You can have the best photography equipment on the market with the skills to accompany it, but if you don’t know how to prepare your couples and work with them during their engagement photoshoot, all your knowledge and equipment will go to waste.

The best engagement photo sessions happen when the couple feels relaxed. Chances are, they’ve never posed for a professional and don’t know where to start or how to act. They may have looked up engagement photo ideas and provided a list of the poses they’d like to capture, but that doesn’t mean they will automatically get into “model mode” once they step in front of the camera. Nor would you want them to.

You want to capture authentic, happy, fun moments between the couple. To do so, you’ll need to be authentic, happy, and fun as well. You’ll need to prepare yourself and the couple to get a clear idea on what they want, and during the photoshoot you’ll need to keep the momentum going while also calming your couple’s nerves.

Ready to rock the engagement session? Here are some tips for capturing your clients at their best.

Photo of an engaged couple in downtown Austin, photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Get to Know the Couple and Sort Out the Details

Ask them how they met, how planning is coming along, what they envision for the shoot, what kind of vibe they’re going for, places they’d like to shoot. This shows interest in them as a couple, helps you identify their wants, and allows you to get to know them on a personal level. Details you’ll want to sort out include location(s), clothing, props, etc. You can also offer ideas for meaningful locations, special props, or things that are unique to them and memories you might help them recreate.

Engaged couple holding hands, showing a engagement ring, photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Prepare for the Engagement Photo Session

Once you’re clear on the details, you can prep yourself for the photoshoot by putting together the gear you’ll need and scoping out the shoot location. Walk around the area to get an idea of where you’ll begin and end shooting. It will also help to have ideas for poses in mind so that you can guide the couple and have a smooth flowing session.

Related: Essential Wedding Photography Gear

You might also want to call the couple a few days before the session to see if they have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. This will help the couple feel more comfortable approaching you, as you’ll be seen as not just their photographer, but accessible and friendly.

Engaged couple standing in front of vintage truck, photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Create a Confident and Comfortable Atmosphere

Talking to the couple before photographing them is a great way to help them warm up and relax. Get them laughing, talk about common interests, and create a personal experience that gets and keeps them excited throughout the session. Let them know when what they’re doing looks great and when you’ve captured a great photo. In return, you’ll have a confident couple who’s engaged and having a blast.

Keep the momentum going by offering ideas and listening to any ideas the couple may have. If things start to feel stale or the couple looks bored, have them do something fun like twirl each other around, tell a joke, climb a tree (clothing permitting), or whisper something into each other’s ear. Consult your collection of engagement photo ideas for more inspiration if the couple gets stuck in the same poses.

Related: 5 Ways to Add a Creative Twist to Your Photos

As the professional, it’s your job to guide the couple, keep things moving, and provide a level of comfort so that the clients relax and have fun in front of the camera. If you’ve gotten to know them and prepared for the shoot, your job the day of the session will be much easier. The engaged couple will appreciate your authenticity, warmth, and ideas and will have a great time interacting with you and the camera.   

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