If you struggle taking natural engagement portraits, then this is the blog post for you! It can definitely be difficult taking people pictures, but (with the right tools) it can also be FUN!

Let’s face it, most people are awkward in front of the camera. And then (as photographers) we look at the couple and say: “on the count of three, show me your most real, genuine, self. One, two, three… click.”
As you can imagine, the resulting picture is a bit forced, to say the least!

Our job as photographers is to make sure that the couple has a blast during the session, and is in love with the photos that we take. This can be done super easily if you follow these tips for taking natural engagement portraits.

taking natural engagement portraits walking down the street together laughter is the best medicine intimacy during the engagement shoot snuggling during the photo shootlove in the afternoonafternoon kiss love and laughter and happily ever after

Tips for Taking Natural Engagement Portraits

Prep the Couple Beforehand

Offer tips and suggestions for all aspects of the session because we (as photographers) have done this many times, but many couples have often never had professional photos done of just them! Give them location ideas, a guide for what to wear, and prop suggestions based on their theme/location. If they can’t think of any props to suit the location/style of the session, I always recommend bringing a bouquet of flowers. Not only will they look classy in any setting, but they can serve as a reminder of all the fun you had for days after the session.

Give Clear, Concise Directions

One of the best pieces of advice I can give for taking natural engagement portraits, is to give clear directions for exactly what you want your couple to do.

Instead of saying, “move your body that way and kiss her”, be as specific as possible: “turn your body to the left and angle it closer to your fiancée. Good, now grab her waist with your right hand and pull her in close for a smooch.”

Couples don’t know how to stand, where to angle their faces towards, what to do with their hands, which expression looks the best, etc. So we need to be their eyes and give them that verbal affirmation that yes, they look amazing and are doing awesome!


Showing that your couple shares a real, genuine connection is easy once you get them to loosen up a bit. This can be done by having the couple be physically connected (where they are touching/embracing) or emotionally connected (by sharing a loving gaze, laughing over a sweet memory or inside joke).

Laughter is the Best Medicine

It is impossible to fake a smile if you’re laughing. And if you want to banish the dreaded “cheese” smile forever, simply get your clients laughing together. Or at each other… we won’t judge 😉 Laughter is a good way to get the couple to relax and warm up, so a good trick to always put a smile on their face is to get them to think of a special memory – then on the count of three both of them say the memory and see if it’s the same one.

sunflower engagement ring Fresh Look Photography taking natural engagement portraitsNorfolk engagement photographer Fresh Look Photography sunflower and engagement ring taking natural engagement portraits taking natural engagement portraits black and white couples photography happy flowers Fresh Look Photography

Interaction is Key

It is awkward having to feel relaxed in front of the camera, especially when the person telling you to “relax” is pointing a giant lens in your direction! Not exactly how you set the stage for calm a serene. However, if you give your couple something to do, it immediately takes the focus off the fact that “we’re taking photos” and places the emphasis on having fun and interacting together. This is where things like a bouquet of flowers comes in handy – in Katie and Gabe’s session I used it to frame her engagement ring as well as give her something to hold during the session.

Here are Some Activities/Props You Could Recommend to Your Couples

At the end of the day, it’s all about taking natural engagement portraits for your clients, so whatever means you can use to get to that point – more power to you! These are just some helpful tips to get you started, I hope you enjoyed them and feel free to share anything that has worked well for you!

Love What You See? Want to Have Your Own Session?!

If you’ve finished looking at this gorgeous engagement shoot and are thinking to yourself – I wanna do that too! Awesome!!! We would LOVE to create a custom photo session for you and the ones you love! Feel free to message me by hitting the { CONTACT ME } button or by giving me a call at 757-749-5350. I can’t wait to create some magic for you!

Editors Choice Award