5 tips to help navigate your engagement photoshoot

Image via Adriana Valásquez

1. Decide if you really want a photographer present at the moment of proposal Yes, those viral 'proposal moment' images are so utterly awe inspiring that you might find yourself tagging your partner in the post with a generic comment like "I want it like this". But do you actually? Proposing or being proposed too is a moment of sheer terror, excitement, love, and did I say terror? Even if you know it's coming, in the moment your reaction could be unpredictable (think ugly happy crying or an excitement induced panic attack). It also means that in this extremely intimate moment, your partners focus mightn't be entirely on you as they're trying to discreetly ensure the tog is in an optimal position. The point is, really think about what suits you and your partner over this fairy tale 'happily ever after' illusion. Irregardless of if it's captured or not, it's going to be an extremely beautiful and important moment of your relationship, and the people who love you will enjoy hearing it just as much as seeing it. 2. Find a photographer that does no wrong in your eyes I heard this saying in regards to tattoo artists, and think it's completely applicable here too. Much like ink under the skin, these photos will become a permanent reminder of what's commonly referred to as one of the happiest moments of your life. So spend a little more time (and if possible, money) to ensure you are happy with the entire body of work your photographer has produced. If the budget doesn't allow you to go for your top choice, make the photographer you are hiring aware of what work of theirs you are most drawn too. This allows them to understand the photography style, or editing type you're interested in. 3. Think about how you and your partner will interact in front of the camera As much as we like to believe everything will just come naturally and in the moment, unless you have a background in modeling, the act of a professional taking your photos will not feel this way. The most normal part of the whole experience is the intimacy between you and your partner, so take some time in front of a mirror to see how that looks. Play around with poses, and get a feel for what looks natural and flattering for you both. That way on the day you can collaborate with the photographer, and get photos you're happy with. 4. If all else fails, just laugh So you've met the photographer and the photoshoot is under way - but the photographer isn't very good at directing you, the posing you practiced feels all off (not to mention very uncomfortable), and passers by are watching. Take a deep breath. Look at your partner, and laugh it off. The familiarity of laughing with the one you love will instantly create a sense of intimacy in the photos, and create positive memories that'll go along with them. 5. Accept that not every photo you're going to receive will be flattering Through social media we are filtered to see only a photographers highly concentrated, top quality body of work. You know the images I'm talking about - the beautiful couple on a mountain top. Her dress perfectly fanned by the wind, his chino's cuffed just right. Think about how many shots were taken to get that just right. Or better yet, think about the frenzied Snapchat selfie sessions you've taken trying to look effortlessly cute in the dog filter. Unlike the hundreds upon thousands of sketches an artist would make to prepare for their final piece, a photographers extensive experience needs to be put into practise with you right then and there. Behind the lens they are in control of how the location, lighting and creating the perception of intimacy shoots on camera. But they aren't in control of the insecurities that you harbour. Here is my unwritten rule - In a package of 150 images, be prepared to realistically only love a handful of them. Even models don't look flattering in every image a professional photographer takes, so don't be too hard on yourself when the image suite isn't completely how you hoped they'll be. I promise that no matter the outcome, you'll still treasure them down the track.

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