Preparing for Pinterest-worthy engagement photos may seem like another stressful wedding to-do but with a little guidance and a willingness to go with the flow, the photos will turn out better than you imagined.
Chase and I have the pleasure of working with super-talented Elizabeth of Elizabeth Carrie Photography during our wedding planning process. Together, Elizabeth and I came up with the best tips and advice for couples preparing for engagement photos.
Outfits for Engagement Photos
When deciding what to wear for engagement photos, there are a few key things to consider. Elizabeth recommends a couple plans three outfits: one formal, one casual and one specific to the couple (example: apparel from your alma mater). Having a variety of outfit ideas will ensure a variety of photos. In general, though, Elizabeth says the nicer the better when it comes to clothing.
Dressing up more will make the photos feel special. Ladies, don’t be afraid to invest in or rent a fancy dress. Guys, wearing a suit and tie looks amazing in photos. Make sure to start your engagement session wearing the most formal outfit you’ve selected while your hair and makeup are fresh.
As for what exactly you should or shouldn’t wear for engagement photos, Elizabeth says to steer clear of bright or neon colors. That doesn’t mean fun colors are off limits, but keep in mind bright colors can alter the way your skin tone looks in photos in an unflattering way. It’s also good to avoid bold patterns that steal too much attention from the face — solids and simple patterns work best. Elizabeth also suggests a couple not be too matchy-matchy. Instead, opt for outfits that complement each other.
Beauty Tips for Engagement Photos
There are a few important beauty to-dos when preparing for engagement photos.
First off, make sure your ring is cleaned. Your ring will be photographed up close during your engagement photos, so you’ll want it to sparkle. This is something I forgot about until the day of our photo shoot, so I had to rely on a quick fix instead of a proper cleaning. Up-close hand shots also mean a manicure is a must.
Elizabeth also suggests the bride-to-be gets her makeup professionally done beforehand — not to make you look different but to make you look like your best self. Wearing false eyelashes (which I did) is something Elizabeth and I both recommend as well. False lashes draw more attention to the eyes, which are typically the focal point in pictures. For hair, avoid straightened hairstyles that can make your face look long in photos. Adding curls or volume is best for framing the face.
Locations & Timing
Picking locations for engagement photos is, I’ll admit, not easy. When choosing a location, Elizabeth says to pick a place that reflects the clothing style you’ve chosen. For example, you wouldn’t find a suit and tie in the middle of a corn field. Elizabeth tends to look for simple backgrounds that won’t pull attention away from the couple. If you’re looking for a place you feel most comfortable, try shooting engagement photos in a meaningful spot like your living room.
As for timing, plan for an engagement session to last about two hours. It’s best to start around three hours before sunset, giving the photographer time to catch you and your fiance during the Golden Hour, or the most flattering natural light of the day.
What Not to Do
Researched poses. Even if you’re a planner like me with a Pinterest board full of ideas, don’t do it. Be willing to experiment with your photographer and trust her creativity. Having a strict photo list may be asking for trouble because you may not be able to get certain poses to look right with your circumstances. Look to Pinterest as a tool to use as a last resort when you feel like you’ve tried everything else. When Chase and I did our engagement session with Elizabeth, I had a few ideas pinned that we saved for the very end of the session. For more tips on how to look candid in your engagement photos, check out this blog post.