Marriage Proposals

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! 

mendocino california wedding photographer

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. Get Your Hair & Makeup Done

I'm not saying that you can't go “au naturel” if that's your thang. What I AM saying is that no matter your style, a little of attention to your hair and makeup 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 makeup 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?!?

Mendocino California Couples 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. 

CLICK HERE for my F R E E “What To Wear Guide”.


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! 

Mendocino California Couples 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!

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

Are you ready for an adventure with the love of your life?

A Proposal at Navarro Point Preserve in Albion, CA

"Thank you so, so much! We're completely in love with the photos you took, they're so amazing!"

Kyle proposed to Sebastian on July 24th at Navarro Point Preserve in Albion, California. He hired me to capture the moment and I couldn't have been more honored!  Thank you Kyle for trusting me with this very intimate time in your relationship, I am so happy that you both love your photos! 

After Sebastian said "Yes!", we took a little adventure and explored the preserve. I had never been there myself, so it was fun for all of us.


If you haven't been out to the preserve, you're missing out. Thank you again Kyle and Sebastian for exploring with me!