10 Tips to Avoid Terribly Cheesy Engagement Pictures

Cringe-worthy engagement pictures happen to good people all the time — but it doesn't have to be that way.

Let's face it — we've ALL seen those incredibly cringe-worthy engagement photos on our Facebook feeds. You know, where the guy looks like he wants to die while holding up his wife-to-be because she's standing in sand while wearing four-inch heels, 10 gallons of makeup, and dress that's three sizes too small. Cheesy engagement photos happen to good people all of the time.

But not all engagement photos have to be this way. Promise. We chatted with Marina George, of California-based Two Foxes Photography, and she gave us 10 incredibly simple ways to end up with engagement photos you'll love forever.

Choose a Photographer Whose Style You Love

You aren't going to be happy with your pictures from the get-go if you don't already love your photographer's aesthetic.

Marina says: "Go through a photographer's gallery and previous engagement sessions they've done and really find a photographer whose work resonates with you — one where you can imagine yourself in their photos. The work you're looking at will be very representative of the work you get back from them."


Come As Yourself

This is NOT the time to try to be Sexy Sandy (from Grease) if you're actually more like Sweet Sandy.

10 Tips to Avoid Terribly Cheesy Engagement Pictures

Marina says: "Pick an outfit you might normally wear. What's going to translate through the lens is how comfortable you are. Being in front of a professional camera might be uncomfortable anyway, so you definitely want to make sure what you've chosen to wear, and the location you've chosen for the shoot, really represents yourself. The more you can show up as yourself, the more likely that will translate through the camera."


Don't Overload Your Pinterest Boards — Trust the Photographer

You're not doing yourself any favors by showing your photographer the 48596 pictures you've pinned.

Marina says: "Yes, Pinterest is a great tool to communicate what you like and what inspires you, but photographers can get really bogged down by specific requests. You have to remember the photographer is an artist and the work you're seeing is what they've chosen to capture through their lens. So it's about really giving them the creative freedom and trusting to do their job and to capture you in a way that they see naturally — and providing them with too much instruction gets in the way of that process."

Have a Coffee Date with Your Photographer Ahead of Time

It's nice if your engagement session isn't a blind date, of sorts.

Marina says: "Get to know them ahead of time, so you're not showing up and meeting a stranger for the first time. If you're feeling especially nervous, talk to your photographer and start to build a little bit of a rapport and let them know your concerns. Get their take on how the day's going to go so you know what you're walking into."

Go Easy on the Props

You can leave the first teddy bear he ever gave you at home.

Marina says: "Props can be fun, especially if there's something really special you want or an idea you want to capture, but bringing too many and introducing too many external elements to the shoot can make things more complex. They can bog down the intention of the shoot, which is to capture the love between you and your fiance.

Go easy on the props so the photographer can capture the love between the two of you."

Just Go With It

If the photographer tells you to look a certain way, you should probably just do it.

Marina says: "Throughout the shoot trust the direction they're giving you — they might be seeing things different than you are. Trust the entire process and know that the photographer is a professional and they know how to relax you and bring you to this place where they're taking really great photos of you."

Have a Glass of Wine First

Loosen up! (Just don't get TOO loose)

Marina says: "It never hurts to have a glass of wine before your shoot. You can even have the photographer follow you to your favorite spot for a cocktail and do a part of your session there — I've done that more often than not and it always helps."

It's in the Lighting

Don't try to take pics at noon — the sun will be in a bad spot and you'll get sweaty.

Marina says: "The lighting is best a couple of hours before sunset or a couple hours after sunrise. You can better your chances of getting good photos if you're taking them during a time when the lighting is good — as opposed to noon when the sun's directly overhead."

Choose a Location that Represents You Well

Location, location, location.

Marina says: "If you don't have a specific spot that's special to you, give your photographer some direction about what type of feel you're going for — coastal/beachy or meadowy? At home session? What speaks to you? Based on that, the photographer can make recommendations."

Bottom Line: Don't Try to Do Something That's Not You

Just be yourselves!

Marina says: "The biggest mistake people make, and where it translates thorough the camera, is doing something that's really not them. If you're not a boating person, don't do your session on a sailboat. If you're not a super outdoorsy type, don't go hike to the top of a mountain. Really staying true to who you are will help the photographer capture you in your most natural state and while you're in your element."

See more from Marina George and Two Foxes Photography here.

The Director of Editorial Operations at Livingly Media and lover of all things sprinkles.