Do you feel self-conscious in photos? Ever been at a wedding and turned your back when you saw the photographer coming around during cocktail hour? I can totally relate—being in front of the camera can sometimes feel awkward! But don’t let that rob you of fun photo experiences and memories. Here are some easy tips to help you turn awkward into natural in your engagement photos.
Avoiding Awkward Engagement Photos
Hire a Professional Photographer
This might seem like the most obvious, but I can see how it can seem the most scary. If you already feel awkward in your own photos, having another person there (especially a stranger!) can seem rather daunting. Relatable! However, it is totally worth the giant step out of your comfort zone. Hiring a professional photographer who is experienced in posing, guiding, and directing couples, can make a world of difference. It improves not just how your engagement photos look, but how you feel during the session. If you feel more relaxed, you will look more natural. Having a trained professional means they’ve worked with all sorts of couples in the past, practiced and developed their craft over time, and have experience in helping people look their best. Professionals have got you covered, so all you have to worry about is following their lead and having fun with your fiancé. What’s not to love about that?
“But won’t I look stiff and awkward if someone is posing me?”
Not if your photographer is good at what they do! Having that conversation before the session and expressing that concern is important. This way they can choose poses and direction that suits your natural tendencies and comfort level. Which leads into the next tip…
Meet Your Photographer Ahead of Time
I assure you, this is not as much work as it may sound. Rather than booking over email or an impersonal online link, schedule a consultation and have a real conversation with your photographer before booking. Consultations are valuable to get to know each other, see if your personalities match, and get a feel for how the photographer works. Knowing each other and how the session process works ahead of time makes a huge difference in you feeling more comfortable. Once you get to the session, you’ll have already met which eliminates that initial awkwardness. Schedule a consult, meet for tea (or even a virtual meeting if that fits your schedule better) and watch the nerve-wracking “stranger” feeling fade away.
As a photographer, the consult makes things so much better for me, too! Does it take a little more time? Yes. But it is 100% worth it to know my couples and how to best work with them!
Go Somewhere Meaningful to You as a Couple
Nothing brings comfort quite like being in a familiar place. As a photographer I love incorporating significant locations into the engagement photo session. Why go to a random park you’ve never been to when you could go somewhere special to you? Imagine the background of your photos being more than just a background. It also helps alleviate any awkwardness you might feel because happy memories in happy places make for happy people who look happy in photos!
Make it a Date Day/Night
Not every photographer’s schedule can accommodate this, but it can be a huge benefit to making you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Start the trip out with a quick drink at the bar before meeting up with the photographer. Taking a few moments for you two to relax beforehand. Instead of going from the hustle of hair and makeup, focusing on each other (which, naturally, looks amazing in engagement photos) will definitely make things less awkward feeling.
You can take this a step further and incorporate a fun activity into your session—preferably something you both love doing and have done before. Having something to do gives you something to focus on other than how you look, or the awkward “what do I do with my hands?” feeling. Plus, it can make for super awesome and unique engagement photos that you’ll be proud to hang on the wall.
Then after your photo session, you can go to dinner and continue the fun night out!
All that said, I don’t recommend having more than one drink prior to taking engagement photos. We want you to be relaxed and comfortable but still have fresh, alert, and awake facial expressions. Not sure if you get any facial indications of having a few drinks? Ask your fiancé! This is also a really good conversation to have before the wedding, since retouching usually can’t fix alcohol-induced facial effects. I’ve had clients warn me about their droopy eyes or crooked smiles after a few drinks, for example. That way we could be sure to avoid them on the wedding day. Yet another reason why it’s super valuable to have a consult beforehand!
Bonus Tip to Avoid Awkward Engagement Photos
Wear Your Outfits Before the Session Day
Don’t go overboard here. Of course we want your outfits to be clean and fresh, but if you’re buying something new for the session it helps if you wear it once beforehand. Simple enough, right? Wearing clothes you’ve already worn takes away some of the “newness” that can lead to feeling awkward, and instead helps you feel more comfortable. You’ll especially appreciate this if you’re particularly prone to nervousness in new situations.
Have I mentioned we’re running a drawing for FREE ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS right now? Now that you know how to avoid all the awkwardness, you should enter! Or if you have questions about engagement sessions or anything photography related, you can always contact us here.