Today’s  guest post, brought to us by Emily Chappell Photography, is full of great ideas for having a fun and relaxed engagement shoot. Enjoy!

Congratulations, brides-to-be! You’re recently engaged, you’ve hired a wedding photographer, and now you’re gearing up to take your engagement photos! This is such a sweet season of life and a wonderful opportunity for you to learn how your photographer operates behind the camera before the wedding day. I imagine you’re super excited to get some awesome images taken of you and your fiancée – except, maybe he’s not entirely into it. In fact, maybe your groom-to-be has expressed his absolute DREAD regarding your upcoming engagement session! Rest easy – this is not uncommon! Many guys tend to shy away from the idea of having their photo taken, especially by someone they don’t know all that well! Having been a wedding photographer for several years, I’ve learned some measures that you can take in order to help ease your guy’s fears and concerns, and ultimately help him loosen up at your engagement session!

Read the full post after the cut!

Include Your Groom On The Connection

Something I stress over and over to potential couples is connection! You want to be sure that both you AND your groom jive well with the photographer you’d like to hire. If you schedule a pre-booking consult, try your best to bring your groom along. This will give him the opportunity to get to know the photographer in advance, which will make him feel more comfortable at the engagement session. Encourage him to ask any questions and really involve him on the process. Guys like to joke that they just want to “show up” on the day of their engagement session or wedding, but I really don’t think this is true! By allowing your groom to learn about the person who is potentially going to be documenting the biggest day of their lives, many of the reasons for the nerves are completely eliminated in advance!

Look At Engagement Sessions Together – Get Inspired!

Another great way to help your fiancée to feel more comfortable taking photos is to do a little bit of photographic research! Once you hire the photographer whose work and personality you love, dive headfirst into their portfolio, blog, and social media and start reviewing past engagement sessions together. Ask your groom to point out which photos speak most to him, and why. For example, I have found that guys really tend to lean toward more candid, natural images because they tend to look effortless. This may be different from a bride who loves romantic, kissing photos and plenty of smiling (and yes, it is possible to get a healthy balance in your engagement session!) As you get super familiar with his preferences, you’ll not only be able to communicate what you both like to your photographer, but your groom will also have an idea of what to expect at the engagement session.

Let The Photographer Do The Posing

One reason a lot of grooms show up at an engagement session with lots of nervousness is that they feel completely clueless as to how they should pose! My advice to help your groom feel more comfortable in your engagement photos is to assure him that the photographer will handle all of the posing. They will also ensure that the posing appears natural and flattering so that you will both look your best! Tell your groom that all he needs to do is bring his best self to the engagement session and be ready to follow prompts – from there, the poses will start to flow naturally and the candid, interactive poses will simply unfold!

Flirt With One Another – A Lot!

A really fun way to help your groom loosen up for engagement photos is to really amp up the flirting! Have fun and take the opportunity to be playful and laugh together. Trust me, it looks awesome on camera! Try to encourage your groom to focus on the two of you just and forget about the camera (sometimes easier said than done, I know!). Compliment him and feel free to show some PDA, if you are both comfortable! By the way, flirting doesn’t have to be just physical – you can joke and banter with one another, too!

Side note – I once had a groom tell me that he was initially really nervous about his engagement session. However, a newly married buddy of his told him that “engagement sessions are the best!” When pressed further, this friend elaborated that basically, “you get an hour to be all up on your girl – what could be better than that?” I LOVE this!

Don’t Force It!

The most important piece of advice to help your groom feel more comfortable with engagement photos is to tell him not to force it! There’s nothing worse than getting your images back and literally seeing your nervousness jump off the photo at you! Although you’ll want to smile for a good percentage of your engagement photos, tell him to feel free to relax for some. Hear me out – I am not giving you permission to mean mug the camera! However, you can definitely tell him that he can soften his expression every now and then to whatever feels more natural – especially when you’re focusing on more candid moments!

In Closing – Relax and Have Fun!

As someone who photographs couples in love for a living, I completely understand the nervousness that can come along with taking engagement photos. It isn’t every day that we have someone documenting our every move and gesture on camera. By implementing the suggestions outlined above, you can bet that you’ll help your groom feel much more confident going into your engagement session! This is such a wonderful season of life that deserves to be photographed beautifully, so I encourage you both to just relax, have fun, and get excited to spend some one-on-one time together amidst all of the crazy wedding planning!

Emily Chappell is one of the premiere wedding photographers in Dallas and photographs weddings all across the United States as well as internationally. When she’s not capturing the beauty and joy of a wedding day or engagement session, you can find her at home in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two small children. Emily enjoys approaching her business relationally, building authentic connections with each couple she photographs for honest, natural images. To learn more about Emily Chappell Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile.