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  • Writer's pictureMadison Neumann

How to Prepare for Your First Couple's Photo Session / Engagement Session

As a wedding and couple's photographer I hear it in about 90% of my phone calls and client meetings, "we've never had our photo taken before". Typically followed by "is that okay?" or "we are just so awkward". My responses are always the same, that is totally okay, I have a ton of experience with couple's feeling exactly the same, and it is my goal to make you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. For a lot of couple's their engagement session is the first time they are getting professional photos taken together, but whether you're preparing for engagement photos, celebrating an occasion with some photos, or doing a photoshoot just because here are my tips to entering your session feeling fully prepared.

Engaged couple stand together in a blue sweater and white dress with black ribbon. They hold hands in the middle of the street of Philadelphia. They are surrounded by historic philly row homes and trees with twinkle lights. Taken by Philadelphia wedding photographer Madison Neumann Photography,

Start with a photographer who's work you really love

Photographers have so many outlets to share their work now: their websites, blogs, social media. Taking the time to look through a photographer's work before booking can play a huge role in having a positive first time photo experience. You can start to envision the photos you'll get back and if you love your photographers work you'll start to get excited leading up to the session. Being truly excited about the photoshoot sets a great tone to begin with.

*Additional tip: if your photographer has a session or any photos that you particularly love let them know ahead of time to establish the vibe you're going for!

Let your photographer know its your first session

While its extremely common to be getting photos together for the first time, make sure you let your photographer know! As a photographer, its good to keep in mind so you can check in throughout the session.

Engaged couple sits together on a bench behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art overlooking the river. They wear a grey suit and blue dress and are holding hands and looking at one another. Taken by Philly wedding photographer Madison Neumann Photography.

Select a location you feel comfortable at

As I mentioned above, a huge concern I often hear is that couple's feel like they're awkward, whether in general or in front of the camera. A great photographer will do their part in guiding you through you session to ease some of the awkwardness, but the location is the first step in making you feel your most comfortable. If you're feeling shy you may not want to do your session in a really crowded or public space. Selecting a location that you know can help you feel comfortable, or ask your photographer for some suggestions on more secluded spaces. The date and time you choose can also play a factor. This is a huge benefit of doing shoots during the week, because popular locations often have a lot less foot traffic than they would on the weekends.

Engaged couple sits together on a bench behind a pond in Central Park's Conservatory Gardens in NYC. They are wearing a blue floral dress and white and grey outfit and are sitting closely together. Taken by Philadelphia wedding photographer Madison Neumann Photography.

Select outfits you feel your best in ahead of time

What you wear to your photoshoot can really set the tone for your photographs. That being said, selecting coordinating outfits can often cause some anxious feelings leading up to your session. Don't be afraid to ask your photographer for insight, especially after your location is chosen. They may be able to suggest color palettes, etc. that would look great in the space. For the clothes themselves, you want to feel like your absolute best. If you enjoy dressing up, pull out all the stops for your session. But if you're more comfortable in a dressed down outfit, don't be afraid to opt for something more casual. You may even want to go for an outfit change halfway through to get the best of both worlds!

*An additional tip: if you're wearing uncomfortable shoes for the photos, bring an easy pair to slip into as you walk between photo spots!

Engaged couple stand together in front of a vintage electric blue Ford truck. The truck is parked in front of the water in Batsto, NJ. Taken by NJ wedding photographer Madison Neumann Photography.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare

Preparing for a photo session takes some time! From doing hair and makeup to getting dressed to making sure you have something to eat and drink before you, go preparation can take quite a few hours. In addition to getting ready things may happen on your drive that could result in lateness: accidents, rush hour. Feeling like your rushing around or running late can cause a lot of stressful feelings and that's the last thing you want as you enter your photo session. I always recommend accounting for a few hours to get ready and arriving early and walking around a bit, grabbing a bite in the area, etc. so you're feeling your best going into your photos.


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