Taking engagement photos may be something you’re greatly looking forward to, especially if you’re planning on using those photos for your save-the-dates, wedding website, and even as decorations at your wedding reception.
But before you step in front of the camera with your partner, it’s important to take a step back and prepare yourself for the photo shoot. Twisting and turning your bodies into poses, smiling for hours on end, and figuring out the best outfits to wear takes time, practice, and preparation.
Here are the best tips from six wedding photographers on how to practice for your engagement photos so you feel confident and relaxed.
1. Bring a Few Different Outfits
Picking what you want to wear for your engagement pictures can be half the battle. If you’re torn between a handful of outfits, bring them with you to the photoshoot. “Bring a few outfits with you that are not only flattering, but also won’t leave you cold or uncomfortable,” says Curtis Myers, an award-winning wedding photographer. “If it’s a cold day and you are shivering in a sleek dress, your misery will show in your photograph.”
2. Keep the Mood Light
At first, taking your engagement photos might seem awkward or strange because you’re posing in unfamiliar ways and holding a smile for a very long time. That’s why it’s important to keep the mood light. “Have conversations with each other, make each other laugh, and tell jokes,” says Paolo Manrique, a Canada-based wedding photographer. “
3. Practice Makes Perfect Poses
Since you might not know exactly how you want your engagement photos to turn out, before the session starts, practice beforehand with your partner. “Practice poses in the mirror that make you feel good,” says Susan Shek, a New York City-based wedding photographer. “When practicing, smile a lot and engage with your partner by looking at them and thinking of different poses that make you both feel comfortable.”
4. Research to Find Other Engagement Photos You Adore
If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to pine through other engagement photos that you see on social media, and save the ones you like.
"Look at Instagram, Pinterest, wherever you get photo inspiration and screenshot a few engagement photos that feel especially 'you,'” says Sarah Sloboda, a San Francisco-based photographer. “Not just images you think are beautiful, but shots you can really see yourself in with your fiancé. Make sure you share these photos with your photographer as inspiration and say, “this is what feels like us!” Having a visual reference for yourself that doesn’t make you feel awkward goes a long way towards feeling psychologically prepared to be photographed.”
5. Have a Conversation With Your Partner
Before you practice and prep for your photo shoot, have a talk with your partner to suss out each of your comfort levels. “Find out what each person is and isn’t comfortable doing in front of the camera,” says Sloboda. “Some people want intimate kissing shots, for some, that is too much, and they prefer more straightforward portraits. Are you both comfortable looking straight into the camera, or do you prefer lifestyle shots where you are looking off into the distance? Come to an agreement in advance about what you like and what your photo boundaries are.”
6. Pick Your Favorite Spot
One way to ease engagement photo nerves is to pick a place that is meaningful and memorable to you and your partner. “Pick a place that’s important to you, it may be the neighborhood you live in or the park where you go on Saturday mornings to jog together,” says Kathleen Trenske, a wedding photographer. “If you’re in a place that’s familiar and comfortable, you’ll feel more relaxed in front of the camera.”