Vendor Spotlight Blog from Rachael Osborn
Picture this: you just said YES! To the love of your life, and you’re excitedly diving into wedding planning head-first, lining up your vendor team and making Pinterest boards filled with inspiration for your once-in-a-lifetime special day. You’re probably starting to think about how your own wedding will be documented, and who you’ll hire to capture those memories. Before you jump ahead to those wedding photos, though, there’s another photo session to plan for – and it’s one that too often feels like just another box to tick off on your wedding planning checklist: the engagement session.
In my decade of experience photographing weddings and engagements, I have come to think that people fall into two camps when it comes to taking engagement photos: The first camp is people who really want to take the photos, but are nervous as heck about taking them and worry that they aren’t photogenic, and the second camp is people who also feel intimidated by engagement photos and would just rather not take them at all because they’re fairly sure epic engagement photos are only for supermodels or Instagram influencers.
Here’s the good news: both camps are wrong.
Beautiful engagement photos are absolutely for everyone, and with a little help and guidance, they can not only be epic, they can be fun – and easy to take. Here are five simple tips to help you nail your engagement session and walk away with photos you’ll love (no supermodels or influencers necessary):
No, I am actually not talking about the chemistry between you and your spouse. You’re getting married, so we are going to assume that you have that chemistry already taken care of. The chemistry you do need? It’s you and your photographer. Fact: 100 percent of us look our best when we feel comfortable and at ease. Also a fact: it’s a lot easier to feel comfortable and at ease when you’re with someone you enjoy being around. Think back before you found your partner – remember those awkward blind dates where natural conversation just didn’t happen no matter how hard you tried? Yeah – you don’t want to have flashbacks to that experience when you’re working with your photographer. Take the time to talk with potential photographers before you book them to make sure your personalities jive. If you leave the consultation feeling like you could be friends with the person, it’s probably a good sign that they can make you feel at ease and comfortable with them – and comfortable people look their best in photographs.
An engagement session should be a reflection of your unique style as a couple. While I could go into five more tips just on outfit choices alone, I’ll keep my advice for this one simple: Make the effort to mindfully choose outfits that reflect your style as a couple, and think about where you will display these photos. Will you hang a large print in a certain room? If so, you might want to take your other decor and colors in mind – if your planning on a large print for your coastal blue + white living room and then wear a neon print, it will detract from the mood you’re setting in that space (whereas an airy sundress for her and seersucker or linen for him stays cohesive with a coastal vibe and will fit in the space) – or, likewise, an urban trendy loft in the city might call for an elegant dress for her – and a classic suit for him.
Infuse your session with personality by picking a location that holds significance to you and your partner. This could be as simple as doing a session in your home, or going back to that beach where you had your first date. Think of the location for your engagement photos like you’re choosing the setting for telling your love story – because you are.
Action is the difference between stagnant, boring photos that feel stiff and posed, and relaxed, epic photos that feel effortless. While this can be as simple as taking a walk together or popping champagne, you can level up your session by adding activities to those actions. What if you invited your photographer to document you and your partner making dinner together in your new place, or met for coffee and a downtown stroll hand-in-hand. Maybe you could grab your surfboards or that vintage car you restored together – or maybe it’s just taking your dog on a walk through the park you love.
Perhaps the most overlooked tip is this – be mindful of little things that can ruin an otherwise perfectly epic shot. For example, phones and keys stashed in a pocket can create really awkward lumps and bumps that we don’t want in your photos (trust me!), so bring along a tote bag you can stash your things in to keep those pockets lump free. Iron and steam out wrinkles as much as possible. Clean your rings, and get a manicure for your nails. “We can just photoshop it later” is every photographer’s most dreaded phrase, and often, it isn’t that easy, so take a moment to consider the little things that go into making epic photos.
One last bonus tip for epic engagement photos, and it might be the most important one yet – bring a good attitude and be kind to your partner. Chances are, they are nervous about being in front of the camera, too, and being a curmudgeon about taking these photos is not going to help anything. While a photoshoot may not be your forte, determine in your heart to make it a good memory with your spouse-to-be regardless of anything else – after all, this is the person you signed up “for better or for worse” with, and engagement photos are probably not going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do together (if only!). If you follow the tips above and bring a great attitude, you’re well on your way to epic photos – so get ready to snuggle, cuddle, and laugh with your partner, and then let your photographer handle the rest!
Check out the amazing Rachael Osborn for beautiful photography for your engagement shoot and wedding day!