How To ROCK Your Engagement Session (While Actually Enjoying It)!

So you’ve finally said yes to forever, and you get to celebrate and show off with engagement photography! It’s both an exciting and anxious time, and thinking about kissing your fiance, in front of a stranger, who has a camera pointed at you… Might be a bit overwhelming! Well lucky for you, this is going to be your guide to absolutely nailing - and enjoying - your engagement session!

Just To Help the Nerves

First, you can know that as wedding photographers, we’ve seen people show PDA. Like, a lot. You’re not the first couple to kiss in front of us, or even touch the butt. Also know, your photographer is there for YOU. If you’re not really big on a lot of kissing or intimate moments, that’s okay! Every love is unique and beautiful in it’s own way, not everyone’s relationship is the same. Just let your photographer know that, and they should have plenty of other ideas for you to have a special session.

Get to Know Your Photographer

Step number one: Talk to your photographer! I love talking to clients over the phone or over coffee, I get to hear the proposal story, a little bit about their personality and their relationship. It helps me connect and go from a stranger you found on Instagram, to a friend that you can joke and be real with. Having a good connection I feel has a big influence on how your engagement (and later, wedding) photos turn out. It’s easier to forget about nerves and insecurities when you fully trust your photographer. You can be focused on who matters the most: you and your love. That’s what this is all about isn’t it?

Dress Your Part

Now you’re well acquainted with your photographer, what are you going to wear?! I think this is the part most people really dread - do I glam up?! Do I wear my favorite t-shirt and jeans? There’s so many options, so many different looks that you can achieve. But I think that wearing what is comfortable and what makes you feel so unapologetically YOU, is the best idea. If you’ve dreamed of looking like Marilyn Monroe , then you go queen! If you love the thought of roughing up your sneakers together complete with piggy back rides, then rock it! Wear what you like, what fits your personality, and you may want to take your location into account, too.


To take your session to the next level stylistically, you can go one of two ways when planning your outfit. For a more monochrome & minimalist vibe, try wearing colors similar to your surroundings. For example, if you’re going out to a desert location, wear lighter, muted colors. If you want a bold colorful look, wear colors that are complimentary to the colors in your location. For example, if your session is taking place in a grassy field or heavy foliage, wear reds to really stand out!

Season & Location

The time that you schedule your engagement photos has to happen sometime between the proposal and your wedding day. A lot of couples like to do them sooner rather than later, to use engagement photos for save the dates and invitations. If you decide to get hitched fairly soon after getting engaged, you may not have a ton of time to work with, as far as being choosy with the season and location. So how do you decide?

First, try making a list of all the places you could imagine having your session. Maybe that’s in your own home, at your favorite park, downtown Portland, or maybe the same place that you/your fiance proposed! Just can’t think of anything? Ask your photographer for recommendations, I’ve been all over the Portland/Vancouver area, and if you’re out of town/state, I can guarantee we can work together to research some good spots. I can help you to determine which of the locations will have better light and creative opportunities, so definitely reach out and ask!

Once you’ve got your list, try to imagine yourselves in that location. Is it a location where you’ll have room to have a cartwheel contest because you met as high school cheerleaders? Can you imagine having 15 framed photos of you two in that area hanging on your living room wall? Do you keep coming back to Cannon Beach because that’s where you said ‘yes’? Think about how each location makes you feel; often times if you are comfortable and have some kind of emotional tie to the place, you’ll have a stronger connection to those photographs when you look back on them. On the flip side, going somewhere brand new and exploring it with your best friend can be a really fun and special experience!

Downtown Urban Couple Session -  Malina Rose Photography_-14.jpg

I’m SUPER Awkward In Front Of The Camera…

If I had a dollar for every time a client said this to me I’d have a second income, haha! I’m not expecting you to be models, to know how to pose, or even know when to look at the camera! You don’t have to think about a thing. I will give you fun directions and snuggly poses to help you look - and more importantly - feel your best. The goal is to get you focused on each other, although I can never help myself and I WILL hype you tf up about how good you look ;) Don’t worry, it’s funny, you’ll laugh, it works every time! I love doing photos of couples gazing into each other’s eyes, I’ll say something like “imagine seeing the other person on your wedding day, imagine how beautiful/handsome they will look” You forget I’m even there, and you get to soak in the moment with your future spouse. You will likely fall into each pose or direction in your own way and get swept away for a bit, sweeping the nerves away with it!

And the age old question of “what do I do with my hands?” has a very simple, easy answer: connect them with the other person! Hold hands, caress a cheek, pinch another cheek, use them for tickling or playing with hair. But, when in doubt, just ask me! If I haven’t directed your hand somewhere it probably already looks great! Being comfortable is the #1 key to solving this problem of feeling “awkward.” This is another reason I love talking on the phone or meeting up with clients in person, it’s so much easier to get to know each other and feel way better going into your engagement session!

Downtown Urban Couple Session -  Malina Rose Photography_-8.jpg

I hope all of these tips have calmed your nerves, and make you feel super confident and excited to shoot your engagement session and have fun doing it! This season of life is so special, and having a whole day to just spend with your new fiance and give them some love (and have it documented!) is so important.

If you are currently engaged and now feeling SO pumped about an engagement session, click the button below to get in touch with me today! I offer FREE engagement sessions for my wedding clients, and we all now know how awesome they are, there’s no reason to hesitate! I would love to work with you!