There is a difference between not knowing and not observing proper etiquette. On one hand, the breaking of societal norms is akin to picking wild flowers in a mine field. The poor uncouth soul has no idea they are about to lose a foot or a leg, they just know they are enjoying themselves picking the pretty flowers. In direct opposition is the informed individual that occasionally plays in the rain with the security of safe shelter nearby. The difference is oblivious versus calculated risk taking.
It’s completely understandable that you would think this all ridiculous. I mean, everyone knows your engagement pictures are supposed to be about you right? They are supposed to tell the story of your true love and timeless commitment, right? Well, yes. That’s very true. But there are also things you tell the world through images that you may not want outsiders to know. How you touch him when you’re watching television, how he touches you in the hallway, how into each other you are when you kiss, how he has to brush his teeth twice a day lest bad breath rear it’s ugly head, or dozens of other things that aren’t relevant to the story of you, and not so adorable to others that don’t know and love your partner as intensely as you do.
So what can you do about this? Well, you could read some books on body language for one thing. How you cross your legs, stand, what you do with your hands, how you position your shoulders, and how you touch him all either whisper or shout a message to the viewer of that image. A basic understanding of what your body language is saying (because voices don’t translate well on images) will help you ensure you aren’t embarrassing yourself to your family and friends, and WORSE, his family and friends. You can do searches on youtube about body language, and review magazines selling different lifestyle products and look at how their models are posed to interact with each other, then make sure you’re exactly the same way for your images. That’s taking control of the process and making sure you are on message.
But what about looking my best? I can honestly tell you that no one is more beautiful than a woman in love, no matter what you look like. Think about it. It’s true. But that doesn’t make hips shrink, or arms look the way you want, or eyes not blink, or open mouths and unflattering expressions never happen. It’s not too difficult to purchase some books or borrow them from the library to learn how to pose arms like yours, or hips like yours in seated, standing, and a leaning positions. You can watch videos about public displays of affection, read books on how to be a gentleman, and read Emily Post’s big book of etiquette. At that point, you’ll have a pretty good idea about where your man should be, what he can get away with, what you can get away with, how to kiss, how to hold hands, how to look in love without looking like two lusty muskrats, all while protecting your first impression on his extended family, and his on yours.
It’s not as simple as it seems, I know. Pictures are supposed to be fun, I know. It’s supposed to be amazing, and magical, and romantical, I know, I know, I know. There’s an alternative to ALL THAT WORK. Hire a very experienced photographer. Hire a photographer with non cliched work on their website and fan pages. Hire a photographer that unequivocally says they can pose you and your body type. Hire a photographer willing to see the whole concept rather a few canned poses designed to work for anyone. Hire a photographer that understands body language, and is willing to steer you into their idea of you rather than just capture what is there. Hire a photographer willing to help you tell the story of you, correctly, in a flattering manner, all while making it fun for you both.
There’s some bad engagement photography out there, and I’ll admit I laugh my butt off looking at it. It’s hilarious, but it’s not intentionally hilarious. A message was mixed up somewhere, and now someone’s story of their love, their everlasting commitment, and joy in each other is being ridiculed by others. Call me. I’ll be happy to recommend a photographer in your marketplace if I can’t do it myself. Your images matter. Your message matters. You deserve better than to be laughed at when you’re being sincere. And if you hire me for an engagement session, I’ll credit that cost towards the wedding package of your choice that includes an engagement shoot.