Engagement Session Style Guide

We all look at beautiful couples portraits and say ‘I want that for me and my partner!’ but sometimes we have this fear that creeps into the back of our minds of ‘what if I’m not photogenic? What if we have to pose? My partner hates having his/her photo taken’.

I very much understand! I hear this from a lot of couples at the start of my sessions (and to be honest I’m a complete dork in photos myself!). But by the end a transformation has changed and the response is always that it was easy, fun and relaxed! Never have I been a fan of stiff, awkward, posed shots and the thought of boring portraits makes me cringe.

So how do we get this? Well I’ve put together a list of really great tips (thanks to Katch Silva for helping too) that I want you to absorb prior to your couples session. It’s really helpful if you both read it and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Honesty is mandatory. Vulnerability is encouraged. I can only capture your true dynamic if you allow me into your space. Remember how you interact when you’re alone, and don’t hide it. Embrace both the goofy laughter and the quiet vulnerable moments. I will, of course, guide you through all this as we shoot, but I need you to meet me halfway and allow me into your intimacy.

Just be you! This seems obvious, but sometimes it’s tough to really commit to it. I want your dynamic to set the tone and mood of the shoot, not what you think a session should look like. Are you goofballs? Are you introverted? I want to experience all those little moments you might otherwise consider the “outtakes”. Don’t act like you think you should, I want to capture you as you are. The truest emotion is in the outtakes!

Dress comfortably, don’t feel like you need to “dress up” because it’s an occasion. Sometimes walking around a paddock in a really nice formal dress looks very out of place and staged.

Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. Whether that’s ripped up jeans or a summery skirt, you do you!

If you do need help, this is what I suggest: Neutral and deeper colors work best. Greys, whites, blacks, deeper reds, olive greens, mustard yellows, navy/dusty blues. Say no to neon, loud bold patterns or super bright colours. It’s good you don’t match, so if she is wearing floral print dress, he should stick with solid colours that subtly goes with the dress. Bring accessories like jackets, hats, scarfs and a blanky if it’s cold. And ladies – wear your hair out if it is long! This always looks beautiful. I’ve put together some examples of what I think works really well for shoots.

You’re not there for me. I’m there for you: to document your love. The objective isn’t just to take pretty pictures. Its to capture an exciting stage in your life, while spending time together. Its very likely that the last time you got your picture taken “professionally” was for an awkward high school photo or for super posed family portraits. I promise you, it will be nothing like that. So don’t think of it as a photo session, think of it as a fun afternoon hanging out, not worrying about being anywhere else and just enjoy the moment together.

It’s definitely not just about the location, but its about how you fit into it. The setting, location, and weather will affect your mood, and the mood of the photos, drastically. So I want to make sure you’re surrounded by what you love. Whether that’s your own home or a foggy mountain top, all that matters is that it’s you!

And I don’t just mean the weather. I want you to embrace the rocks, the dirt, the paths less traveled, the wind messing up your hair, your dress getting dirty, and all the other spontaneous and “imperfect” elements. If it starts to rain, we’ll keep shooting and have fun with it! If we have to stop between each shot to flatten out your hair or fluff up your dress, the whole natural vibe will be thrown off. I want to keep it natural and honest, so just let go!

Leave the big bags, don’t worry about the extra stuff you might need. I want you to be light on your feet and easily mobile, because I will shoot all those little in-between moments. Extra props or bags tend to make spontaneous shooting more difficult, so minimalism is the way to go!