Congrats — you just got ENGAGED!! You’re probably playing with your ring, watching it sparkle in every new light situation, and absolutely glowing with love + excitement. Almost immediately, family + friends are buzzing with questions: When is the wedding? Where’s your venue? What’s the theme? And you’re sitting there, like, “Woah, pump the breaks! I haven’t had a moment to figure any of that out yet…” We TOTALLY get it + that’s why we’re here to help! First things first: engagement photos!
Now is the time to celebrate with your love and document this incredible moment in your lives. This may be the first time you + your love have ever taken professional photos together and it can be a bit nerve-racking, right? Don’t worry, engagement photos are meant to be fun, and something special to look back on; you get to play around, dance with each other, and just be truly, madly, deeply in love. As a professional photographer, onelove photography knows a thing or two about engagement photos (read more about the creativity + background of onelove photography here). Sara of onelove is here to dish out all of her go-to tips — from styling, to picking the location, to how to have fun in front of the camera – as well as sharing a bunch of her gorgeous photos for inspiration!
So, here’s one thing you can check off your To-Do list, and that’s “What the heck do I wear for engagement photos?” Let’s read on for the answer!
1. Set the Stage
The location of your shoot should set the stage for your look. You can create one cohesive story by tying together the background with your outfit selections and any (optional) props. Consider pairing a chic evening look strolling through the streets of an urban downtown. Or, a cozy knit sweatshirt and jeans wrapped up with your love in a blanket in the outdoors. Here are a few more ideas to get you started: meadows + fields, your favorite bar/foodie hangout, beach, playful amusement park, dramatic forests, planes, trains and automobiles (or even a sailboat!), the desert, ice cream shop/candy shop, themed after your favorite movie/time period, or a snowy cabin area. Just a few ideas 🙂
Keep in mind that some locations require permits to photograph at. Double check in advance! Consider the seasons and how they change the look of your location. (For example: an open field in February will be green and lush, however in June it will be golden brown). Be prepared for changing weather + be clear with your photographer on how you feel about shooting in the rain, so you guys can make a game plan in the event of. Most photographers LOVE shooting in the rain — it can make for some of the most romantic and sultry images.
2. Work What Your Mama Gave Ya!
If you have a part of your body you like, consider showing it off! If that’s a nice booty, wear a tight pencil skirt. Or make your gorgeous locks the centerpiece if you have a long, flowing mane. Play around with a shorter hemline and keep your leg line even longer with nude pumps or tan booties.
3. A Colorful Accent That Pops
Accents photograph amazingly. Here are some ideas: a bright pair of heels, or standout jewelry paired with a neutral outfit; a bright skirt/dress with neutral shoes/accessories; if your partner is wearing neutrals, go ahead and slip into a bit of color. The contrast will look awesome on camera! Additionally, new shoes can do wonders for a man, too.
4. Channel Your Wedding Day Vibe
Give a nod to your bridal look and the big day approaching, by donning something white and romantic. It can be one of several looks for the shoot!
Find a way to coordinate without looking too “matchy”. While you don’t want to look like twins, you do want the look to feel balanced. One thing to remember is you don’t have to wear the same exact color. The same color family would work well (example: bold purple and light purple). Style-wise, make sure you both match the overall “feel” of your look. (i.e. if she wears an elegant dress, then dress him up a little, too.)
6. Love Your Body
If you have an area you want to avoid drawing attention to, let your photographer know — we have all sorts of tricks and angles to make you look your best. In the end, put in the effort, and dress accordingly, but love YOUR body. It’s fun to go fashion-forward, but it’s just as awesome to wear pieces that feel authentically you. If you feel like yourself, you’ll look more natural on camera, too.
7. Be Real + Comfortable
Planning to shoot in a rugged terrain (loose soil, gravel, hiking involved) or a place where you’ll be lifted or carried? Think about how your body will look and feel there. Imagine yourself going through the terrain. You won’t want to be wearing a mini-skirt if your partner scoops you up in the air. You want to feel comfortable, too. If boots and jeans are more you, stick with what works. If you want to wear heels in a rugged area, bring a pair of sandals or shoes to walk in.
8. Don’t Fly Away
Billowy tops and dresses, or anything hanging off your body in too many places can look messy, or make your body look bigger than it is. If you like flowy tops, pair it with skinny jeans, or shorts to balance the look; or if it’s a tulle skirt, pair it with a closer fitting top.
9. Let it Flow
From the right angles and in the right weather, a flowy skirt or dress can look amazing. Here’s an idea: work the asymmetrical hemline of your dress with a photo of you and your fiancé walking.
10. Have a Cold One
We have known many a couple to toss back a few before a shoot in order to relax. Of course considering safe driving, we definitely do not discourage having a drink before or during the shoot if it makes you feel more comfortable (poppin’ some bubbly does photograph well!) 😉
11. Work It From All Angles
A photo from behind can be just as stunning as one from the front, especially when your outfit has an amazing back design or opening.
12. Options, Options, Options!
It’s generally recommended to bring several different outfits so that you can change for a different location. Most couples typically bring 2-3 outfits depending on the locations and how much time they have. They almost always end up doing at least one outfit change. Guys don’t always change their whole outfit, instead they might change only their shirt or jacket. Oh, and ladies! We know how hard it is to find a great strapless bra, so we highly recommend this strapless bra if you are looking for one to work with that new dress or top!
13. Get Some Sun
Strip down + rock that swim suit. Head to the nearest pool, lake, or even a river and sit back and enjoy the sun. Maybe your feet in the sand with a beer in hand, hang out on color pool toys or splash in the lake!
14. Plan Plenty of Time
The single biggest snag we run into at engagement sessions is a couple running late, and feeling super stressed about it (not to mention the arguments in the car on the way there about who made who late). It can make it hard to feel relaxed and lovey-dovey in photos the moment you arrive. Plan to have your hair and makeup done at least an HOUR before you plan to leave. And plan extra time for traffic + to arrive early even! Most importantly: Be comfortable and have fun with it! You will have a much better time which will make for better photos.
15. What Should I Bring?
Since many couples aren’t used to being professionally photographed, an accessory or prop of some kind can help you feel a little more styled and warm you up. If you’re going to incorporate props, make sure it has meaning! Your props should accessorize you and not distract from you. Your choice of location and the props should all make one cohesive story of you.
Try some of these ideas: a pet (Tip: bring a friend to help handle them when you are shooting, unless they are very well behaved), your family! (if you have children, consider bringing them for part of your session. Then, you can focus on just the two of you after!), sunglasses, floral hair wreaths, bunting banners (signs spelling words), a “Thank You” or “Save the Date” sign on a poster-board for personalized thank you and save the date cards, a vintage car (shiny and restored, or old and beat-up — this is one of THE best photographable props), instruments you play, skateboards, a colorful umbrella, Polaroid camera, a quilt and picnic supplies, floppy hats, a cool couch or chair (yeah, we can tote around some furniture for your awesome session), and finally anything else that makes your relationship unique or that is special to you!
16. Balloons — Yes or No?
Balloons are SO much fun, but they can be a headache if you are not careful… If it’s a particularly windy day or location (like the beach), consider the battle to hold onto them and if they will stay upright in your photos. If it’s not windy — you’re in the clear!
17. Go Glam
This is a great time to have a “trial” with your wedding day makeup artist. Plus, it’s true that a little more dramatic makeup and hair is often needed in photographs (mascara/eyeliner/lashes as well as lipstick/blush). Occasionally we have a bride who calls us before or after her shoot, worried that the makeup was too dramatic for her normal taste, unsure of how it will look in photographs. Nearly every time, it actually photographs PERFECTLY — so feel free to kick the beauty enhancements up a notch! Also, it’s not a bad idea to get a manicure. Your new bling will be the star in these pictures
18. Final Advice
Have FUN! Being engaged is an incredibly fun and short period of the entirety of your (future married) lives together. Focus on being yourself. Don’t try and be someone else’s Pinterest board. Dress up, but not so much that you feel uncomfortable. Hang out and interact with each other the way you normally do. Actually, we want you to focus on each other SO MUCH MORE than you normally do! Fix your eyes on your love, and focus on all the reasons why you adore them, and try to forget the camera. Goof around, make silly faces, play and laugh! Be you!
Engagement sessions can be super creative, however that doesn’t mean it’s all on you to make it that way! A lot of couples like to work with a day-of stylist/idea maker to bring together a really cute and unique concept/theme for the shoot. Think a stylist or coordinator might just be what you need? Check out some of our darling GWS Preferred Artists!
We hope this helps + makes you feel more comfortable before taking engagement photos. A huge thank you to onelove photography for all the pointers! If you have any advice to add, feel free to share it below. 🙂
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