This past weekend, I had an engagement session that could not have gone any better. We had fun and captured some great shots. Great portrait sessions don’t happen on accident, though, and here are the top 5 ways to make sure your session is everything you dreamed of.

  1. The consultation. I did a post about the importance of a consultation at the end of 2015. Check it out! Hopefully, your photographer offers a consultation as part of the package. Seriously people, do the consultation! This is your best opportunity to visit with your photographer. During the consultation you can both discuss important aspects of the shoot: location, style, poses, special permission (if applicable) to use a location. The more your photographer knows about your needs and desires for your portraits, the better she will be able to prepare for your picture day. Many photographers use this opportunity to actually book the shoot. This is a great time to talk money with your photographer, too! Make sure you are both clear on how much the session will be and when this fee is due.
  2. Do your homework. Chances are, you have an idea about how you want your pictures to look. Maybe you have been saving pins to your “I’m Finally Engaged” Pinterest board for years. Either way, having some pictures to show your photographer helps a lot! Photographers tend to be very visual people, show ’em a picture!
  3. Be realistic! Understand, if you love a picture because it was on the beach, you have to have a beach to recreate that. I have had requests for pictures with a backdrop of an old barn, that rustic, faded wood look. It is popular for sure. But, without a barn like that, or at least a manufactured backdrop depicting the scene, you are out of luck. It is surprisingly hard to find an old barn, and I live in Texas, in cattle country.
  4. Be flexible. Your photographer can not control things like the weather or the cloud cover. If it is windy on the day of your shoot and you know your hair is going to be a mess, compromise. Try a style with your hair up rather than down. Embrace the wind blown look! Pictures with hair blowing, a dress blown backwards with the wind, trees whipping, they can be dramatic pictures. Another option, and this one is dependent upon your photographer, you could reschedule. Obviously, a down pour is not ideal for pictures, in most cases, so just pick another day!
  5. Be prepared. My clients last weekend were prepared for their pictures as soon as they showed up on location. They knew, generally, the look they were going for and they had pictures to show me. They knew they were in for a few hours of picture taking and they were such wonderful subjects! I did not hear one complaint about smiling, posing or cameras! We, photographers, know portrait sessions can be awkward but we don’t have to hear about it from a grumpy fiancee! If you are having portraits done, come ready for portraits to be taken!

Your photographer wants you to be happy with your session just as much as you want it to go well! We want to have fun with you! You can help us out immensely by following these five steps. You can have the pictures of your dreams, but you have to help make those dreams come true!