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how to rock your engagement session like a boss

"What do we do with our hands?!"

Number one question I get when we start shooting. Even after I've sent a prep guide. I get it, taking pictures is f*ckin scary. But everyone relax! There's nothing to be nervous about, especially when you're working with a professional who you've probably stalked on IG and in the back of your head know will make sure you look good. You've seen my photos right? None of these people have a Ford Modeling Agency contract. But they could! There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than what meets the eye, so the most important thing you can do when its time to shoot is get out of your head, listen to your photographer and stop thinking so much about your freakin' hands.

prep the right way.

You gotta cute outfit? Rock it. Favorite lipstick? Smear it on. Whatever makes you feel like a million bucks, do it. Your energy can be read through photos. Your partner doesn't really want to be there? It WILL show. You don't want to come out of your shell? Yep, that shows too. Your photographer is not going to bite you..I mean, I don't think, depends on the relationship you have with them, I suppose... But one thing about us creative photographers, we like to have fun and make literal m-a-g-i-c! And in order for us to do that, you gotta let those insecurities go, fully show up and be ready to have a good time.

show us the (real) love!

One of the most important parts of my prep guide is my explanation about emotion. Great images include emotion and vulnerability. You gotta bring it, I can't bring this for you. You can't tell me in your photoshoot inquiry that you "hate posed photos" and then get to the session and just stand there holding hands and cheesing extremely hard at the camera......um, hi thats that 'pose' you told me you hated, is it not? You're not the only person that hates uptight, posed photos, nobody does, I sure as hell don't. But the difference between looking posed and not looking posed is just a matter of you- loosening up. Wiggle those shoulders, shake all the jitters out, down a glass of wine if you need to, look deeply into your partners eyes, find your safe place and show me the love babe!

And I mean real love, not 'this is for our minted save-the-dates' love. Forget theres a camera there, bear hug each other, play with each other, chase each other, whisper secrets in each others ears, act like goofy teenagers in love, grab each others face, for crying out louddddd: kiss without me having to prompt you (seriously, i really shouldn't have to do this and its awkward). Wrap each other up and then close your eyes and listen to the wind, admire each others hands and body parts, there's no one here but us chickens! Cuddle under a cute blanket, take a walk, grab butts, have a pillow fight in your bed, help me bring life to your photos by bringing your real selves and your real love to your session.

Give me feeling.

Give me emotion.

Show me how much you love each other. Photographers all over the world are begging you to do this.

This ain't Sears portraits y'all! Move around, dance, play, make people jealous, throw your hands in the air if you don't know what to do with them!

The more you interact with each other on your own, the less your photographer has to direct you to do something different. Don't be so worried about not wanting to be 'pose-y' that you end up with stiff, unfulfilling, lifeless images. Trust your photographer when they prompt you to put your hand here or look over there, and let them do what they do too.

Kill the act

Dont just 'act' like you want to be at your photo session, that is like the ultimate buzz kill for everyone involved. Really want to be there and we'll all have fun. You don't expect your photographer to take photos like they're a robot, so we don't expect you to be robots either.

Also, and this is just my own personal preference, come with a positive mind and heart. Negative talks about our bodies, our "good sides", "Im too...", "Im not....." "I don't look like..." "Can you photoshop...." all that should be left in the car. You're beautiful and thats the end of it. Everything's fine. Thanks in advance for loving yourself.

Oh, and to answer the actual question: do whatever the hell you want with your hands.

Except put them on your hips. There's better things to do with them. Tara and Andrew here can help ya out if you need further explanation :)

Kelley RayeComment