1. Intro
  2. Homework
  3. Preparedness = Confidence
  4. On the day of the shoot
  5. Breaking the Ice
  6. Warmed up


I get it.

He's anxious, he wished he'd worked out, he's never had his photos taken before, she's breaking out, she's feeling "cold feet," "we don't usually do this" I've heard it all.

People focus on themselves, having too much thought about hand placements, where to look, should I smile or not smile. Don't let it make it complicated!

My clients MUST haves;

  • It has to feel candid and real
  • Not a lot of posing
  • Need a strong direction
  • Make them feel comfortable
  • Have fun

Here's a list of what to focus on the day of the shoot.

II. Homework

Stop and Admire.

This day, it's all about you. STOP worrying about me, the photographer, or the people passing by, or anyone in your mind.

The person that you should be focusing on is right in front of you. Look into their eyes, if you see a strand of hair, admire it. Admire the make up, the hair, dress, the ring. Feel each others skin and fingertips. How crazy it is to have someone photograph you in public.

Check if the collar is crooked. Dust any lint or speck of dandruff.

How do you kiss him/her? Do you put your hands on their jaw or arms around their neck?

The window to their soul

Look into their eyes. What color are they? Blue, Green. Black? do they have a mixed shade? do they have small spec as if it was brushed accidentally?

What does it make you want to kiss them? or have an eye staring contest?

Do they have freckles that you love?

Look at their lips do they smile a certain way when they're shy or excited? Do they thin out when they smile?


Preparedness = Confidence

Being prepared is key to confidence. No matter what field I am in, whether it be in a school, laboratory, travel, the key to confidently take the first step is preparation. This is the same thing as going on a date and especially when going to be in front of the camera.

I have covered this in my other sections of my blog about being prepared and how it can affect your photos. But if you're that person whose never prepared, and has a way of instilling confidence, good on ya!

This means; doing a little bit of research of how engagements usually go. Walking around downtown Wilmington in the afternoon and day dream about having a photo taken there.

Getting a quick hair cut, brushing your teeth(because you'll be kissing her/him, a lot.) Getting new clothes or shopping at your local thrift stores.


On the day of the shoot

Hype yourselves up by listening to your favorite songs. Drink a beer or shot at a local bar/brewery, look for dad jokes online, look for a movie line that you both enjoy, pull something that will make them laugh, or tell a story about your day but tell it backwards, talk about the honeymoon.

Where are they going to spend it on? If this doesn't work, you didn't do your homework, it's time for me to pull out the BIG GUNS. Here are some of the phrases that I use to break the ice.


Breaking the ice

So you show up and you're frozen, you're a natural introvert and really don't know what to do.

Firstly, I want to compliment my couples with their dress, shoes.

I'll ask about their day and if there are any shots that they'd like to focus on such as the rings, flowers, maybe they'd brought some props and they want to incorporate those in their session.

We'd walk around the area and typically I've already visited the location before setting up my session as it helps me compose my subjects in my frame.

Establishing shot

This is where I'd carry a wide angle shot of them that shows the background.

"go ahead and face each other"

and ask them

"look into each others eyes"

"if you want to do a staring contest, do that, if they lose they'd have to kiss them"

"wrap your arms around their neck, slowly move in closer, and touch each others nose, but don't kiss, not just yet"

Close ups

I'd walk towards them and photograph an upward angle to isolate the subjects and remove distractions from the background

Photograph their kiss, eyes, neck, hands, engagement rings, arms

"Go ahead and whisper a joke or something into his ear"


"what his/her favorite desserts"


"whats your favorite line from "The Office or Parks and Rec"

if they're not a fan,

Letter Kenny, What We Do in the Shadows, Ted Lasso, or their favorite TV show

or a Dad Joke, or a Knock Knock joke

Walk it like I talk it

Thank you Migos for this simple and easy walking shot. I want to have candid shots of them walking and talking

"Alright guys, let's start walking this way, I want to get candid shots of you two about your day. You can still come up with jokes, just follow me as I photograph you walking."

"gently bump into each other"

"imagine your first date, what was that like?"

"whats the most random thing word that you have on your mind"

"can you play a game of eye spy?"

"muzzle into his neck like your cuddling with each other"

"what is your favorite moment together?"

Take photos of them holding hands, holding an arm, or elbow.

Have her head on his/her arm and look up to him

Let's get down and dirty

Now that I have them warmed up, I'd start to introduce additional poses that are more artistic. A little more bold. Drunk with love :)

"[#1] come forward and wait there[#2]." go ahead and put your hand in your pocket."

To #2

"go ahead and walk behind them and cover his eyes"

"whisper 'hello' in their ears"

"lean towards the camera a little bit #2 and give each other a kiss"

"if you can, go ahead and jump on their back and carry her securely #2"

"walk a few steps before putting them down and getting off #2"

Pose List

This is just the surface that I have in my repertoire.

I even have names, like the "butt lift" - you lift them up from the butt, kick the heel, and kiss them by the lips

The "face off" challenge - where you compete who makes the most silly face

The "whimsical pair" - where you stand side by side, holding hands, with a little space in between. They face the camera, look the opposite direction, and direction to each other.

The reverse "whimsical pair" - same distance apart, one stands facing the camera, and one facing away.

The Head and Shoulders shot - one lays their head on their shoulders, clavicle, chest. Snuggle in for dramatic effect.

the reverse Head and Shoulders Pose - one stands facing the camera and one away.

The back to back - back to back

Hands on shoulder - move in on one side of their arm

Hands on neck

Hands on head

Seated poses, works well too.

I also love to make my poses look editorial, where I'd love to see them print off and add it to their wall.

Capturing Memories

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Editorial and Fine Art Photographer

Guys, I enjoy what I do, thats why I make these articles so that you can have all of the resources when you're out there in at your session, hopefully with me hahaha. I hope this helps you all out. Contact me at