weddings 101

5 Secrets To Getting Engagement Pics You’ll Both Love

When my now-husband and I got engaged, the thought of posing for engagement photos elicited groans of protest from both of us. When we met with Arica and Joshua Klassen of Manifesto Photography, we told them that we didn’t want engagement photos and asked if they could spend an extra hour at our wedding instead?

Arica and Joshua understood our hesitations, but encouraged us to do engagement photos anyway. They explained that our engagement session was an opportunity for us to get comfortable in front of the camera and for us (the couple) to get to know them (the photographers) before the big day. It sounded like solid advice (these were professionals, after all), so we agreed to do an apple-orchard shoot and figured we didn’t have to show anybody the photos if the results were cringe-worthy. (They weren’t.)

In the end, we were happy that we did the e-shoot. It made us more comfortable in front of the cameras come the big day, and it was an eye-opener as to which angles were most flattering and which facial expressions we should definitely avoid — on our wedding day and every other day of our lives! So, even if you think engagement shoots are the cheesiest thing in the world, they do serve a purpose. And, while you’re at it, you might as well try to get the loveliest (translation: most natural) engagement photos possible. Here are a few tried-and-true pointers that should help you get engagement pics you’ll both love.

tomatofight_wp1. Have Fun: This is the most important “rule” of a successful engagement shoot. If you take yourselves too seriously, you’ll risk looking ridiculous and becoming fodder for a blog like Awkward Family Photos. Relax, be silly, act natural, and don’t be afraid to get a little messy.

engagementtips_12. Bring Your Pet: If you own a cat or dog together, why not include them in your engagement shoot? Their presence will help lighten the mood and help with jitters (if you have them). Your pet is something you naturally bond over, so it’s a no-brainer when it comes to including it in your photos. (Just make sure your photographer is OK with having an animal on set!)

engagementtips_23. Plan an Activity: What do you love to do as a couple on the weekend? Whether it’s riding your bikes or hitting your local farmers’ market, get out and do something for your photo shoot. Doing something that you both love will help you relax in front of the camera and is a unique expression of who you are as a couple.

engagementtips_54. Coordinate Your Outfits: Note the emphasis on “coordinate”! As much as you love wearing matching PJs at home, this is no time to expose your inner clone couple. Choose outfits that complement each other (you might want to start with a color palette that you both like) but aren’t matchy-matchy.

engagmenttips_35. Act Natural: If your photographer asks you to pose in a super-cheesy way that you know you would never pose together for a photo in “real life,” you can politely decline the idea. You don’t have all day for your engagement shoot, so you want to make sure you optimize your time by having the photographers capture you in poses that feel natural to both of you. There’s no point in attempting the Dirty Dancing lift if you know it’s going to result in bruised egos or physical injury. And absolutely no fake smiling!

Images: Ten 2 Ten PhotographyElisabeth Millay Photography; The Pixel Perfection; Lani Elias Photography; Casadisimos; Katie Stoops Photography.