Engagement Photos Nerves? Come As You Are!
My husband Chris is not a fan of getting his photo taken. He’s pretty shy if you don’t know him. Posing with a forced smile in front of a stranger with a camera is just not his idea of a good time, and he’d much rather be cooking up something delicious in the kitchen with some fun music playing in the background. I also moonlight as his sous chef, wine in hand.
This year, though, I convinced him to do a photo session with our dog, Ralphie. I knew Chris wouldn’t be thrilled about it…and that’s when my beer bribe came in handy! He can’t say no to a good oatmeal stout.
When I asked him why he’s hesitant about photos, he didn’t mince words. “I just don’t like it. I don’t like pictures of me in general. During the session I always feel a little awkward.”
And it’s not just Chris. A lot of folks that I’ve photographed feel this way, especially when it comes to engagement pictures. At almost every session, my clients will say one of two things:
“This feels so weird!”
“I’m not photogenic at all.”
If you’re not in the industry, or scrolling through wedding Instagram on the daily, the concept of engagement photos might look very different in your head. You may not even know they’re a ‘thing’ that many couples do!
Some might flashback to the last time they got their photo taken, like for their senior yearbook photo, or–even worse!–a cringy Sears Portrait Studio session growing up. Or maybe it’s their annual family Christmas photo, and they’re wearing an itchy sweater while mom fusses with the timer. None of that is very fun!
70% of the couples who booked me to photograph their wedding in 2019 also chose to have engagement photos taken, which I always encourage. Why? We’ll get to know each other!
I’m going to be all up in your space on your wedding day for 8-10 hours, and that is way less awkward for both of us if we’ve already met. Think of it like a rehearsal for your wedding day! You’ll get a feel for how I work, and what it’s like to be in front of my camera.
During your engagement session, I’ll ask questions about your life, how you guys got together, and test the best way to capture your authentic selves.
Speaking of capturing your authentic selves, I have a hunch that many couples are nervous that professional photos means having to be someone you’re not. That maybe the photographer will force their idea of a love story onto you, and you’ll be sitting in fake, stiff poses that don’t reflect your personality. With me, that is simply not true.
Sunny and Richard are both very busy doctors. Certainly, their time together is priceless. They came into our engagement session like they would a date: They got a little fancy, had some fun, and even brought their pup Ollie along.
I always start my session walking, which allows couples to have some space and a chance to warm up to me and my camera.
As they walked, I took a few shots of them naturally holding hands and chatting away. To start, I hyped them up, saying how gorgeous they looked, and, later, emphasized their adoration for Ollie, who stole the show!
With their attention locked in on Ollie, their nerves disappeared. It made room for many candid moments full of emotions, which was the perfect warm up!
After a few minutes, Richard was loving this time with his girl. As a result, they were really starting to have fun!
Because the session was going so great, I asked them if they’d try something for me…Running!
They were totally into the idea so I told them to let go of their worries, don’t stress about how they looked, and simply run. As they ran, the mood became so light and carefree, and the more I laughed and cheered, the bigger their smiles became!
It’s a fun few hours, all about you, your chemistry, and your love. Whether that’s a big kiss and a dip, or a simple gaze towards each other, come exactly as you are, and I’ll create art for you!
P.S.: Towards the end, we got a few individual shots, and they were having a blast! Go Richard and Sunny!