Tips on how to create a successful engagement session

I love working with couples. The love, the way they look at each other. Some couples get nervous in front of the camera, and when they do it shows. As their photographer it’s important that I help them have fun in order to capture their essence. I have a few tips I like to use during my engagement sessions to help get those tough-to-smile clients looking their best and having fun doing it.

First, I try to get to know them and their story. I ask what they are passionate about and try to work that into their session. For example, I had a couple that were DJ’s, so I took them to a record store for part of their engagement session. They LOVED that I was able to incorporate their love of music into their engagement photos.

Knowing your clients’ interests and personalities helps you know what spots to take them to as well. For example, it wouldn’t have made sense to take the couple I took to the record store to a field or beach. Your couples will always feel more comfortable in surroundings they relate to.

I also tell them about myself and try to find a common ground. Being open and honest with your clients is important for them to be able to trust you. Sometimes telling a funny story helps them to relax. Be playful and fun. It not only relaxes the client, but will help them to smile and laugh at you. There is nothing better than capturing natural smiles!

Another thing I like to do during our session is place them in a nice spot, walk away for a minute and tell them to forget about me. Once they start talking and laughing, I start to photograph them. This way I get more natural photos that don’t look posed. Occasionally, I will ask them to kiss or look at each other. I love when I ask them to look at each other, because most of the time they either will naturally kiss, or start laughing. These moments are a lot of fun to capture. Now don’t get me wrong, I do create a few posed photos, but my favorite photos to take are the ones that are not staged.

I once had a groom who didn’t like to smile. So I danced, sang some “opera” and even had the bride tickle him. I may look silly but it works every time! I earned the groom’s respect and he told me that the session went better than he thought it would. The important thing is that you have fun with your clients. Show them how much you love what you do. Enjoy them and their company and I promise that they will always refer you to their friends.

Courtney Bowlden started out as a “mom-ographer” back when her kids were tiny. She adores working with couples and high school seniors.  She loves finding beauty in everyone she shoots and every place she goes. To view her work visit her website. (Photo By Toni Lynn Photography)

One Response to “Tips on how to create a successful engagement session”

  1. Jared says:

    Wonderful tips :), I do love capturing the natural too. I usually choose a longer focal length to work with the timid and shy. I prefer the 85mm that way I can give them a comfortable space and they can actually feel at ease. That has helped me.

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