Some great suggestions on how to look and feel amazing during your engagement photos, from Victoria Wedding Photography team, Pebble and Pine Photography.
Let's start with why we love engagement sessions so much! We get asked a lot by couples if engagement sessions are a totally necessary part of getting married. The truth is, they aren't. You can get married without having engagement sessions and your marriage is still just as legal, haha. However, we've found that engagement sessions are so valuable because they are a great way for us to get to know our couples a bit more before the wedding. It helps us to see how you interact with each other, get to know your dynamic as a couple, and how we can best make you feeling comfortable and confident in front of the lens so the wedding day is effortless and has a smooth natural flow to it. It's also incredibly helpful and fun for our couples who are preparing for the big day. It shows you how we work as a photography duo, how you feel being photographed, and help you to get more comfortable in front of our lenses, so that you have less to feel nervous about when your wedding day comes.
In our experience of photographing weddings, we've found that many of the couples we work with have not had professional photos done together before working with us. They often have questions about how they can best prepare for the engagement session, so we've put together a handy little tips list. That way, you can put your nerves at ease, and feel excited!
First and most importantly to remember; this is not a do-or-die list. As with all advice, follow it to the degree that you're comfortable with, and that feels right for you!
Ability to move freely.
Because we’ll be walking around, and getting the two of you interacting with each other, the ability to move around with ease is the best way to feel natural in front of the camera. You want to make sure that you can wrap your arms around each other comfortably, and also be able to walk and sit down without worrying what your clothes are doing, or feeling restricted by them. We also love taking candid photos of you guys just spending time together, so the less you carry with you (purses, backpacks, etc), the more spontaneous the photos can be. Some couples like to make sure they can keep their phones close by, or like to bring a small makeup/lip touch-up kit along which is totally fine. In those instances, we will usually just carry those things for you in our camera bags until you need them, so they don’t show through your pockets and clothes.
Wear the clothes, and do the hair and makeup style that make you feel like the most confident, comfortable, and vibrant version of yourself.
Keep in mind that when you look at your photos later, we want you to feel like your photos are a reflection of your true self, not a costumey version of yourself.
Our best advice is to not wear clothes, or get hair and makeup done to an extreme or style that feels unnatural or uncharacteristic of you. The best way to look good on camera is to feel like yourself!
Brides who are planning to have hair and makeup done at the wedding often opt to have some hair and makeup for the engagement session, to see how it feels to be photographed with it done. Typically it’s slightly more toned-down, and less formal than it would be on the wedding day. The best way to look good on camera is to feel like yourself!
Decide on a location you love and feel comfortable in.
We encourage couples to choose a place of significance to them, and a place they feel comfortable in. We love engagement sessions to tell some kind of story and have a flow to them, so that you don’t feel like you're just standing in front of the camera posing the whole time. If you're in a place you love and are excited about, you'll feel more at ease in front of the camera. This way we can get you interacting with each other to really capture your personalities, and your dynamic together. A lot of couples choose walks on the beach or the woods in areas they like, or decide they want to have a date night, like a wine-and-sunset picnic somewhere. Other couples choose to have their photos taken doing a hobby they enjoy doing. We like to chat with our couples about ideas that work best to reflect their life together.
Match your engagement style vibe to the atmosphere and style you’ve planned your wedding.
Weddings nowadays have become less of a traditional mould, and more of an expression of your relationship. Chances are, you’ve planned your wedding to reflect your personalities, your style and taste, and of course your eccentricities. We recommend matching your engagement style to fit amongst the same general style of your wedding, and your own personal style. Some couples consider themselves more outdoorsy and adventurous. Some couples vibe with boho, whereas others are more modern and edgy, etc. So to avoid feeling uncomfortable or inauthentic to yourself, we usually recommend couples dress in what Matt refers to as, “casual plus, or better". It's a spruced up version of your own real, personal style. For example, a couple we shot last year, during a beach sunset, described their outfit choice this way, “we chose outfits to that we would wear to a beachfront patio, on a night out for dinner and drinks with good friends we hadn’t seen for a long time.”
Complement each other’s style.
This is not a suggestion to wear a matchy-matchy couples onesie outfit, though that would be hilarious. We do, however, recommend your clothes complement each other’s style and scale of formality. We’ve found most couples have a similar style anyways, but we just throw this in as a tip. For example, if one of you is in a suit jacket, the other might not want to wear those oh-so-cozy LuLus and gym top. Or, if one is in a brightly coloured, patterned summer dress, the other probably wouldn’t be rocking the Johnny Cash all-black-from-head-to-toe look. You're both individuals, but these photos show how you complement each other as two equal parts of a whole.
Play off the season and location.
This all goes with the goal of feeling comfortable and natural in your surroundings. We want you to dress and feel awesome for the weather, and location you're in. Heels aren't always the best shoe choice for snowy mountains or sandy beaches. If you're planning to rock a strapless dress at the top of Cypress in the winter, bring along a cute jacket to wear. If you're planning a romantic summer sunset on a hot beach, leave that parka at home and wear layers instead.
Don't shy away from bright colours or prints, but avoid fluorescent neon materials.
Bold prints and vibrant colours can be a great way to show your personal style, but be weary of fluorescent and neon. Think Olivia Newton John in her 80’s aerobic leotards. While these types of colours are mostly seen in workout and road-worker attire to promote visibility and road safety, they have started to pop up in regular style as well for a visual punch. Great in real life, but these fluorescent and neon colours are so reflective that they’ll reflect their own colour onto your skin in photographs. If these colours are on the front of your shirt, they will often cast their colour up onto your face and your partner’s, even on a cloudy day. (We’ll have a photo in the blog to show an example of this effect.)
A good night sleep, proper meals, and lots of water!
This is just a general rule for day to day life, but it applies to the day of your photoshoot as well. If you’re nervous the night before, try to hit the hay early to make sure you’re not tired the evening of your session. If you’re busy with hair and makeup on the day of, make sure to allot time for food and water through the day of your the photo session. It’s the best way to look vibrant, feel refreshed, and stay excited through your photos together. Plus, as we all know, it’s hard to smile and feel lovey when we’re hangry.
These are some of our prep / attire tips. But again, only follow these to the degree that you’re comfortable with, and don’t feel restricted by. We usually spend a few minutes at the start of each photo shoot to let you guys know what expect so that you know how to interact with each other and the camera during the photoshoot. We’ll shake out all those nervous, awkward feelings at the start so you guys can feel awesome in the photos!
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