Welcome to the ultimate engagement shoot planning guide! Since we have been doing these sessions for many years, we have become experts on the clothes that photograph the best and have discovered many cool spots. We know that it can be overwhelming to decide what style and location is the best fit for you, so we thought we’d offer some advice! We have all of the info you could want to plan your engagement shoot! We started of with wardrobe advice, but you can jump to the Locations and Themes section here (or scroll down).
Wardrobe Advice for Engagement Shoots
As far as clothes go, the most important thing is for you to be you, and to feel comfortable in whatever you wear. You know those outfits that you are “almost” comfortable in, but have to tug at sometimes or only like from one angle? Those aren’t the best for engagement shoots because the last thing that you want is to feel even a little bit self conscious. If it is already in your head that you don’t like the way that a dress sits on your hips or if you are worried that your skinny jeans might be just a little bit too skinny, you most likely will still think that when you see your photos. So even if it’s not your newest outfit, wear your favorite clothes that you know you look awesome in. The outfits that you choose are meant to be just one of the elements that tell the story of who you are, but shouldn’t be the first thing that people see when they look at your photos. Here are a few tips that should help!
You should coordinate but you don’t have to match
It is no longer “in” to do the white shirts and jeans thing and in fact, matching too much can be weird. But coordinating is important! You know, just be on the same page. For the most part, you will be pleased to find that when you do wear the clothes that represent you well, you probably coordinate more than you knew. With the current popularity of mixing patters and bold colors, it can almost be harder to not coordinate! That said, aim for wearing colors that go well together.
Use accessories to add visual interest
Accessories will make your outfit more interesting as well as pull your theme together. Turquoise jewelry can really bring a white dress to life the same way a colorful bow-tie makes an average button-up dressier. A big fuzzy aviator hat or a scarf helps to identify the season. And one of the best accessories are shoes! It is an easy way add a pop of color or to define the genre (like wearing cowboy boots).
Find inspiration online
You’ll find no shortage of ideas for wardrobes on the internet…but don’t get overwhelmed! Pinterest can be your best ally, or make a Saturday afternoon disappear without a trace. But you can find cool boards with color stories and inspirations, and will even have the links to where you can buy the items. It can also help to look through other people’s engagement photos from similar locations to see what they wore! Our blog and Facebook pages are great spots to see the most recent shoots!
Your wardrobe should match the location of your shoot
You want your wardrobe to mimic the location you’ve picked. For an urban shoot, you could go super dressy or dress casually in a hoodie and Chucks. Pretty dresses and khakis or jeans and polos work great for an outdoor park or field. Most of the time our clients mix it up with two outfits – one more dressy, and one more casual. Unless you are trying to be ironic, it can look weird to wear an evening gown in a natural field of tall grasses. Try to be season and location appropriate.
Do a trial run before the shoot
Don’t just count on that sweater that you haven’t worn in a year to fit the way that it used to, or trust that the zipper on your dress works. Put on the outfits that you plan to wear at the same time to make sure that you don’t only like how you look in it, but that you like the way that you look together.
Avoid busy patterns, logos and graphics
Don’t be afraid of patterns but you do want to be careful about them being TOO wild or obvious. Plaids, florals, and quiet stripes for example can all look really awesome! Avoid big logos or messages, again, you want people to see you and not reading your shirt. Logos also tend to date photos (remember the giant GAP sweatshirts from the 90′s?!). A popular exception to this is wearing sports jerseys from your favorite team.
Avoid obvious trends
In the 80s, we all thought that shoulder pads and leg warmers would stand the test of time. Okay, well maybe not leg warmers, but you get it. What is in style today may not be in the future and these photos will be displayed for a very long time. Your goal should be to be as timeless as possible. If you do have one outfit that is a bit trendy, maybe have your other outfit be a little more simple so that if you decide that you are over that certain look, at least you will have some photos that might last longer.
Make-up is an easy way to highlight your best features. Even if you don’t normally wear make-up, we recommend that you use a small amount of mascara and lip gloss. Your features translate differently in a photo than they do in the mirror. Even if you think it looks like you are wearing a lot of makeup in person, in a photo it will usually just look like the normal you. Don’t go too crazy – if you lean on the more simple side, don’t over-do it, you still want to look like you! But definitely keep in mind that the camera, especially when flashes are used, can wash you out and a little makeup will go a long way.
Locations & Engagement Theme Ideas
The best part of being on-site photographers is that there are endless possibilities for locations and themes for your engagement shoot. The goal is to capture you doing something that you love to do together. We’d like it to feel like a fun date – not like a boring old engagement shoot. So think outside of the box and get creative! Even if your theme has already been done, what makes it unique and special is YOU. Just talk to your photographer about your ideas and we will help you find the perfect location. We look forward to seeing what our couples think of this next year!