Engagement photos may seem like just another thing to add to the endless list of to-dos before the big day, but they are an important part of the whole wedding planning process. Besides the practical uses of having these photos (you may choose to use them for your save-the-dates, or post them on your wedding website), these photos will be cherished by you and your partner for years to come. An engagement shoot should be a fun experience, but in order to ensure it is as easy-breezy as possible, you’ll want to do a bit of preparation.
If you haven’t picked a photographer yet…
…do your research! There is a good chance you’ll want to use the same person for your wedding photos, so take this step seriously. Photographers vary in their style and capabilities, so you’ll want to do some digging to find someone who will be able to capture the aesthetic of you and your partner. Look at the online portfolios of photographers in your area, and start taking note of what styles you like and dislike. As you do your research, you’ll start to get an idea of your preferences in terms of the look of engagement photos.
Once you’ve picked a few candidates, start looking into online reviews to see if previous clients enjoyed their experience. The demeanor and attitude of a photographer during a session is just as important as the technical and creative skills they bring to the shoot. If a photographer makes you feel uncomfortable or not at ease, that will reflect through the photos. If possible, try to set up a quick meeting or phone call with the potential photographer to make sure you can get a feel of their personality and work-style before moving forward.
Once you’ve hired your photographer…
…you can begin to confirm the concrete details with them, such as date and time, the location(s), and how many outfit looks you will be shooting. This is a great time to mention which of their photos from their portfolio you particularly like, so that they can get an idea of what you are looking for and make appropriate suggestions.
The photographer will likely have a few beautiful location options where they’ve shot before. If you have a location that has significance to you and your partner, such as the place you had your first date, a park you visit every weekend, or the campus of the school you both attended, mention it to the photographer to see if it’s a viable spot for a shoot.
Your photographer may give you a guide or some tips on outfits, as well as specific suggestions, such as colors to wear that work with their style. In general, it is best to avoid patterns and any trendy or blingy statement pieces. You’ll want the focus to be on the two of you, not any distracting clothing items.
Keep comfort in mind when pulling from your closet. Of course, you want to look good, but it’s just as important that you feel good–find that balance between fashion and comfort. Avoid shoes that are hard to walk in, or an itchy sweater that will have you scratching your back between each shot.
When coordinating the outfits of you and your partner, don’t worry about matching your looks–focus more on options that complement each other. For example, if you are wearing a burgundy top, your partner can wear a color that meshes well, such as an ivory or grey.
It’s best to bring a couple of options for each look you are doing. If you are doing one dressy look and one casual look, bring at least 2 choices for each (a total of 4 outfits per person). This will give the photographer wiggle room to switch out pieces if something isn’t photographing well.
Hair and Makeup:
Your hair and makeup for an engagement shoot should reflect your typical style, but it may need to be amped up to present well on camera. If you go for a natural, light look on a day to day basis, you’ll want to go a bit bolder with your eye makeup, or add a pop of color to your lips. Photos can wash out a makeup look, and your makeup may need to be heavier than you are used to in order to work for the photo. You’ll also want to make sure you put the extra work in so that your hair stays in place throughout the shoot.
If you are confident in your hair and makeup skills and know how to create the perfect look for the camera, the DIY route is probably right for you if you want to save some money. However, if you don’t consider yourself a makeup maven, the best option is to go with the professionals. Your day to day makeup look likely won’t be the best possible option for your photos. You’ll save yourself some stress by working with someone who knows how to create a look for the camera. If you do choose to hire someone, this is a great time to do a trial run with a potential hair and makeup team for your wedding day.
The morning of the shoot…
…do what you can to de-stress, energize, and get in a positive mindset. Don’t show up to your shoot stressed or in a bad mood–you want your photos to capture your genuine happiness! Try working out, spending a lazy morning in bed with a good book, or watching a couple episodes of your favorite TV show. Of course, you don’t want to rush getting ready for the shoot, so give yourself ample time leading up to it. Make sure you arrive rested and well-fed, and pack a snack if you think you might get hungry.
During the session…
…trust the photographer and let go so that you can have fun with it! Don’t worry if you aren’t a professional model–the photographer works with everyday people, and it’s part of their job to know tips and tricks to make their clients feel comfortable and get the best photos.
As you are going through the shoot, try your best to ignore the photographer and focus on enjoying the moment with your partner. In the end, the shoot should be a fun and memorable experience. These are photos that capture an exciting time in your life, and you’ll cherish them forever. As long as you do a bit of prep work beforehand, you can trust that the shoot day will go perfectly!
If you are looking to meet with engagement photographers from all around Georgia, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You’ll be able to meet with a variety of wedding professionals, and will find the photographer who is the perfect match for you and your partner!