5 Tips For a Successful Photo Session

So you've decided to hire your favorite photographer to capture our RAD love story. Now what?!? You're probably nervous. You're likely dreading the moment that your photographer lifts their camera and sticks their lens in your face. I GET IT!  It's kinda scary right!?! The moment that camera comes out we all of sudden we feel awkward and shy, and what the heck am I supposed do with these arms?!? Can I get an amen?!?

Not to fear, I want help you prepare so that you are more comfortable and ready to have fun during your next close up. All it takes is a little advance planning and knowledge. I have come up with 5 things to do to get comfortable for your next session. 

Let's say yes to self confidence and bye bye to shyness and anxiety. You ready?!? Let's go! 

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1. Forget about your photographer

Yes, this means you have my permission to pretend your photographer isn't there! Truth is, the less you focus on the fact there is a camera in your face and the more you think about how much you love each other, the better the photographs!  Pinkie swear, it's true. So go ahead, stare into his/her eyes, forget there is anyone else around, and focus on how much you love each other. Feel free to snuggle, hug, kiss, heck make out if that's your thing. Look what we just did! We seriously turned your photo session into a make out sesh! Now your photos will be more natural and less posed! Woot woot! 

Fort Bragg California Photographer

2. Hair and Makeup Look GREAT in photographs

I'm not saying that you can't go au natrurel if that's your thang. What I AM saying is that no matter your style, a little of attention to your hair and make up will go a long way in photos! Makeup is naturally smoothing to the skin and helps even out tones. Hair can be done so many different ways and depending on what style you are going for in photographs in can add an intentional vibe.  Here's a bonus tip: consider getting your hair and make up done professionally and then going out for a day on the town all dolled up! Spa day plus a date with your lover, win/win right?!?

Fort Bragg California Photographer

3. Plan your outfits in ADVANCE!

We've all done it. Threw together outfits 10 minutes before we needed to leave on a date or to an event. And of course, nothing looks right so it looks like a bomb went off in our closet by the time we finally choose our attire! yup. Been there! Trust me, you do not want to be doing that on the day of your photo session. It will add unneeded stress to your day. So here's my tip, PLAN IN ADVANCE. Heck, send a few outfit options to your photographer and let them help you decide if your coordinated enough! 

The clothing choices that you make for your session are EXTREMELY important. They are the center of what guides the look and feel of your session. You want to choose an outfit that is both form flattering and comfy. No one wants to be feeling like they need to adjust a too tight dress or scratching because they chose an itchy fabric. Solids are always a safe bet, but don't be afraid to go for a pattern. Just make sure that whatever color/pattern you choose that they compliment each other. IF you opt for a pattern, choose something simple, like jeans and a solid t-shirt or oxford for your partner.  Solid, neutral colors are always a good rule of thumb, but don't be afraid to play with color or patterns! For colors, make sure they are complimenting whatever your partner is wearing.  And PLEASE, don't be matchy matchy. It's awkward and really leaves something to be desired in photographs. 


4. Accessorize and add props

Have a fun hat that you love to wear? WEAR IT! Love statement jewelry? ROCK IT during the session. Pack a picnic. Bring flowers. Have a favorite board or card game that you like to play together? Let's do it! Anything that adds to the style and mood that you are looking for is fair game. We LOVE props! 

Fort Bragg California adventure photographer

5. Choose a photographer you trust

This is the most important tip that I can offer. In order for us to achieve the natural and comfortable photographs, you MUST trust the person giving you direction.  The difference between a good and GREAT photograph has little to do with you as a person and EVERYTHING to do with lighting and posing. Find a photographer who's work resonates with you. Make sure that you LOVE their style so that you can ultimately trust their direction.  Find someone who is going to capture your LOVE exactly the way you want to remember it. LOVE is RAD and it deserves to be documented awesomely. 

That's it friends. I hope that these tips and tricks help ease your fears and rock your next photo session! 


Peter & Katie | Fort Bragg, California Couple Session | Adventurous Destination Northern California Photographer

Paula contacted me a few weeks ago about photographing her in-laws. Here is what she said about this very special gift: 

"This will be a birthday present for my mother-in-law and father-in-law from me, my husband, and brother-in-law. They love each other and their dogs more than anything and we would love them to have a gorgeous memory of all of them together in the place they love the most. "

When I received this inquiry, I was overjoyed that they thought of me, but also that they were doing something so special and timeless for their parents. It is so special and I was honored to be a part of it.

I met Peter and Katie at Jug Handle State Reserve in Fort Bragg, CA early in the morning. They brought their adorable pooches with them for a walk. I was enamored with their love for each other. I really enjoyed photographing these two because they couldn't keep their hands off of each other and kept laughing like it was their first date. It is refreshing and inspiring to see a couple their age still so in love. It gives me hope that we can continue to fall in love with our spouses time and time again, year after year. Marriage is hard work ya'll. These two make it look so effortless. I hope that my marriage looks this good in a few years. 

Anyway, I hope as you look through these photos that you see the joy that can be and hope for the future. These two are really living their lives with joy and it shows! 




Chelsi is a destination wedding and elopement photographer based in Fort Bragg, California but loves to travel and will go anywhere to capture your life's sweet moments. She lives for seeing the world, capturing authentic love, and making people feel fabulous. Her style is authentic, joyful, and hope evoking. She believes in laughing too much, singing too loud, and most importantly: authentically capturing every single  moment  to evoke emotion over perfectly posing for photographs.

Amy & Raul | Fort Bragg, California Engagement Session

I met Amy and Rual at a little coffee shop in Fort Bragg a few weeks before their engagement session. It was kismet. We had so many things in common with each other. Amy's love of tacos and margaritas. Raul's gypsy soul. I just couldn't get enough of their fun and adventurous personalities. Needless to say, they ended up booking their wedding with me.

All of my wedding and elopement packages come with a complimentary engagement session. I feel it is important for both myself and my clients that we have a chance to get to know each other prior to what will be the most significant day of their lives together. I NEVER want my clients to feel like they have a stranger at their wedding putting a camera in their face and directing them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Enter the engagement session. 

Amy and Raul chose the location, which was their coastal residence that will also serve as their reception site. Just a days prior to their session it had been pouring down rain. God showed up big and gave us a beautiful day!   The coastal views in Fort Bragg rarely disappoint, and our day together was no exception. We spent a couple of hours together exploring the property (which is littered with beautiful trees and foliage), whale watching, and viewing one of the most beautiful winter sunsets I have seen in my lifetime. 

As we sat and watched the end of the sunset together, Raul admitted to me that he had planned on proposing to Amy while they were in Alaska. His ultimate plan was to propose to her on a glacier. Weeeelllll, that DID NOT happen. He had the ring and was terrified to propose while they were in Alaska. So, instead, he proposed to Amy at the red bench that are in these photos. Fort Bragg's coastal views are an awesome consolation prize to Alaskan glaciers if you ask me! Obviously Amy wasn't disappointed and these two love birds are due to be married this summer, so, way to go Raul! 

Enjoy this beautiful couple, the beautiful views, and the love these two share!

Do you love photos that capture laughter and love? Wanna have some fun on the coast, get wild and adventurous for some photos? You can book your engagement session with me, or shucks, it can be just because, I'm game! Let's have some fun together on the coast, or anywhere for that matter! You can book with me here



Chelsi is a destination wedding and elopement photographer based in Fort Bragg, California but loves to travel and will go anywhere to capture your life's sweet moments. She lives for seeing the world, capturing authentic love, and making people feel fabulous. Her style is authentic, real, and emotional. She believes in laughing too much, singing too loud, and most importantly living life to the fullest and capturing every single authentic beautiful moments that evoke emotions over perfectly posed photos.