Whether you're comfortable in front of a camera, or your instinct is to run full speed away from all lenses, an engagement photoshoot is truly ideal prior to your wedding.

Building a connection between you and the photographer is vital. Allowing an opportunity for the photographer to learn what angles, lighting, and verbal ques work best for you is quite important for achieving great images. Doing so during the wedding day isn't ideal since there's so much going on already. So, developing this connection while taking your engagement images is best.

Poses will come more naturally if a couple feels at ease, and that should be key.

Trying to learn specific poses is a very unnatural way to approach wedding and engagement portraits. What I have found works best for couples is strengthening their ability to feel comfortable together in the public arena. Poses will come more naturally if a couple feels at ease, and thus, that should be key.

Most couples move and interact fluidly when not placed on center stage. Yet as soon as they feel the spotlight is on them, one or both will quickly turn into the most awkward version of themselves. At that point, they become incapable of moving like a human, and instead evoke a primitive robotic counterpart.

Practicing how to feel comfortable together will make things flow smoothly during your wedding.

After your engagement shoot you’ll end up with images you can use on your save-the-date invitations, and to post online, and even print, but that’s not the only agenda of your engagement shoot. Practicing how to feel comfortable together will make things flow smoothly during the wedding. This should be the focus of the engagement shoot.

Through your engagement shoot you can learn how to interact with your partner in a way that will help achieve much more natural images.

During engagement shoots, I like to address things such as how to ideally posture yourselves way while not taking away from your ability to naturally be affectionate. The following is a list of things I feel is necessary to address during your engagement shoot. Doing so well greatly improve your images then, and during your wedding.

Your couple statement

What kind of couple are you? Do you love having fun and being silly? Are you adventure enthusiasts want to show off your interest? Whatever it is that you both love doing together, having it come across in your images will add both interest and a sense of comfort you're already familiar with.

Affection should be real

Staging a kiss or a hug can make for a great image, but when it does happen, it should be real. Close your eyes, embrace, think of why you love each other, and enjoy the moment. Faking it for the camera shows and looks pretty stale. Not exactly the message you want to send out while expressing your love for each other!

Foot and hip positioning

Take notice of how you position your feet while standing around on a daily basis. You probably wont ever find yourself with your feet exactly together, or exactly apart at equal distance from the center-line of your body. When taking photos, try to position yourself in a comfortable stance. Relax your hips a bit and shift your weight to one side as you normally would. It looks much better in images, because it’s a more natural way of standing.

Walking hand in hand

Yes, even walking hand in hand can be awkward if you think too much about it. Remember, it’s all about staying loose and relaxed. There should be a natural swing in your arms. Keep a bit of distance from each other, but just enough that it feels right to you both. I’ve seen stiff elbows and wrists that look very robotic, and too much or too little distance between couples, which looks odd. Keep it natural.

Enjoying the environment

I like to remind couples to really embrace the environment where they’re doing their images. It’s much more fun and interesting to see real reactions to their surroundings. It evokes playfulness, wonder, and spontaneity. All great things!

Relaxing the joints

How often do you sit around with any of your joints locked out and stiff? Straight fingers, elbows, knees? Unless you have a very specific reason to do so, you’re most likely relaxing every joint in your body, at least a little. That’s exactly what you should aim to do during your engagement and wedding photos. The more you can bring the natural world into your images, the better they’ll look.

Learn how to interact with your partner in a way that will help achieve much more natural images.

Your wedding will be busy, and your mind will be divided equally among many varying things, so learning poses and having expectations that you’ll get very specific images isn’t an ideal outlook. However, through your engagement shoot you can learn how to interact with your partner in a way that will help achieve much more natural images.