Preparation is key to successful portraits | Virginia Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

I wanted to write a helpful blog post for my couples to help them prepare for their wedding day. Most of my couples have the pleasure of getting to know me and my shooting style by booking their engagement shoot with me, that's why I include these shoots complimentary with both of my packages. It's a nice trial run and helps me show each couple the in's & out's of my posing/coaching so that when their wedding day arrives they are pro's! Even if you aren't an #SHPbride this blog post will help you prepare for your wedding day portraits with whomever you've chosen to document your day!

First-Don't be nervous. Ok, ok easier said than done I know.  It's not everyday you have a random person with a camera in your face-coaching you to do things that seem...odd at times.  That's why I let my couples know that I don't expect them to be models, that I am there to help coach and guide them and they need to trust me...we are going to have fun and the pictures will be amazing if they just trust what I am asking them to do! I guide them through four basic poses and coach them into natural interaction that creates these flawless portraits that truly speak who they are as a couple. Another way to ensure this is getting to know each of my couples and letting them get to know me. I joke with them and truly want them to feel like we are old friends! it makes everything so much simpler and lets them be themselves. If we don't "click" it will be evident in the portrait process. "Clicking" is everything!

Second-Have complete trust in me. I would never ask my couples to do something that makes them look dumb. Granted I like a good laugh....BUT not at the expense of loosing my couples trust. I want them to know that when I ask them to move into a certain spot (y'all know I love dead tall grass) and it happens to be next to broken down fence...I have ways of cropping those things out-just TRUST me. If you feel a little weird when I ask you to breathe in....DON'T once you exhale and open your eyes...your face is so much more relaxed-no more tense fear! I'll guide you where to place your hands, because we all know the question of "What do I do with my hands" is always on your mind! I don't want things to be stiff or unnatural so I'll joke with you or ask you to interact with some prompts to ensure that it's as natural as possible. usually when I ask my couple to laugh and I mimic a laugh they 9 out of 10 times laugh naturally because they think I am nuts!! Laughter is genuine and I LOVE the way it lights up anyone's laughter is key!

Third-Don't be afraid to show your affection. As you can tell by my portfolio I love the romantic side of portraits. Now this doesn't mean making out...I like to keep it PG. What it means is: don't be afraid to brush his cheek with your hand, to look at him and laugh, to whisper in his ear, for him to cup your face in his hands while he kisses you....there's something about those moments, those real moments of intimacy between the two of you that can't be forced. So if you naturally do those things-go for it!

The most important thing is: Have fun and enjoy these portraits, laugh and interact...this is a special time for the two of you! 

want more engagement inspiration? check out past blog posts here.