Engagement Session Posing Guide + Outfit Ideas

February 15, 2022

First of all, let me say a big congratulations. Getting engaged can be such a fun time in your life, and let me tell you, few things come close to the chemistry of a good engagement session. But let’s face it. Getting your photo taken can feel a little weird – maybe even a bit intimidating. That’s why I’ve put together this engagement session posing guide: to help you get the most out of your engagement photo session. After photographing dozens of amazing couples, I have a few tips and tricks I’d love to share.

Before We Get Into This Engagement Session Posing Guide

To kick off this engagement session posing guide, I’m going to start with a few ‘ground rules’ and general tips before we get into the nitty gritty of actual pose ideas. Let’s start with maybe the most important part of this entire engagement session posing guide: this engagement shoot is about you being present with your partner. It’s not so much about you looking good!

At its best, an engagement photo session should feel like a date idea. It’s a new adventure – a chance to connect and celebrate your connection. Photoshoot nerves come in when we’re focusing on how we look: but when we’re fully present with another person, living in the moment, all that fades away. And trust me – that kind of focus ends up looking amazing after all.

So, if I could leave you with one piece of advice – counter-intuitive though it might sound for a posing guide – it’s this. Forget about the camera!

Tips and Tricks for Your Engagement Session

Keep these general guidelines in mind, no matter what pose you find yourself in.

#1 – Let the tension build

When you’re going in for a kiss, let that moment before it really hold for as long as possible. Keep eye contact and let the tension build – you’ll feel the heat in the final photographs.

#2 – You don’t have to smile all the time

Don’t put on a fake smile – let your partner provoke a real one. In the meantime, a smirk or a ‘smize’ can be just as powerful.

#3 – Whisper to your partner

Reference an inside joke, surprise them with something sexy, or tell them something that made you proud of them this week.

#4 – Don’t look at the camera

Unless your photographer asks you to look into the lens, don’t look at the camera. Instead, stay focused on your partner.

#5 – You don’t have to kiss to be tender

Resting your forehead on your partner’s forehead or their cheek, ending up with your nose at their temple or your cheek against their arm – all of these are beautiful ways to ‘land’ a pose without kissing.

#6 – If you don’t know what to do with your hands, put them in your pockets

But remember not to put your whole hand in – leave your thumbs out.

Engagement Session Posing Guide: On the Floor

You might have any number of ideas for what to do in your engagement session – anything from a coastal hike to mixing up cocktails at home. But the truth is that sometimes the simplest scenes make for the most powerful moments. When I shoot engagement sessions with couples, I love to capture poses just sitting on the floor!

Each of the poses in this engagement session posing guide is a baseline with a thousand ways you can mix it up. One pose will have a completely different energy depending on if you’re laughing, smizing, or whispering something sexy or sharing something tender

  1. Sit side by side and lean your head on your partner’s shoulder.
  2. Alternatively, Sit behind your partner with your arms around them and let them lean back into your chest. 
  3. Sit with your back to the camera while your partner sits facing it.
  4. You can try to sit face to face with your partner and swing your legs over theirs. 
  5. Sit side by side and ‘pretzel’ your legs together.

Engagement Session Posing Guide: With a Chair

Adding a chair into your engagement session means you can play with height and level difference – it makes for more visually interesting shots!

  1. Sit in the chair while your partner stands behind you and whispers in your ear.
  2. You can also sit on the floor and lean against your partner’s legs as they sit in the chair.
  3. Sit on the chair and hold your partner in your lap.

Engagement Session Posing Guide: Up and Moving

The key to a great photo is movement. Think dancing around each other, swaying back and forth, or picoting in a pose. All of these will bring movement to a photo and help bring out genuine emotion from you both.

  1. Dance around – we can get the music going and have fun with it.
  2. Stand holding onto your partner’s side and sway, or go in for a forehead kiss.
  3. You could also stand facing one another and lay your head on your partner’s chest.
  4. Stand back to back and reach for each other’s hands – and give a little glance over your shoulder.
  5. Give your partner a bear hug from behind and pivot back and forth.
  6. Stand back to back and grab hands, then move in and out from each other.
  7. Lean against your partner’s stomach and pull their arms around you.

Outfit Ideas for Your Engagement Session Posing Guide

I suggest planning two looks for your engagement session – come in one of them, and save the other for a change if you end up having time. Definitely plan your outfits with your partner so that you’re coordinated.

Some things to consider:

  • Block colors and patterns: solid colors are prefered, but small patterns can be fine. If you’re wearing a pattern, your partner should be in solid colors.
  • Simple is often better: clothes you’re comfortable in and that won’t pull the attention of a photo are often best. Think jeans, button ups, t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets.
  • Matching colors: consider having one of your looks be all white or cream – this can look really fun!
  • Muted shades: going for muted, mellow shades and neutrals will help to keep the focus on your faces and your connection.

Final Thoughts on Your Engagement Session Posing Guide

I hope this engagement session posing guide has gone some way to demystify the whole process. As you can see, this can be a really fun and lighthearted time with the one you love. If you start to feel nervous or stuck, check in with them. Dance with them. Whisper in their ear. Love on them. Whatever you need to do to stay grounded. At the end of the day, those are the moments that are really worth capturing.

For more posing inspiration, check out these beautiful engagement photos in Philadelphia

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