Being in a special relationship is such an amazing time in one’s life. And once there is a ring involved, it’s a short season of dreaming and anticipation of one of the most memorable and life-changing moments you’ll ever have. Your couple/engagement photos announcing your big life decision should be something special and not rushed. They should be images that really portray your love, your friendship and your joy. However, most people are camera shy, and could have their first experience as a model for a professional photographer the day of their session. No pressure, right? Here are some tips to help you look camera ready for your big photo op:
Probably the most frequent question I am asked when planning a session is the dreaded, “what should we wear?”. First, it’s important to know if your photographer will allow outfit changes during your session. I ask my clients to choose 2-3 outfit choices for their photos. You want to have an array of style options – semi-formal, casual, sporty and maybe seasonal. I definitely encourage couples to do one semi-formal outfit. Think – cute short dress for her and slacks and button down shirt for him. Ties are optional! Remember you want to feel comfortable in the clothing you choose and be able to move around and interact with one another; you won’t look natural if your jeans are too tight or your skirt is too short.
Try to choose clothes that you would normally wear – now is not the time to reinvent your look. You want your friends and family to recognize you in the photos and you want to document life as it is at this moment with the person you love. A general rule is that you should look like yourself but slightly more polished. Be yourself.
Remember your clothing should complement one another – do NOT want to wear matching outfits. Please, please, please stay away from the jeans and white t-shirt look (it became uncool sometime in the 90’s). Try to wear similar color families and also avoid busy patterns that can distract from the focus of the image – you. Make sure you dress on the same scale – a hooded sweatshirt doesn’t go with a sun dress. Please remember that outfit changes may happen in the back seat of a car, depending on our location, so be mindful of this while making your choices.
Layers and accessories are a great way to get different looks for your photos and don’t require finding a bathroom for an outfit change. Think about bringing different coats (especially if it’s fall or winter because your coat will be in the photos), sweaters, scarves and jewelry.
One more very important note for the guys….ready for this?- NEVER, ever, no matter what, even consider wearing shorts. I promise your partner will consider how they are riding up when ruling out session pictures.
Your outfit choices and your locations go hand and hand. You probably don’t want a photo of you in a dress standing on a football field. That’s just awkward, right? When choosing locations, think about places that have special meaning in your relationship. One of my recent couples chose to do their session during the fall because they are both nature lovers. Maybe it’s your favorite restaurant or bar. Maybe it’s the place where you met or where you had your first date. Most business are very open to having you have photos taken as long as you ask the manager or owner first. When in doubt, pick a place that is beautiful and inspires the love you have for one another. When you are surrounded by a place that inspires you, you will feel better and it will show in your photos.
Hair | get a haircut 3-7 days prior to the photo session to ensure you have a nice cut but that it’s not too short. If you dye your hair ensure that your roots are touched up prior to your session.
Shoes | For the guys – ensure you have a nice pair of shoes for the occasion. Your feet will definitely make an appearance in your photos so you don’t want to wear those beat up sneakers you’ve head since high school with your dress pants. Ladies, if you choose to wear high heels ensure they are comfortable enough to do some walking in or have a pair of flats to wear between shots.
Tanning | If you are not a seasoned tanner – DO NOT start now.
Make-up | If you generally do not wear make-up, I’d encourage you to at least wear a little. If you usually wear make-up, wear what makes you feel comfortable – it helps define your facial features and looks beautiful on camera. A little foundation and mascara can go a long way. If the entire thought makes you uncomfortable, speak with me on this topic. I can retouch acne that makes you feel uncomfortable to ensure your happiness with the finished shots. It is always my goal to stay away from heavy airbrushing, but I will assist behind the scenes if you bring it to my attention.
The Ring | You want your ring to be extra sparkly and shiny for your photos. Either take it back to your jeweler and they can clean it for you, or just use some jewelry cleaner an an old toothbrush to get it to shine. If none of these options are available, soak your ring in a cup of warmed water with a little Ivory soap and gently agitate the cup to help remove any buildup. Avoid harsh cleaning products like Windex, which can eat away at metal. Buff with a soft dry cloth (such as an old t-shirt, no paper products or towels since bits could rip off and get stuck in the prongs of the setting)
However you want! Once complete, you will received a DVD of the session images to enjoy. Many couples will print them and enjoy them around their home(s). The disc will come with a copyright release so that they may be printed in sizes up to 8×10. All credited work may be displayed online on your personal blog or Facebook page.
Using your Engagement photos for your Save the Date cards is the most common way to use your images. Another great idea is to use images for a wedding guest book featuring the photos taken during the engagement session. If you have a wedding website for your guests to get all of your wedding info – use a few of your session photos to personalize your website (please make sure to get permission from your photographer first and always credit their work.)