How To Have A Truly Unforgettable Engagement Session

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Engagement season is in full swing and I felt it’d be a great tie to share some things I have learned over the last almost two decades of photographing couples and capturing engagement sessions.

In this guide, I’m sharing the best tips I’ve learned about what makes an engagement session truly unforgettable for couples who really feel drawn to my work or who are looking for more than just a photographer for their engagement, wedding or elopement day.

What Story Do You Want To Tell?

It’s very easy to approach your engagement session like a task on the checklist and something to simply “fit into your schedule”. I encourage you to slow down and take a breath where you are. This is such an exciting season that you are in and there’s no rush on getting to the next part of this party. I’m a big believer in self leadership and how you lead yourself in this season will determine how solid and stable the next one is.

When it comes to your session, I always tell couples to treat this as the one day you will always remember your engaged season by. When you look back in the years ahead and think of this season, what story do you want to tell?

An engagement session isn’t just about the photos, it’s far more about the experience. Let you engagement session be the one story that you will tell for years to come about this season of your life.

Choose An Adventure Over A "Photo Shoot"

When thinking about your engagement session, don’t start with, “what should I wear” or “where should we go”, instead start with, what would be the most inspiring adventure we could go on for our shoot?

Getting great photos is a must but having an unforgettable story to tell on the backend of your shoot will make it that much more fulfilling and leave you and your partner even more connected than before.

I have climbed mountains with couples where we were forced. to bunker down because of an unexpected storm. I have road-tripped 7 hours to explore a mind blowing area, camp under the stars and spend the next sunrise in a hot spring. I have spent a weekend on a private island where the bride grew up and photographed her and her partner in her original stomping ground while watching for whales.

When you choose an adventure over a photo-shoot, you come out with so much more than just images… and the images are that much better because there’s a story to them.

Want to get inspired by some epic engagement session adventures, check out my portfolio! And when you’re ready, reach out and let’s start planning your engagement session adventure together.

Go The Extra Mile

Full stop. This is the one of the most important tips I could share with you.

The engagement sessions that have left my couples truly blown away, even more madly in love, and feeling wildly alive are the ones that we all decided to drive a few hours further and hike a couple more miles deeper into the location we were exploring.

Why? First and foremost, because it gives us all more time together, to talk, to build trust, to connect, share our hearts, and really create a level of safety that shows once you step in front of the camera.

How comfortable you feel with your photographer will literally make all the difference in the world around how you feel while getting photographed. Relationships are the core of my business and it’s what I love most about this work.

The second reason you should go the extra mile is because the most unforgettable stories come from when you choose to go explore, see something new, experience something. you haven’t before. Choosing to drive or hike a little further really does take your engagement session from “That was a lot of fun!” to “The was fucking amazing!!!”

Go the extra mile. It’s worth it 100% of the time.

Find a Dynamic Photographer

Does the photographer you are looking to work with have work in a lot of different settings, lighting situations and locations?

Do they have candid, fun, outgoing shots as well as intimate, connected, and more romantic moments?

Do they capture portraits, landscapes, wide shots, tight shots, etc.?

When you look back on your engagement session in the years ahead, you aren’t going to just want great portraits of you looking at the camera. You are going to want a story, you are going to want art, you are going to want to remember how you felt that day and what the world looked like on that specific day.

Find a photographer that is dynamic and you are sure to walk away with loads of images you love and an epic story to tell.

Build Trust With Your Photographer

Building trust with your photographer is the most important thing you can do for your engagement session, your wedding or your elopement. And trust isn’t something that just happens, takes intention and authenticity.

Most people think trust is built when individuals are reliable, when the reality is that trust is actually built when people are vulnerable.

Vulnerability can be a really hard thing for some people, especially if it they grew up rarely feeling seen, heard, understood, or safe to express themselves fully. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable but that is secret sauce if you will to getting photos you truly love.

Getting in front of a camera can bring up fear, insecurities, and sometimes even anxiety or awkwardness. That’s why it’s so important for you to really build an open, honest, vulnerable, and authentic relationship with your photographer. If you feel safe to be fully yourself with your photographer, you will walk away with really beautiful moments that capture the heart of who you and your partner are.

And your photographer should be the one who is leading all of this.

A great way to determine if you’ve found the right photographer for you is to ask yourself, “How do I feel after a conversation or interaction with this person?”

Do I feel lit up or do I feel tension in my body? Do I feel like I’m leaning in more or that I’m backing away? Can I be myself fully and do they seem genuinely curious about me and my partner?

Finding the right photographer is the most important decision you will make around your engagement session, elopement, or wedding and trusting yourself through this process is the most important key to you looking back years from now and feeling everything you want to feel when you look at your images.

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Hey, I'm Robert

Adventure & Elopement Photographer

I’m here to help you craft an elopement day or small wedding that is a true reflection of who you and your partner are and leaves you feeling more deeply connected and wildly alive.

As a Pacific Northwest native, thru hiker, mountaineer, and all around adventurer, I’m here to answer every question you have and serve you in planning the most epic elopement or wedding day you could dream up whether it’s here in Washington or Oregon, or on the other side of the world.

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