May 8, 2023
Do you want natural engagement photos (in Sudbury, Ontario) that are unique to your couple essence?
Do you want photos that are an honest representation of everything that your love is? Even the playful eyeroll you give your partner when they spit their ‘dad’ jokes?
Yah, I get it.
Real talk, if you wish your photos looked different from your bestie that got married last summer, stop using the same over done locations that everyone in your town uses! Stop picking locations based on popularity! Stop doing the same poses (the ones you see on Pinterest) that are so controlled that they are bound to only result in the same outcome and similar photos and stop looking to someone else to tell you how to live your life… err I mean, how to stand, where to put your hands and when to kiss!
Sorry, it had to be said (and so do the other real talk things I will be saying below)!
Releasing an audible sigh.
Shaking the body.
Clearing the energy.
AHH, okay, that is better!
Now! Let’s get to the nitty gritty of how to nail photos that scream this is who we fucking are and this is how we love!
Tip 1 –
Before choosing to do a session, ask yourself why? And no, ‘because I need a photo of the two of us for *fill in blank here’ is not an acceptable answer.
Pull back the layers of why you really want to do this session because anyone can take a decent photo of people looking at the camera and saying cheese with their phone these days, so why not save yourself the $$$ if this is all you really want. (Any fellow photographer reading this, please don’t come for me!)
But if it’s not, go a little deeper into the why.
Is it the opportunity to step outside of your everyday life and play pretend? Or maybe that thought actually makes you cringe?
Is it the opportunity to be guided into yourself, into your partner and to connect on a deep level than you knew existed?
Maybe you know this type of connect is possible but you just don’t have time to spend connecting in this space with one another regularly because of how busy life is? (I get it, adulting is not what they make it out to be! Who knew having to meal plan would take up so much time!)
Do you so deeply crave deeper, meaningful connections?
Do you want to bring an element of play and laughter into a session so you can cut loose and let the stresses of everyday life slip away?
Do you want killer imagery that is both art and a true representation of your love story AND it’s something you can post all over your socials, your walls and share with all your fav humans?
Whatever the reason is. This is step one. Define the why because you will need it for tip two.
(Ps. I know you didn’t come here to do work, but I also know that you will be thanking yourself when you have memories you can look back on every day and feel all the feels all over again.)
Tip 2 – Time to find a photographer
Remember that why you defined in step one?
Well it’s time to use that to find your dream photographer!
Your why + your values + your preferred style = the perfect match!
(Extra tip – This is the case when finding any business to work with! No matter the service or product!)
Let’s dive a little bit into values first. Like any human out there, I’m sure you have values you hold near and dear to your heart. For me it’s affirming inclusivity, connection and spirituality. To me values are the things we don’t wavier on. They are the pieces that help build the core of who we are.
Now I could have said personality traits but the reason I didn’t is because people can ‘show up’ differently with everyone they meet. They can become a chameleon to suit the situation they are in. (No shame in this. I use to be a pro chameleon myself.) But this can only be done to a point, one thing that will never change about them is their values. If you have a strong opinion, most will not waiver on it. Anti vs Pro anything, it is hard to hide and most don’t want to hide it, they will scream it from the roof top (like me, I never shut up about the things that I value most).
Finding a photographer that has similar values to you will help them understand your why! It will help them know you and will build a bond so this person may not only be a service provider for you but a friend. (Being in front of a camera can be.. well.. gulp.. intimidating, so why not hire someone you get on with right from the get go?)
Now let’s chat about preferred style.
What do I even mean why I say style.
Do you prefer a bright and airy, moody and dark, vintage, classic, true colours, muted tones?
I know some of these terms aren’t ones you may be familiar with so think of the style you have in your home. What colours are you drawn to? What is your vibe in life?
Do you love the nostalgic feel of records, muted tones, old film 4×6 photos, Volkswagen vans? Were you a boho hippy in a past life? OR are you Chanel, classic, true blacks, bright whites, clean lines, minimalistic and love empty space?
Maybe you are somewhere in between.
And then there is the style of the actually photo, posed vs not posed. Do you like the blurry retro look a lot of photographers are doing or do you prefer clean images?
Now when searching for a photographer, put all three of these together and BAM, dream photographer!
(Extra tip 2, don’t get stuck on the photographer’s location when looking, many will travel for a fee. And I know the thought of spending more money may take you into a spiralling loop of how you can’t afford it but let me paint this picture for you; You find a photographer you love but the price is ‘so out of your budget’ so you find someone inside of your budget ‘that will do’ and when you get your images back, you like them but they don’t speak to your heart and now you are wishing that you would have spent the extra 200, 300, or even 500 dollars to get images you that make you well up with tears because of how perfect they are. Sometimes the cheaper option isn’t the better option.)
Location, Location, Location!
There 3 things I suggest taking into consideration when choosing the location for your session beyond the typical inside vs outside question.
1. What is your vibe and what vibe do you want for your session (Bring back your why from tip one, it may influence your answer)? Do you want it to be fun and easy going? Do you want it to be intimate? Are you okay with people being around (potentially strangers)?
2. Where do you two spend the most time together? Or is there a place that holds meaning to you two as a couple or to one of you? Your bed? An ice cream shop? Your family’s camp? A hiking trail?
3. What activities do you enjoy doing the most together? Snuggling in bed? Playing video games? Going for walks with your fur child? Doing anything, anywhere as long as you are together? Exploring nature? Meditating?
I’m not a math wiz but I do know one thing 1+2+3 = magic!
Yes magic, or better yet, one step closer to natural engagement photos (in Sudbury, Ontario) that scream who you two are!
Tip 4 –
I know that sounds easy but being in front of a camera can be hard. You may clam up and worry what you ‘should’ be doing. You may look to your photographer for direction but lucky for you, any good photographer has a way to ease you through this. For me I preplan an environment for you to thrive in. With the help of things that are familiar, from the location to the sounds and even sometimes smells. All of these things can carry you and keep you present, if you let them. One thing I find that 99% of the time does help couples is to focus on one another and not so much on yourself. This session can be anything you want it to be. There is no one way for things to go. It is when someone tries to control and is worried about being ‘perfect’ that they get stuck and look awkward.
Extra tip – When all else fails, take a shot or even a micro-dose before the session! (Just keep in mind that red eye aren’t that easy to fix in post!
Tip 5 –
Let go and trust!
So you found your why, you found your dream photographer, you choose a location that represents your couple essence and makes you feel safe. You did a pre session meditation to prepare you to stay present and be yourself, now what?
LET GO and free fall into the hands of your photographer!
You hired this person for a reason, the only thing left to do it to trust. Trust that they are well versed in what they do and they have got you. They are there to provide a safe space for you to just be and enjoy the experience. If you feel yourself tensing and starting to loop in but how do I look, instead focus on, how do I feel?! Right now, in this moment, what am I feeling? When I look at my partner, what am I feeling? When my partner touches my arm, my shoulder, my face, how does it feel?! What is the feeling I am experiencing in my body, nerves? GREAT! Nerves are part of being a human. It’s the meaning we attach to nerves that will trip you up. So embrace the nerves, look at your partner and get lost in their eyes.
This will help keep your present in the moment and allow you to follow the guidance of your photographer.
Last but not least, trust in YOURSELF! Get out of your head and into your heart! Flow!
Psstt… Don’t forget to share these 5 tips for nailing natural engagement photos by a Sudbury wedding photographer with a friend!