Engagement season is in full-swing, which means lots of engagement shoots coming up! Engagement sessions are a great way to get a couple comfortable together in front of the camera, learn their angles before their big day, and potentially get you booked to shoot their wedding if you play your cards right.
To help keep your portfolio fresh and your poses interesting, we’ve put together our best engagement session tips.
Tell the Couple What to Expect, and Suggest any Preparation You’d Recommend
Most couples have never done an engagement shoot before, so it’s a safe bet that they aren’t quite sure what to expect and how to prepare. We always make sure to recommend the couple get their nails done (not necessarily a bold polish color, but clean nails photograph significantly better than nails with dirt underneath). We also suggest that the ring be cleaned before the shoot – either professionally or at home – so that you can see the sparkle in the photos.
Beyond the hands, we also send over some outfit recommendations and ask the couple if there are any specific shots they’re looking to capture during their engagement session. Do they want the shoot to be serious and romantic, or more goofy? Finding out before lifting up your camera will help you be better prepared and ultimately will help you take better photos.
Keep the Couple Focused on Each Other
It’s easy to get nervous and stare at the camera during a shoot, but the best engagement photos are where the couple is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, or sharing genuine laughter together. If you notice the couple starting to get stiff and too focused on the camera, gently instruct them to get back into the moment with each other. We like to prompt one of the partners to tell the other a joke, or say something they know will make the other one laugh.
Don’t Forget the Ring Close-up
Getting a snap of the ring might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a must-have for any engagement shoot. To get the perfect shot, we have a couple go-to poses. The first one is to have the couple stand facing each other, have the person wearing the ring gently place their hand on their partner’s shoulder, and position yourself square to the shoulder. To keep the hand relaxed, prompt them to drape it on their partner. If the couple brought some wine to drink, we also like to get a close-up of the ring while the wearer is holding the glass.
Shoot for an Album
Often, couples will opt to have their engagement session printed in a book and use it as a guest-signing book or as a display at the wedding. So when you’re shooting, tell a story! Try to piece together snapshots that complement each other, but are diverse enough to be displayed side-by-side. Changing your angle and framing really helps here – flip between wide shots that showcase the scenery, action shots where the couple is moving or dancing, and artistic portraits. Remember, each photo should contribute to the story of the couple.
Want to go the extra mile? Offer to make your couple a signing book, or recommend places to get their photos printed in a book.
Have Some Poses in Your Back Pocket
It never hurts to have some tried and true engagement session photos ready, just in case the couple has a little bit of trouble figuring out how to position themselves.
An engagement shoot typically leans into really affectionate poses, but also be sure to take some photos that the couple can show to their grandparents too. A good mixture of kissing and not-kissing photos is your best bet to make sure the couple can use these photos for lots of different things – from their save the dates, to their wedding website, to printing and hanging up in their home.
Want a little more guidance for posing? Check out our couples posing guide.
Send the Couple a Preview Quickly
Chances are, the couple is really excited to get their photos back from you – so send them a couple of your favorites as soon as you’re able to. Even with a busy schedule, using reliable presets will help you turn around the edited photos quickly and make sure all your photos are cohesive.