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4 Pro Tips for Authentic Engagement Photos


4 Pro Tips for Authentic Engagement Photos

I’ll get straight to it: I am in awe of the authenticity of the images I’m sharing today from Chichi and Pablo’s pre-wedding shoot at Stonehouse in Ubud, Bali. As I perused this compelling album (and got all of the feels), it really got me thinking about the difference between a pre-wedding session like this one and sessions that end up feeling a bit—shall we say—forced. Today, then, I wanted to offer up 4 helpful tips for kicking contrived to the curb and ending up with authentic engagement photos that are a true reflection of you. Read on—and get ready to lose (and then find) yourself in front of the camera.

1. Get to know your photographer beforehand.  

It’s important that the day of your shoot isn’t the very first time you’ve ever spoken with your photographer outside of email. Even if you’re unable to meet in person beforehand, hop on a call or have a virtual video chat. While many couples tend to focus on logistics when they shop photographers (how much they cost, how many hours of coverage they include, what their portfolio looks like), the more important thing is connection. Do you feel comfortable in their presence? Do you “click” with them? Do they make you feel at-ease and natural, or does your conversation feel awkward and forced? These are all incredibly important questions to consider—espeically if you’re camera shy

2. Stay true to you.

If you’d never, ever wear a dress in everyday life, who says you have to wear one for your engagement or pre-wedding photos? The most authentic engagement photos come as a result of a couple feeling comfortable while the camera was clicking away. If your outfit is uncomfortable, if your heels are excruciating, if you opted for a hair-and-makeup look that makes you feel nothing like yourself, or if you’re forcing a pose or glance that just isn’t at all how you’d behave in everyday life—the discomfort will show through in the final images. (I promise.) Worry less about achieving the perfect pout or making a major fashion statement and more about what you need to wear, do, and exude in order to feel like your most authentic self.

3. Lose yourself in your surroundings.

As a luxury wedding planner for destination celebrations in Africa and beyond, I cannot overstate the importance of setting. Your surroundings have everything to do with your emotions and attitude. Choose a locale that’s comfortable and compelling for the two of you—and then strive to take it all in as the camera clicks away. Focus on the textures, colors, and smells at your fingertips—rather than the lens in front of your face.

4. Take a deep breath and reconnect right before you shoot.

From traveling to your shoot location to having your hair and makeup done, you’ll likely be moving at a bit of a fast pace as you get ready for your session. It’s incredibly important, then, that you realign your energy, recenter yourself, and reconnect as a couple before you’re in front of the camera. Once you’re on location and ready for your shoot, take a few minutes away from the photographer to take a deep breath, look in each other’s eyes, and shake the overwhelm. The peace you tap into will be palpable in the final photos. 

Seeking some inspiration for authentic engagement photos? Look no further than this endlessly organic shoot…

Until next time, stay well. stay inspired, and happy planning!

Photography Credits:
Stepan Vrzala |

Contact Exalt Africa for more details or to discuss your upcoming wedding.

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