Great engagement photos come from good planning!
Here are six things to do to make sure you’re on your way to awesome engagement photos, whoever your photographer might be!
Your wardrobe matters
The surest way to feeling good, is to look good. You don’t have to be anybody else. You just have to be the best looking version of yourself. These days, the Internet is an infinite resource for how one can achieve this. Pinterest, for one, is a fount of ideas (good AND bad, so be discriminating).
Plan TWO outfits for your session. The first is how you’d dress to someone’s garden wedding; cute and colorful, go a little dressier but “day dressy”. If your engagement session is in the spring or summer, you have many more choices. If your session is in the colder months, pick outerwear that’s colorful and accessorize with beanies, mittens, boots, scarves. For the second outfit, go smart casual. Jeans, a cute top, and again, accessorize.
Personally, I love flowing maxis and COLOR. It’s already mostly gloomy and grey where we live here in Seattle, so putting on something vibrant is essential to making happy, bright and cheerful photos that instantly puts you in the mood to celebrate!
For the guys, try and avoid button-downs! If that’s all you have in your closet, roll up those sleeves and use it as an outer layer with a cute T-shirt under. Stay away from hoodies, clothes with sayings or logos. You’re dressing to impress your fiance/fiancee. I learnt very late in life that dressing up makes your love feel ESPECIALLY if you’re not the type to constantly do that. Your engagement session is definitely a valid occasion to do so.
Hair and makeup
A lot of my brides like to use this opportunity to test their wedding day makeup, scheduling their makeup trial to coincide with their engagement session. Remember that this trial is not to put on “wedding day” makeup, but to foster a relationship of trust between your makeup and hair gal/guy and you. Let them know you’re doing an engagement session, and let them give you all their expertise. Allow them to do their jobs and your hair and makeup will SHINE in your photos.
If you’re doing your own hair and makeup, keep things light, natural to allow for movement. However, be not afraid of color, like Haley above. Red lip is ALWAYS a good idea, in my opinion!
Pick a location you KNOW
Lots of couples have very little experience with professional photography (understandably) so we are often asked where to go. While most photographers have plenty of ideas where the light is best, your engagement session really isn’t about the setting. It’s about your connection and relationship. For me, picking a spot that you and your love are most comfortable with is best. That’s where awesome engagement photos emerge.
I have done at-home sessions where my couple is just enjoying each other’s company in the comfort of their own space. Some are most at home in the great outdoors, wading in rivers and hiking up hills and waterfalls. Some love hanging out in cafes or with their pets on hammocks or just running around in the sand and sea.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you BOTH are ready to sink your teeth in and enjoy. It is what will distract you from the camera and clicking most, to help you focus on the one you’re enjoying the setting with.
Picking an Activity You Both Like
It’s not enough to just be “having our engagement photos taken”. Make a day of it. Pack a picnic or cook a meal together. Even better, pick something you’ve both been wanting to try but have been saving up for that “special occasion”. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try making dumplings at home or marshmallows. Maybe you’ve always wanted to hike up Rattlesnake. Maybe you’ve been waiting to try out that new karaoke joint around the corner. Experiencing something new together may be risky, but risk makes awesome engagement photos and is superb as a major distraction to being photographed.
Plan for good light
When it comes to the best time to shoot, listen to your photographer. We LOVE the “golden hour”, which is about 1-2 hours before sunset. However, those among us who are early risers, will even shoot for dawn. If you can get up to be ready about an hour or two after the sun rises, that’s another great time to get those awesome engagement photos as well. However, because we live in the often grey Pacific Northwest, most days are going to be overcast – which makes it a safe time for photography, most of the day. Whatever you do, do not plan a shoot for mid day on a sunny day!
It’s important to unwind after a session and it gives you guys something to look forward to that’s even more fun than an engagement session! Go for drinks with friends or a movie or just a night of chilling at home even with a tub of ice cream or some beers. You’ve earned it (our personal hangout is Ba Bar).
Remember: Your engagement photos are to celebrate YOUR LOVE. While a beautiful setting, the cutest clothes, the best hair and makeup may be nice, they’re all complementary to how you are with each other. We are documenting the connection you have, those soft, intimate moments, the way you love. That’s all that truly shines in the end.
Ready for your engagement photos? Find out about our wedding collections that include engagement sessions! We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Need other wedding planning tips? Here are some other articles we’ve written to help you out: