Tips for your Get to Know You Portrait Session

I first wrote this blog post in 2012 and some of my ideas and opinions have changed, slightly, so here is my “modern” introduction.

I think the term “engagement photos” is really misleading, because it makes it sound like the session is all about your engagement.  It makes me imagine photos where the engagement ring is in focus and you two are out of focus kissing in the background.  (My least favorite photo to make.)  I insist that this session isn’t about your engagement, it’s about YOU TWO AS PEOPLE!  And it’s about getting familiar with being photographed.

Now, I exclusively refer to “engagement sessions” as Get To Know You Portrait Sessions, because that is really what you’re doing: getting to know your photographer and her style, and getting familiar with being photographed as a couple.

Okay, enough said.  Read on for more tips on how to prepare for your Get to Know You Session!


So your wedding photographer has offered you an engagement session and you did a little research and have decided that engagement photos are really worth it!  You’ve chosen a location, booked a time, and now are totally dreading it.  What now?

The majority of people hate having their photo taken, so having photos taken while you’re trying to appear romantic and sweet is even worse!  But remember, shaking out these nerves and getting used to being photographed as a couple are the two primary reasons WHY to have engagement photos done in the first place!  Getting used to the camera will make your wedding day a snap.  So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the awkwardness.

More specifically, here are some tips to help you prepare (mentally and physically) for engagement photos.

1.  Wear comfortable clothes.  This is a tip that I offer to all of my clients, no matter the shoot.  If you feel comfortable, then you look comfortable, and that is critical to great photos.  Also, during your session you may walk a lot, sit on the ground, climb a tree or do whatever other wacky thing you or your photographer come up with.  So wear clothes you like and that are comfy to you.

2.  Don’t try to match – just compliment.  I am not a huge fan of matching clothing for portraits, but especially not for engagement photos.  You and your sweetie are two separate, independent people.  And while you may be joining your lives in marriage, you certainly don’t need to wear matching clothes.  Think complimentary: blues and greens, yellows and oranges, blue and khaki, gray and black.  You’re a grown up – you know what looks good.

3.  Embrace the awkwardness.  I assure you that the first 10-15 minutes will feel super awkward as you try to be “natural” and “relaxed” while the photographer is shooting away.  But the awkwardness always gives way to laughter and cute moments as you and your sweetie play and tease each other into relaxing.  So let yourself be nervous and just accept that it’s gonna be weird.  You have to work through the awkwardness!!

4.  Channel your most romantic self.  The best “engagement photos” aren’t actually about your specific engagement.  They are about you two, as two people in love and looking forward to the next chapter of your life together.  You want the photos to reflect your love and your relationship in all of its silliness and sweetness.  Nothing is too cheesy – this is all about romance.

5.  Research some pictures that you like.  This is also a tip that I give to almost all of my clients, no matter the upcoming shoot.  Having an idea of the kinds of photos you like and don’t like will help you and your photographer make exactly the kinds of photos that you’re happy with.  Before an engagement shoot, you AND your sweetie should spend some time on Google Images bookmarking the pictures you like and might want to create.  (I have plenty of photos on my website to inspire you; take a look below.)

6.  Remember that it’s all just for fun.  I offer engagement photos to my clients because I want to hang out with them, get to know them before their wedding, and have fun doing it.  There really is no pressure.  Hopefully the session is as fun as it is productive, and as sweet as it is hilarious.  No matter what, you’re guaranteed to get photos that you love, that show you and your partner being uniquely you.

What could be better?


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