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Expert Tips on How to Have the Perfect Engagement Photo Shoot

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Noukee of Tinge Photography is sharing her expert tips on how to make the most of your couples photography session––whether that be for your engagement, anniversary, or for just plain fun!
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It’s easy to take for granted how incredible something so common as a photograph can be- to have access to a device that with one click, a part of time is instantly frozen, thus allowing you to look at that unique moment whenever you want. In a lot of ways, photos are the closest thing we have to time travel. 

You don't agree? Well, just picture an older couple, blessed with many decades of love shared between them, matured and satisfied in their years together. Their possessions came and went, houses bought and sold, destinations already explored- so much of their lives have been temporary! The things they spent their time, money and energy on.. well, just aren’t there anymore.

So does that mean that they don’t have anything to show for it, save for just the memories? No, thankfully. There is almost always at least ONE thing constant among all of these older couples, still in love. It’s what you find hanging on the wall, so lovingly-placed there. Framed on the bookshelf. On the coffee table. In the kitchen...

...the photos!

They still remain, enduring through time. It’s these precious images that take us back to that special place in time and show who we loved, where we loved them, and often why we loved them during the years that we lived together on this planet.

These images seem to naturally reveal something about us that thousands of words fail to express. They bring back those special moments of the past, and who from our journey through life still mean the world to us, right down to this day. When we look back on that magic locked in a photo from exactly when it happened, it’s as if we’re suddenly back there in time, experiencing once again those tender kisses, those warm embraces or those funny moments that show why we love that special someone so dear to our heart. We see it- and feel it- once again.

Nothing else takes us back quite like a photo does. So yeah, photos are still the closest thing to time travel. Told you! Does that mean all photos just magically capture those transcendent moments and feelings automatically? Of course not. We know it doesn’t just inevitably occur each and every time that the shutter button is pressed. Just like an unforgettable meal, you get only what you put in to it.

So let’s take a look at the essential ingredients to a successful couple's photo session (and why you need them): 

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1. LOCATION
Not a surprise, but often taken for granted. Why? Because they are called COUPLES photos! Many reason, “Shouldn’t it just us two? Photos all about those longing gazes, heartfelt smiles, etc.?” Those are important, of course. But what’s being portrayed in the photo to tell your unique story? That’s where location comes in- it frames you as a couple and provides the backdrop to give life and vitality to your photos, even giving them a specific tone or mood. Often settings containing more dramatic, exotic or beautiful characteristics will help produce images that you just can’t wait to sprinkle throughout your home.

Another great tip is to include a location that is special to you or holds a specific meaning for you as a couple. Capturing your images together in a place that played an important part in your history together can make for a greater story to tell.

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2. DETAILS
What you are portraying together as a couple can be brought to life by simple details incorporated into the photo session. Often basic things, like what style and color of clothes that each of you are wearing, and how it matches- or contrasts- with the location and setting can make for a more elaborate narrative to be spun.

Other details, such the types and tones of flowers selected for a bouquet can greatly influence the feel and impression that your photos will produce in anyone who views them.

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3. PHOTOGRAPHER
You know the saying, “Dance like no one is watching?" When you’re dancing, you’re kind of putting yourself on the spot, showcasing something that’s somewhat personal- in this case, you moving your body to the music and rhythm. Having a photographer capture and highlight the various facets of your relationship, your unique dynamic together is just as personal as how it feels to have others watch you move to the rhythm of a song.

So you can think of your photographer as the dance partner of your couple’s photo session- they need to be someone you jive with, someone who makes you feel relaxed and comfortable- this can help you let them take the lead and trust the direction they take things... again, so much like dancing. And just like dancing, it should be fun and enjoyable! It’s not a stressful performance, it’s an opportunity for you two to be yourselves, naturally and sincerely, allowing your photographer to document your distinct story.

So make sure your photographer understands who you really are as a couple and what you are looking to capture in your couple’s photo session. Kind of like a good dance partner, you’ll get a feeling pretty quickly as to whether it’s gonna click with them... or not.

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4. A RELAXED COUPLE THAT WANTS TO HAVE FUN AT THEIR SESSION
This point was touched on in the three previous points, but because it’s so important it merits its own point. No matter how spectacular the location, how enchanting the details are and how well you get along with your photographer- if you’re not letting your guard down to have fun and explore where this special day takes you together, the photos are going to fall short of what you were hoping for.

You probably are familiar with how great a smile is from your special someone when they are genuinely happy, like when you went for the first time together to the beach on that perfect July day; as opposed to when they had to force one, like for that picture of that dinner with your great Aunt Gertrude and her six cats. Approaching the photo session with a positive, enthusiastic spirit will transmit into what the camera captures: the photos that reveal the true beauty of who you are as couple.

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PHOTO EXAMPLES:
Let’s take a look at the results of a couple’s photo session that turned out to be exactly what they wanted: a beautiful demonstration of who they are as a couple and what makes their love special.

Captured in this session were Sean and Alayet, wandering together beneath the trees and through the water. As you look at these photos, you can feel the life and love around them and within them- the photographer really got them as a couple and knew how to capture it. Immediately, the right setting is evident in the success of this photo session- the land and sea surrounding Duluth, Minn. combine rare and beautiful qualities; the rugged hostility of rock and waves tempered with the soft vitality and vibrancy of the forest, ferns and moss. This setting made for a unique opportunity to capture the many tones and textures of their love.

Notice how the photographer was able to capture in these images their companionship and fondness for one another while hiking the trails, Sean being spellbound by Alayet's enchanting beauty. Because they were comfortable and clicked with her as a photographer, it allowed them to be themselves, as they naturally are together. This let them manifest their true inner-connection, allowing it to be captured in these photos. You could feel their warmth and playfulness but also see the tenderness and intimacy between them while in each other’s arms, just the two of them concealed beneath the leaves of the towering trees that surrounded them.

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The photographer captured how he just couldn’t take his eyes away from hers, she being the essence of beauty to him. And her natural allure was complimented by a bouquet of wild, unruly flowers courtesy of Wisteria Design Studio of Minneapolis, Minn: the soft greens, muted oranges and deep burgundies of the leaves and petals all came together to compliment her caramelly-brown complexion and her champagne-pink dress.

It's clear how the setting and details really set off a story being told: Amidst the cool, clear waters of Lake Superior, she basked in the deep tranquility of his love, feeling warm and safe in his embrace.

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Can you see how all of these elements came together to capture their many sides and facets as a couple? Again, to reiterate point number four: part of why it worked so well is that they were up for having a fun day of adventure together with their photographer: Sean and Alayat had their hiking gear ready, embracing whatever came their way. They packed along lunch and different changes of clothes, depending on the setting and what mood or emotions they were looking to invoke. They even backpacked in quite a ways to get to the more dramatic, often isolated locations in order to really give their photos a backdrop that just seems to match their spirit as a couple perfectly.

All of these elements came together to highlight their love, allowing it to stand out and giving them something to show for their many years together; something that will endure the test of time.

And speaking of engagement photos, here are some outfit ideas as you're trying to figure out what to wear for your engagement session.

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Ready to book a session with Tinge Photography? Don't forget to mention Forever Brides when signing up because you'll receive $200 off your wedding photos! More details here.

Photographer // Tinge Photography

Freelance Copywriter // Evan Postier

Design Studio // Wisteria Design Studio

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