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“4 Ways to Nail Your Engagement Session” by OregonElopement Photographer Black Salt Photography

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “what if I look weird on camera?” It’s rare to find somebody who feels completely comfortable in these situations. Trust me, I feel the same way when I’m on the other side of the lens! You would think after photographing so many couples I would know exactly what to do when it’s my turn, but it doesn’t always work that way. When I’m photographing you, I will give you guiding suggestions that help you feel more natural. Rest assured, you’ll always have something to do with your hands, too!

Baby it’s cold outside, and WE’RE ENGAGED!

Now that it’s engagement season again, I want to make sure you feel CONFIDENT going into your next session. Confidence is key and I’m here to help you find it again. I’ve come up with four extremely easy steps you can do today to help you out on your next session. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking photos inside or outside, in the snow or on the beach, these tips will apply anywhere! So just sit back, relax, and follow these four easy steps to nail your engagement session:

Wear something familiar

The dreaded “what do I wear?” question can haunt you at night if you’re not careful. I hated this question so much that I converted to a capsule wardrobe just so I wouldn’t have to make such a massive decision every. single. day.

Knowing that you’re going to be taking pictures in an outfit can make it even harder to choose! Especially if you’re taking couples photos, then you have to plan TWO OUTFITS that MATCH. Yikes.

My biggest suggestion is to wear something familiar. Don’t go out and buy five new outfits just for this. One, that’s wasteful. And two, you have no idea how you fit in the new clothes! You’ll be thinking about this more than you realize when you show up to your photographer and she wants to start taking pictures of your new duds.

I’m not saying wear your trashy jeans, but do find something you naturally gravitate toward. You know you look good in this piece and chances are you already have several outfit ideas around this central piece. For me, it’s a simple black t-shirt dress. I can dress it up or down depending on if I add a chunky sweater and tights or my favorite mustard blazer. Once you know what you’re going to wear, try and match it to your partner’s closet. Generally, one person in the relationship cares *much less* about what they wear, so plan them last!

How to nail your engagement session: Extra Tip*

Stay away from weird prints, logos, or mismatched patterns. Sticking with solid colors, muted tones, or in the same family color will help your images look cohesive. Busy images because of too many competing colors don’t hold the eye!

Get your beauty sleep

It seems so simple but is always the first thing to go – sleep. Don’t stay up really late the night before your photo session eating pizza and chips. Try your best to go to bed at a reasonable time (don’t forget to wash your face!).

Getting plenty of sleep will help you in multiple ways. First, you’re not tired and can focus more clearly during your session. You won’t have bags under your eyes and your makeup (if you wear any) doesn’t have to work as hard to make you look like your natural self. Second, your skin and body will look tighter and “awake” rather than saggy and sleepy. It’s pretty crazy just how much of a difference a few hours of sleep can make on your body even if you change nothing else.

When you wake up refreshed you’re starting from a clean slate. You’ll be able to feel your excitement knowing you’ve already prepared for your session. You don’t want to get pictures taken if you’re just not feeling it.

Practice posing in front of a mirror

This age-old trick is a lifesaver when you want to try something new. You don’t have to go overboard on poses or try out 17 different smiles. Just do a few natural poses by yourself and see what feels normal to you. It can feel disconnecting to think you’re looking one way but your body shows something else. Humans are visual creatures. We learn by observing, so watch yourself!

After you’ve mastered these and you understand how your body moves, bring in your partner. They might think you’re *super weird* for asking them to do this, but you’ll know you’re secretly helping them, too. Chances are they probably haven’t taken tons of photos with a professional photographer before. Or they might not even know that knowing what to do with your hands is an actual problem!

A couple common poses to practice with your partner are with your faces nuzzled together, leaning on their shoulder with your eyes closed, or dancing in small circles. You don’t necessarily have to do these in front of a mirror, but just practicing them together will help you feel more confident when the camera arrives.

Write love letters

This is my favorite little trick to help couples feel mushy gushy right before a session. Even if you’re not a wordsmith, I’m sure you’ll be able to write a short love letter to your boo that will make them feel happy and loved and much more willing to give you a big kiss in front of a camera.

The letters don’t need to be long if you don’t want them to. Discuss the idea with your photographer if you want to read them during your session! Sometimes the emotions on your faces while reading can make amazing pictures, too.

These four ways to nail your engagement session should have you well on your way to feeling cool, calm, and collected at your photoshoot. I always recommend finding a photographer you feel connected with. Building that connection is just as key as it can completely make or break the session.

Click here to book me as your engagement photographer.

Black Salt Photography is an elopement photographer and intimate wedding photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Photographing in the surrounding PNW areas and traveling often for destination love stories. Specializing in intimate candids and editorial portraits to craft a one-of-a-kind wedding day for every couple. Her moody photography style plays with natural light and shadow, laced with raw emotional moments, to create an authentic narrative experience. She photographs you as you so you’ll love your photos authentically.

Destiny definitely stood out amongst other photographers because we absolutely loved how involved she was from the very beginning. She really wants to get to know you- which makes for really intimate photos! She asks tons of questions, which is awesome because you feel like you know her before even meeting her! And once you finally do, she is so so sweet!!! Destiny is so great at communicating and being really involved in every detail! She captured every emotion and detail perfectly, whenever I look at our wedding pictures, it brings back every feeling on our special day. TEARS!”

Planning your elopement doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it seems at first!

If you're ready to…

-say goodbye to stiff, formal posing

-embrace the intimacy of your wedding day

-enjoy an adventure together

-have a meaningful ceremony

-remove all the extra stress

Then I'm here to help!

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