Tips to help you look your best in your engagement photographs
Taking engagement session may be something you’re greatly looking forward to, especially if you’re planning on using those photos for your save-the-dates, wedding website, photo slideshow played on your wedding day and even as decorations at your wedding reception.
But before you step in front of the camera with your partner, it’s important to take a step back and prepare yourself for the photo shoot. Twisting and turning your bodies into poses, smiling for hours on end, and figuring out the best outfits to wear takes time, practice, and preparation.
Engagement session outfits
I highly recommend at least two outfits: one smart casual and one more fancy or evening attire. Sequins dress, tulle skirt, whatever you have been dying to wear and needed an excuse to do so, now is the time. Make sure that you both are equal when it comes to how formal your attire is. If you’re wearing evening dress, your partner should also be dressed up. Choose more classic than trendy clothes. These photos will last a lifetime and you want to look chic and elegant in them few years down the road.
Colour coordinate but do not wear matching outfits. Wearing the same colour in different share is actually more ideal than trying to find the exact same colour. Wearing different colours or shades is even more ideal. When tying together your outfit with his, your outfits will look most cohesive on camera if the colour palettes coordinate (use a colour wheel to help you if you are unsure on picking the right colours). Avoid neon colours, go for pastes, cool tones or neutral colours.
Dress for the season
Your outdoor settings would look perfect if you could dress for the season! Autumn coats and knit scarves look awesome among the fallen leaves, and floral dresses and linen look so comfy among the spring flowers.Last but not least: wear clothes that are flattering for your figure and your skin tone. We all know that everyone has certain things that look great on them and others that are not really made for them. The right posing also helps but this will be your photographer responsibility to guide you on this.
Clothes flattering your figure
- Pear-Shaped: To show off your curves, focus on cinching the waist with an A-line design that flares at the bottom.
- Apple-Shaped: An A-line style with a gradual flow from the waist to the legs is always flattering. This shape is also great for a dress with texture and/or a deep V-neck.
- Busty: Scoop and sweetheart necklines offer support and open up the décolletage so the focus is on the face rather than the bust.
- Small Chest: Look for textured or ruched styles to create fullness in the chest area.
- Plus Size: Engagement photos featuring an empire-waist are really great. They’re super flattering and emphasize the smallest portion under the bust, creating the effect of a slender silhouette from top to bottom.
If you want an extra romantic images, choose something long and flowy as fabrics flowing in the wind will look great on photos. And they are pretty classic so you can’t go wrong with these.
Your footwear is also about making a statement. Don’t forget to wear nice shoes matching your outfit as there will be full length portraits taken too. Do bring an additional, comfy pair of shoes, in case you need to walk from the car park to your session location and the path may be a bit uneven or dusty. You don’t want to ruin your favourite pair of heels!
This also applies to the guys as their shoes are usually forgotten. Best if they have something comfy for walking to the shoot location.
Some great accessories complimenting your outfit are also very important. Glasses, statement necklaces, flower crown or just one big flower behind your ear (can be real or one of many great designs available on Etsy). For a guys it could be a bowtie (as long as it matches the outfits), watch or again glasses. If you are using prescription glasses, make sure they have anti glare coating, to avoid too much reflection on the photos.
Makeup and hair
Engagement session is a great excuse for having your wedding makeup trial done so you can test it how it looks on the photos before your big day. If you’ve already had your trial, I’d still recommend having your makeup applied and hair done professionally. There are no specific makeup styles recommended for the session as longs as it’s done well. Personally I think statement lips or bold eye makeup is fine as long as it feels like you. If you’re the kind of smokey-eye-till-I-die girl – wear it!
One thing to avoid would be cake foundation & powder as they only really look good on selfies with strong filters or a harsh artificial light. Professional cameras and lenses as well as natural light will be less forgiving and any textures will be very visible. The less coverage you can get away with, the better. I always retouch skin on my photos so any blemishes or uneven skin are removed. Check with your photographer as not many wish to do to so.
Props can add more interest and fun to your session. Some great examples are:
- floral bouquet
- mug with a quote/ statement
- engagement sign
- dog (or cat!) with engagement sign
- engagement balloon (not on a windy day)
- bottle of bubbly with glasses
- personalised kite
- engagement date sign
- see through or light coloured umbrella
Find engagement photos on the Internet that you love and you would love to recreate. Pick only the ones that just feel like you and send these to your photographer as an inspiration. It may be also a good idea to practice some of these with your partner in front of a mirror. Just bear in mind camera sees things differently and your photographer may adjust the pose just to make sure you look your absolute best.
Have a look at the following for some inspo:
Instagram hashtags: #engagementphotos #engagementphotoinspiration #engagementphotography #engagementshoot #engagementphotoshoot
100 great ideas for engagement photos
Also check out this awesome article on smashing your pre-wedding shoot I found on Wedding Wire
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you to help with your engagement session. Everyone, even the models I work with, feel a bit stressed and awkward at the beginning of the photoshoot. It takes a few test pics and starting with some basic poses to get going and find a feel for the session. Each one is different and depends greatly on the people photographed, what their personalities are and what they feel comfortable with. I always talk to my clients and make jokes to get them feel more relaxed and encourage them to do the same. If the have a conversation and laugh together, we will have some cracking pictures. No need to be deadly serious. The more fun we have, the better. So just relax 🙂
I hope these few tips help you with preparation for your own engagement session and that you have some amazing photos to share with everyone.
Stay tuned for more blog posts. I’ll be covering choosing the right location for your engagement shoot in the next article.
Hope you have a great day xx
Renata is a contemporary Worcestershire wedding photographer, specialising in wedding day documentary and couple portraits.