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8 tips to make your engagement shoot awesome

I know. You're kinda nervous. You think you'll be super awkward in front of the camera, and you're already wondering "what am I supposed to do with my hands?!" Maybe you're even scared you're going to look like Chandler in that one episode of FRIENDS in which he has the weirdest, most awkward smile every time the camera pops up. Don't worry. You won't be Chandler. I got you. Here are 8 tips to nail your engagement session.

1. PICK A LOCATION THAT REFLECTS YOU AS A COUPLE

Location is so important not because it's a focus of the shoot, but because it will help set the mood for you guys. I want us to be in a place that means something to you both, that makes you happy, and that you'll be comfortable being intimate in. If that means your home, I'm sooooo up for having a cozy at-home shoot. Those are some of my favorites. If you're real outdoorsy people, then let's take a hike at your favorite park or trail. If coffee or food is what your date nights are based on, then let's go to your favorite coffee bar or diner. You want your shoot location to make you guys shine and reflect your personality!

2. DRESS CONFIDENTLY & COMFORTABLY

When you're picking outfits for your session with me, choosing something that you feel confident but also comfortable in is key. We're going to be walking a bit (and sitting and even maybe dancing or spinning a bit) during our shoot, so you need to be dressed in something that you don't need to be fixing and tugging and straightening the whole time. And let's be real, don't pick something you feel you need to "suck it in" in. That's not where your mind should be during our shoot. No one likes to suck it in anyway!
If you buy an outfit that is new, make sure to take it out on a test run so you're sure it fits right.
But again, don't feel like you need to buy something new or fancy. Dress like yourself, be it a flowy dress or ripped jeans or a bathing suit. I'm up for it all. I want these photos to reflect you!
Also, please don't "match" with your significant other. Nothing says 1999 more than a couple with the same color shirt and jeans. Haha. Coordinate your outfits, but don't be too matchy-matchy.
Lastly, try to stay away from neon colors, and definitely stay away from clothing with words on it. It's distracting!

3. ALLOW ME TO SEE WHO YOU REALLY ARE

This is maybe the most important thing for me. I want to be able to capture your true connection, your silly little quirks, and the things that make you guys, you. My easy-going nature usually makes it easy for people to open up quickly around me, and I of course direct things so that moments can naturally happen. Still, it's awesome for you to know beforehand that I want to be a witness to your genuine, snuggly and intimate moments.

4. FORGET ME FOR A LITTLE BIT

Sometimes I like to let couples walk way ahead of me during their shoot. I like to stay afar. Forget about me. I'm not leaving you, I promise. I'm allowing you to feel like it's just the two of you, and when your focus become each other rather than "the photo shoot," magic happens.

5. JUST BRING YOURSELVES

At the beginning of our shoot, I'll ask you to hand me your keys and I'll put those in my bag till the end of the shoot. Everything else - your cell phone, your makeup bag, your purse, and all of that extra stuff - you don't need it, so please just leave it all behind at home or in your car! That makes it easier for me to photograph all the in-between moments as we're walking and talking and you're not carrying a big bag of unnecessary things.

6. MAKE THIS A DAYLONG DATE

Set aside all your errands and responsibilities for this day. I want you guys to have an awesome breakfast date, relax, maybe get a massage and have a drink (just one! haha) before our shoot. When we meet up, you'll already be in the mood to show me some love, rather than just crossing another errand off your to-do list for the day. And if you are planning on getting hair and makeup done before the shoot, make sure these appointments are out of the way well before your shoot. You don't want to be rushed and stressed out. Really - this all makes a big difference!

7. BRING THE PUP

If your dog is like family and is well-behaved, I'd love to incorporate him or her into the shoot. Doing so, I've found, makes couples feel more at-home and loving. If pup is in the picture, I ask couples to come to the shoot location a bit ahead of me so their dog can get all the smelling and territorial stuff out of the way. I also ask them to have a friend pick up Fido about 10 minutes after we start shooting so that the rest of the shoot can be focused on the couple and they're not worried about their pup. If this all sounds good, let's get some doggy kisses in this shoot!

8. GO WITH THE FLOW

If it starts sprinkling over us, if the wind messes up your hair, if you get splashed by the ocean ... just go with it. I don't want the spontaneous happenings of the day to stop the flow of the shoot. In fact .. I want them to make the shoot different and better and perfectly imperfect. So go with whatever is thrown at us on your shoot day, and keep the loving vibes going. No need to stop to fix your hair or straighten everything out. Nope. Don't be afraid to get a little messy or wet. Let's keep it real!
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