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NOTE: Due to COVID-19 regulations, responses may be slower than usual. SESSIONS WILL RESUME IN SEPTEMBER 2020

Styling Your Engagement Session

In a few short weeks, we're going to meet for the first (or second!) time. And not just any meeting, but the first time that you and I work as a team to create timeless images and some pretty magical moments. That's right—your engagement session.

 

I know, I know. Some people have no idea why it's necessary. Others are totally for it because they have never had pictures done professionally of them. Or they don't have enough. Or hell it's a great excuse to just go out into town and look fancy. Whatever the reason, you're here to create a session that's going to be entirely YOU. That's what this guide is here for. You're going to bring me that amazing personality, and I'm going to bring you a few awesome tips on how to style that personality.

 

So let's get started!

Here are the Rules (Sort of...)

This is definitely not a rule book. At the end of the day, the location you choose and outfits you select won't matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. I want you to relax and enjoy your engagement session. Laugh a lot. Talk a lot. Play a lot. Do whatever you want and ignore my presence. I will take care of the rest!

 

  • Most of my couples have two outfits for their engagement session. One outfit is normally on the dressier side and one outfit is more relaxed and casual. The more outfits you have, the fewer portraits you’ll receive but you will have more variety in your portraits. If you want to wear just one outfit and rock it, do it.
  • Coordinating doesn’t mean “matching”. Wearing the same color in a different shade is actually more ideal than trying to find the EXACT color purple! For example, I would avoid both wearing navy tops and khaki bottoms because it could potentially come across as being very uniform-esque!
  • If one of you is wearing something with a lot of color and pattern, sometimes it’s best to have the other person wear a neutral to tone it down a bit.
  • This is just an idea! Take it or leave it! Some couples plan their attire to coordinate with their wedding day so that their Save The Dates match the wedding theme and decor!
  • Make sure you are equal when it comes to how formal your attire is. If the bride is wearing a little black dress…. the groom probably shouldn’t be in shorts and tennis shoes.
  • Don’t be afraid to be yourself and wear something that is unique to you! It’s great to wear a dress with a cardigan…. that’s probably what I would wear!… but if you have a unique style, be sure to show it off! Some of my favorite engagement shoots have incorporated my couple’s unique style!
  • Don’t over think it! Some of my favorite outfits have been when the guy is just wearing a simple colored v-neck!
  • If you’re wearing plaid or other patterns, the bigger the better! Larger plaid photographs better than tiny little-checkered patterns. It would be better to have a solid dress shirt than a shirt with teeny tiny patterns. The camera can’t pick those tiny patterns up from far away and that can sometimes result in chromatic aberration.
  • Accessorize! Scarves, necklaces, belts…. I love them all! They can add so much to an outfit AND it gives you something to hold onto if you don’t have long hair!
  • Last but not least, this is a tip that I highly recommend paying attention to: Wear attire that is flattering to your figure and your skin tone. We all know that everyone has certain things that look GREAT on them and certain things that aren’t really made for them. For example… I'm dark skin, so I know wearing dark blacks is probably not going to really make me pop in pictures. That's why I love wearing colors like yellow and pink to really make my skin pop and my portraits light up.
  • Also, wear what you're comfortable in. Sure, I gave you a whole list of ideas and things to do but the bottom line is if you don't feel comfortable in it, you won't LOOK comfortable in it picture wise. If you don’t like the way you look in stripes on a normal, day-to-day basis, you’re not going to love the way you look in your images that I take. If you’re self conscious about your legs, don’t wear a mini-skirt. If you’re self-conscious about your arms, it’s probably not smart to wear a tube top. Don't just wear what makes you look good, but also FEEL good.
  • Bottom line, make sure you wear something that you’re comfortable in. Sure, I’m going to teach you how to pose in super flattering ways, but you’ll love your images so much more if you wear an outfit that you’re comfortable and CONFIDENT in! Confidence photographs well!

Tips & Tricks

There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun!

If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our brides love Rent the Runway for their engagement photos because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks. Plus, you can send the outfits back when the session is over. Other couples just love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) into their closet! Tip — Want romantic images? Flowy dresses. All the way.

 

Check out TheBlackTux.com, its our favorite! Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. If you feel like a suit doesn't suit you, pun intended :) Aim for long pants and a nice button down. Long pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on the face you fell in love with. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, baggy clothes, and sandals at home.

 

Think details! Ties, bowties, cool socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit. You can still mix and match accessories to compliment both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, you win.

 

Choose outfits like you're going on a casual date or out to dinner. It's about capturing you two being in love, enjoying each other's company, so dress the part of two people enjoying an evening out as that is exactly what we will be doing ... with a photographer.

 

DO SOMETHING FUN!

It’s always fun to incorporate your favorite activities to the session. It really helps to make the shoot mere personal and interesting. Sports are also a great idea that can be easily incorporated. You guys enjoy surfing? We can definitely have that on your shoot. Have a fire pit? Make some marshmallows! From a picnic at the park, to a ride in a vintage car, activities always bring a special touch to sessions.

 

BRING A PROP!

Props are not a must, but they can look really nice in a portrait session. Specially with children, props can be very productive. Perhaps a sign with the Family's last name, the date your Baby will be born, or the date of your Wedding! Here are a few places I recommend to look for some cool family photography session props: Etsy, World Market, Amazon, and Home Goods.

 

DON'T HOLD BACK!

Be yourself! While that might be obvious, it’s not a concept that is very easily applied. Don’t act like you think you should, I want to find the real “you”.

 

TRUST ME!

It’s my job to direct you and make you and your loved ones feel comfortable. While some people need more direction than others, I will definitely help when you are not sure what to do. Portrait sessions are usually a new experience and I am very used to dealing with first timers. Trust is a very strong foundation in the relationship between the client and the photographer, and the more you trust me, the more relaxed your family photography session will be.

 

Enjoy every minute of your Engagement session, and use that to get more comfortable in front of the camera. Remember what our goal is here: to create natural, fun images that represent you as a couple. I don’t expect you to go all “America’s Next Top Model” on me. In fact I'd prefer you don't. Be YOU! I want the genuine you. If it's being awkward, give it to me. If it's lots of laughter or making jokes, show it. Maybe you don't even smile!

 

I just want you to be yourselves. This is your session, not mine!

 

You're the Subject, I'm just the Artist.

Things to Keep in Mind

TURN AROUND TIME: The turn around time for us to deliver your engagement session is 2-3 weeks.

 

SAVE THE DATES: These should usually be sent out around 8-9 months prior to your wedding.

 

GUEST BOOKS: If you aren't planning on using your engagement session images for your Save The Date or Invitation, but would like to use them at your wedding (for example, as a guest book), add at least a month from delivery to be able to design, revise and order your book.

 

WEATHER: Sessions are generally rescheduled if there is a 50% or more chance of rain on the day of session. We'll stay in touch leading up to your session and make this decision together the day leading up to and sometimes the day of.

 

After it's all said in done, why not go celebrate? Don't forget to plan a dinner date! You’re already going to be all dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? We know the wedding planning process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together. You deserve it!

 

Just like your wedding, the more you plan and invest in your engagement session the smoother it will go and better it will be. Don't leave the details of your session to the last minute. This will only create stress and will take away from what it is supposed to be - FUN!

 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have. I'm here for you and want to create a session and experience that is perfect! No question, suggestion, or comment can ever deter me away from making this work out for the both of us.

Happy Session Day! Can't wait to see you!