5 Poses & Prompts for Engagement Sessions

An engagement session can be intimidating, I won’t deny that! You and your partner are probably both feeling a little nervous to be in front of the camera, and all you know for sure is that you don’t want photos with fake smiles or awkward poses. Don’t worry! As a photographer, it’s my job to put you in natural poses and bring out natural emotions. I won’t just tell you to “go stand over there and just smile” – I wouldn’t be doing my job if I said that, and I certainly wouldn’t make you feel any less uncomfortable. Here are just a few of my go-to poses that are guaranteed to bring out natural smiles and genuine emotions!

1. Walking Toward the Camera

I start every engagement session with the easy “walking toward the camera” pose. This will allow my couples to get any last minute nerves out and start with something simple. Typically, I’ll ask my couple to hold hands, look at each other and smile, and then look at me as they slowly walk toward me. I also found that having one person (usually the woman, but it can be either or!) holding their partner’s wrist with their open hand keeps them close together while they walk. To make emotions even more genuine, I’ll even ask them to “walk like they’re drunk and bump hips” for a good laugh.

2. A Whisper in the Ear

Here is probably my favorite pose for a genuinely good laugh. First, I ask my couples to stand in front of me while facing each other. Then I ask them to hold each other at the waste and get nice and close together. Then I will have one person lean in to whisper something in their partner’s ear. Usually, I direct the person doing the whispering to inform their partner of their favorite vegetable but say it in their sexiest voice. The person listening will always give a good laugh with this one – works like a charm every time!

3. Bear Hug Embrace

To avoid making the bear hug pose looking like a maternity pose in an engagement shoot, I will ask my couples to stand in a straight line facing me, one person in front of the other. Then I’ll ask them to go into an airplane pose where both of them put their arms up and out to the side. From there, the couple will turn their palms to face me, and intertwine fingers. Then the person in the back will wrap their arms around their partner while still holding their hands. This usually gives the couple a good laugh while also a genuine, sweet smile as they are embracing each other.

4. Piggy Back Rides

Before, I go into this pose, I always ask my couples if they’re comfortable giving piggy back rides. If they say yes, I love to use this pose for some shots of pure joy! Once one of them is on the other’s back, I’ll either ask the one giving the piggy back ride to do a steady spin for me, or I’ll ask the person receiving the piggy back ride to kiss their partner on the cheek or show me their bling!

5. Pick Up Your Partner

Before I go into this pose, I’ll ask my couple if one of them is comfortable picking up the other person. I’m always so excited to go into this pose if they say yes! If the person doing the lifting is cool with their partner getting a running start, I will always suggest starting with that because this pose can easily look stiff. If their partner gets a running start, typically they’re both laughing, smiling, and kissing throughout the whole move. If the one doing the lifting isn’t comfortable with a running start, then I’ll suggest that they lift their partner and do a little spin for me so I can get them laughing and smiling :).

Movement is so important when it comes to capturing true, genuine emotions! It gives every one (including me!) a chance to have fun and try exciting new ideas. Every single one of my couples end up leaving an engagement session feeling even more eager for their wedding day after having such a great time.

meet ila


As a fine-art wedding photographer, I enjoy photographing every one of your special moments. On your wedding day, I will be both your photographer AND your right-hand man. I will be there to make sure everything runs smoothly and seamlessly, all while capturing the story of your wedding day from beginning to end. My goal is to create timeless, uniquely-you photos that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime. 

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