There's no getting around it – it can be intimidating to be the subject of an engagement shoot. You want the photos to look real, with the lighting just right, and everybody's telling you to "act natural." We've had our sights set on this guide for quite some time and couldn't be more excited to share these pro tips with all of you – right from the mouths of some of the most admired photographers in the field. From communicating with your photographer (or hey, a good-looking friend and an iPhone?) to choosing locations, this guide is your foolproof tool to get the most out of your couples shooting.
Choose a Familiar & Meaningful Location that I always like to photograph couples in their normal everyday environment, as it instantly makes them more relaxed in the safety of their own space. For many of my shoots, I meet the couples in their homes, shoot them for a while, and then head out and take pictures of their neighborhood. I also like the environment in which we shoot tells the story of who these two individuals are. I always love to shoot couples in places that mean something to them. It adds more depth to the photographs if they have lovely memories already associated with the location. I love moving photos in them, so the shots taken walking from one location to the next always end up being my favorite. Roslyn
Aileen and Brandon's shoot (below) is one of my absolute favorites as we spent the afternoon walking around New York to all the places that meant something to them. They went to the bars on their first dates, where the proposal had happened, the street they were living on. They told me all the stories along the way, and to me, that's what engagement photography ought to be about.
Focus on One Other "To help my subjects get more at ease, I always tell them not to look at me, but to stay connected looking at each other. Being in the presence of one's partner is naturally calming, so by staying focused on their connected energy, the couple will naturally soften." Take part in an Everyday Activity Consider taking a snippet from your everyday life and turning around. Doing things that you usually do together, or being in a place that you both love, will help to achieve authenticity.
"It will also be easier to forget that the camera is present when you are engaged in an activity that you enjoy, such as cooking, dancing or taking a dog for a walk. Authentic emotion is the most important element for me, and what I always aim to capture. If a couple has something to do, an action that feels natural, these moments come easily and the reality becomes evident in the pictures. This is a natural feeling. Of course, you're going to feel awkward – we don't usually have a photographer following us around. My best advice is to accept that you're going to feel a little awkward all the time. Once you have come to accept that feeling, it's easier to move on, have fun and enjoy yourself.