News flash: planning a wedding can be stressful.

Oh, you knew that?

Good. We’re on the same page.

But here’s the thing: your engagement photos don’t have to be part of that stress train. In fact, they shouldn’t be.

Your engagement photo session is an opportunity to have fun and showcase your personal style. Connect with each other and forget about guest lists and cake flavors for a little while.

Of course, you do have to decide what you want your photos to be like. You can’t just show up in pajamas and hope it all works out. (Unless you have a shared passion for pajamas. I’m not here to judge.)

Here are a few guidelines to get you thinking about your photos to find your personal engagement session style:

What Are Your Shared Hobbies?

Do you go hiking every weekend? Do you spend more time with your dog than by yourself? Did you meet in a kombucha-making class, and do you still brew a new batch on a weekly basis?

Whatever you love to do, we can incorporate it into your photo session, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be as highly involved as setting up your kombucha-making station in the kitchen. It might mean choosing a location for the shoot where you spend a lot of time hiking, or including your dog in the shots. Or both. Probably both, in that particular situation.

What is Your Profession?

Again, small touches can bring out your professional sides. A chalkboard is a great prop if you’re a teacher; a fire helmet might be fun if you’re a firefighter. (And if you’re not! But it could confuse your audience.)

A chef’s hat, a hay bale, a lab coat—you get the idea.

Do You Love Sports?

A mutual love of a sports team—or of two rival teams—can make for a fun shoot with jerseys or sporting equipment. If sports are a big part of your life on the couch or on the field, you might like to incorporate them into your session.

What’s Your Favorite Kind of Music?

You could dress the part (think country, hip hop, or classical), or you could simply have some music playing when we’re doing the shoot. Using music you love not only helps you relax, but it can impact how you move and interact. Feel the music, and watch it translate into your photos.

Where Do You Feel In Your Element?

Let’s not do the session at the skate park if you’ve never been on a skateboard. Unless maybe the murals are really cool.

Are you urban or country? Do you want the busy city vibe around you, or would you prefer the tranquility of a park or a field? We can find a location that is meaningful to you as a couple (maybe where you had your first date or where you got engaged) or wherever you simply feel most like yourselves.

What Makes You Laugh?

Maybe it’s playing a particular game or visiting a fair. Or maybe you’d like to make fun of the engagement-photo process itself with some tongue-in-cheek poses or over-the-top ridiculous set-ups. If that’s you, then we want to capture that, no matter what your mother-in-law might say. (Unless she’s paying for it. In that case, we might need to make some concessions.)

Honestly, there’s no wrong way to do this. It’s your engagement, your life together, and your photo session. From traditional to downright nutty, we can do whatever you’d like. The point is to create beautiful photos that look and feel like you, not like some imaginary magazine couple. Let go of that wedding-planning stress and let’s have fun with this.