usually makes them giggle at the start and then they will become more serious.
- Lastly, I will have the guy take his hand that is closest to me and gently sweep her hair back and get really close for an almost kiss, then kiss.
Sometimes, I get an awkward couple who may be stiff and just seem
super nervous. I try to make jokes with them and get them laughing. If you
act light hearted and find ways to get them talking they will lighten up. I
also tend to do more simple poses for a little longer and save some of the
really touchy feely ones until they are feeling more confident. There are a
lot of people (guys especially) that aren’t super comfortable just kissing in
front of someone right off the get go.
Another example of a great engagement photography starter pose that leads me into a ton of more poses and shots is to start out with a simple walk towards me.
- Have them look at you then at each other.
- If the girl is wearing a dress have her grab it and slowly swing it back and forth which creates more movement in the shot.
- When they get closer to towards you tell them to lean in for a kiss.
- Have them do the same thing but walking away from you and end with a lean in for a kiss again.
- Have him stand how he is (facing away from the camera) and her face towards you and cuddle into his arm.
- Then have him look down at her
- Then have them look at each other
- Then forehead kiss
- Then a real kiss.
- I will sometimes end this set in a twirl. I just instruct them to twirl slower than normal and when she is facing him or the camera to smile.
- If she is wearing a dress then I get her to hold one side as she is twirling. At the end I will tell them last twirl and then pull her in for a kiss.
Again, something really simple leads to a lot of variety in your pictures and they find it easy because they only have to do simple changes each time. I also try to find spots where the couple can sit or lean against something for variety. I find my couples generally like leaning better than sitting because it tends to be more flattering for most.
What to Wear for Engagement Photos
I am quite often asked for advice on what my clients should wear to their sessions. My engagement sessions generally include outfit changes. If they are doing only two, I typically suggest to do one casual outfit and one dressed up or fancy outfit. This gives them a little more variety. I usually suggest neutral colors that coordinate with each other and layering pieces.
I tell them to avoid small striped outfits (because they can tend to look a little wonky in photos) and super bright clothing or prints. I also have a Pinterest board that I send to couples that has color palette suggestions and outfit ideas. I have lots of examples so clients get an idea of how to coordinate their outfits and not “match” outfits.
Some other tips for wardrobe include –
- Make sure clothes are wrinkle free, I even have a line in my contract that reminds them of this and so they don’t expect me to edit out a hundred wrinkles in each photo.
- Remove hair ties from wrists
- No cell phones or keys in any pockets. If they have to carry them I offer to do so in my bag during the session.
- No sunglasses, even in the back pocket.
- Get your ring cleaned prior to the session so it’s nice and sparkly.
- Main tip – “Wear something that you feel good in so that you are comfortable during your session.”
Be Confident! In order to provide a good experience for your couples you need to be confident in your engagement photography skills. I go into every session with some nerves but once I meet my clients they would never know! Even if you are nervous you need to portray that you are super confident! Smile, laugh, be genuine, show your personality and you will be fine!
Guest Blogger: FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM WEBSITE My name is Vanessa Progas. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada but I just moved to Wyoming after living in Texas for five years! I went to University and got my Bachelor of Education majoring in visual art. I then taught for five years before pursuing my passion of photography full time. I have been married to my super supportive husband for five years!