So it’s time to take your engagement photos! This might be the first time you and your fiance have been in front of the camera of a professional photographer. You might have a few not-so-great expectations in your mind about the session. Things like awkward poses, trying to hold still, trying not to blink, or a bunch of other things come to mind!

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If you’ve found the right photographer and you prepare properly for your session, though, you should have a great time getting to know with your wedding photographer and (at the risk of sounding cheesy) falling in love with your fiancé even more deeply. So, here are my tips for prepping for your engagement session!

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1. Choose outfits that make you feel great! I send my clients this Pinterest board if they’re feeling stuck with outfit inspiration, but I always tell them that being themselves is their #1 priority. I don’t want to stylize them into people they’re not! However, I do want them to see a few of the options they have and how they can go dressy, casual, outdoors-y, or anything else without being overly-matching.

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2. Show your partner photos from your photographer so they know what to expect! Maybe your fiancé wasn’t a huge part of the for the photographer. If that’s the case, it’s helpful for them to see what engagement sessions usually look like, so that they’re not too surprised by any of the photographer’s poses or methods. If your photographer hasn’t sent you a full gallery from an engagement session, just ask! Most are happy to share an example of their final product.

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3. Meet in person before session (or at least before wedding)! I highly encourage as much relationship-building between couples and their photographer as possible – because you will be in the vicinity of your photographer on your wedding day more than almost any other person! You want to get along well and feel comfortable with one another. Taking engagement photos if a huge step toward this, but talking over Skype or in person before booking them or before your engagement session can make it even better for everyone involved!

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4. Set your own expectations. Don’t be afraid to tell your photographer at the beginning of the session if you’re not comfortable with anything you’ve seen in their photos – occasionally couples like taking pictures in their home, but nothing too personal like cuddling on their bed. Some couples prefer less kisses on the lips and more hand-holding and forehead kisses. It’s good to put this out there in the beginning when possible. Your photographer is there to serve you, not to make your uncomfortable!

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5. Consider scheduling your wedding makeup trial for before your engagement photos, if possible! This is a great hack for fully utilizing your makeup artist’s amazing work! Most wedding makeup artists encourage at least one trial run before the big day, and if you’re the kind of person who feels confident and empowered when your makeup is on point, then this might be an option for you. However, if you’re more comfortable with little to no makeup, go with that! I personally almost never wear makeup and I didn’t end up wearing anything for my engagement photos. I just wouldn’t have felt like myself!

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6. Ask your photographer for their own tips. Since every photographer is different, it can give you peace of mind to ask what their sessions are usually like – the timing, posing techniques, and level of interactions vary between photographers. More details about what to expect can only help my couples feel more confident going into a new experience!

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7. Get your pet involved if your session is close to home! One of my favorite ways to incorporate pets into my couples’ photos is by meeting them near where they live and photographing them in their familiar space and neighborhood with their cat or dog (or hermit crab or iguana!). Or you can have an adventurous friend come along for at least part of the session to hold your dog’s leash while you cuddle up sans puppy for at least some of the photos! That way can take a few photos all together, then continue the rest of the photos without too many distractions.

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Lastly, above all: have fun. 🙂 Engagement photos are a time for you to express yourself and let your love be documented! Enjoy this time!