Your engagement is a special time. Being newly engaged is almost as thrilling as the wedding itself & an engagement shoot is a chance to capture this moment before it gets lost in a whirlwind of wedmin!
Many couples have never been professionally photographed together before, so are understandably a little apprehensive about their wedding photography and likewise their engagement shoot! As with most things in life, a little preparation beforehand will help ensure a successful shoot resulting in a set of images that you love and are proud of!
In this post we’re going to talk a little about how to prepare for your pre-wedding shoot… (In an earlier post we wrote about why you should have an engagement shoot so please go check it out if you are still considering.
What to Wear
You want your photos to represent you and your personal style so our number one piece of advise is to wear something you feel comfortable & confident in! If you don’t usually wear a pencil skirt with killer heels, or you’re a guy who hasn’t worn a tie since school, then this is not the time to try the look out for the first time!
Many people feel little anxious initially in front of the camera. Being comfortable can make a huge difference in the outcome of your images. If you feel relaxed this is reflected in your photos!
Remember the season and dress accordingly. You may want to wear your favourite summer dress but goosebumps in November is not a flattering look!
Choose colours that bring out your features & make you look alive! If a colour washes you out or makes your skin look pasty, choose the colour on the opposite side of the colour wheel.Consider the location of your shoot when choosing your outfit, colourful clothes can really make a picture, especially in an grey urban setting. If we’re shooting in a park or rural area, unless you want to blend into the background, you may want to avoid greens & browns.
Plan your outfits together so that you know that the colours you’re both wearing work next to each other. Try your clothes on before the shoot… Both of you, together! Are you co-ordinated? Do your preferred outfits work well side-by-side in colour, tone & style? You don’t want one of you to be wearing jeans & t-shirt & the other an evening dress…Simon & Sueling chose simple neutral colours that complimented each other & worked with the environment that we were shooting in.
Try to dress for your body type & don’t wear ill-fitting clothes. Clothes that are baggy or too tight will be exaggerated and really stand out in photos. If your are conscious about a part of your body, wear something that covers and flatters it.
We’ve started a Pinterest board with some ideas of what colours & styles work well together. (This is a new work in progress & we will keep adding to it!)
How many outfits?
As a general guide we advise;
- One hour shoot, one location, one outfit
- Two hour shoot, one location, two outfits
- Three hour shoot, two locations, three outfits…
It can be fun to go for completely different looks & styles… How about casual & fun in the park & then going for a glamourous look – living the high life – in the city…? Whatever you choose make sure it’s not outside of your comfort zone.
If you’re unsure, it’s ok to bring several outfits with you even if you don’t wear them all! We can sit down at the beginning of the session – plan what you are going to wear and what works best with the environment. …Just make sure that your outfits are easy to change in & out of unless you have pre-arranged somewhere to change!
A few other useful clothing tips
- Avoid clothing with logos or writing that will date the photos.
- Unless you are deliberately bringing a sports theme into your shoot avoid sports gear.
- Don’t go overboard with the patterns, too many patterns can become distracting to the eye.
- Try to avoid light reactive glasses if possible.
Hair & Make-up
Your engagement shoot is the perfect opportunity to trial your wedding day hair & make-up. Knowing that you look great installs confidence in front of the camera. It also gives you a chance to see how your planned style looks in photographs. We’re not saying you SHOULD do this, however from our experience in photographing engagement sessions, sometimes spending a little extra time getting ready helps achieve confidence in front of the camera.
If you do your own make-up, think about how you might do it for a nice evening out or on a special occasion – don’t go overboard though as you still want to look like you!Sueling was planning to do her own make-up on her wedding day so she tried out the look she was aiming for at her engagement shoot.
Guys, it’s not just about the girls… Avoid having your haircut immediately before the shoot – it will look like you just got a haircut – and shave early in the day to let any razor rash disappear!
Accessories are fun!
Don’t forget to accessorise!
Personalising the shoot is really fun – props can do that but also think about your interests:
Do you have a shared hobby? A favourite book or music you listen to together? Share a love of coffee or wine? Do you play sport together? The only time we’d advise wearing sports clothing is if you want part of your shoot to represent the activities you do together. Bring your tennis rackets, your bikes, your running kit (Ally may want to join in on this one…!)
Do you enjoy picnics together? How about bringing one and building your shoot around it?
What to bring?
- Hairbrush, clips, bands, hairspray, lip gloss, tissues, etc… Just in case!
- Something to sit on if you’re not comfortable sitting on the ground
- Suncream & insect repellant (obviously not needed in the winter…!)
- A jacket or warm top
- Umbrella & welly boots – if it is raining we will try to reschedule your engagement shoot if you would prefer but some couples enjoy shooting in the rain!
Debbie & Nathaniel opted to continue with their engagement shoot when it started raining – & were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow backdrop!
A final few tips…
We recommend you eat before the shoot to keep your tummy happy! (Please feel free to bring along drinks & snacks). We usually finish with a coffee or glass of wine!
Please be on time for your shoot! We predominantly like to work in natural light and so we will schedule shoots a few hours before sunset to capture the best possible light for beautiful photos.
An average shoot lasts up to two hours. In the winter months we may schedule your shoot for as early as 2pm, in the summer as late as 6 or 7pm. We only have limited time before the sun goes down so lateness will limit what we can capture for you!Don’t overthink the shoot, trying to imagine what would look good in photos. We’ll happily advise you on colours & outfits before we start shooting. We will guide you through the session; we will show you how to stand, what to do with your hands and where to look. After a little while it becomes almost second nature, and it’s a great way for you to become comfortable in front of our cameras.
Don’t be afraid to have FUN! This shoot is all about YOU! Yes, it is an opportunity for a ‘trial run’ before the wedding, a chance for us to get to know each other better and a chance for you to ‘practice’ in front of the camera, but also it’s an opportunity to capture the excitement of your engagement and get some fabulous, professional photos of just the two of you together!
You can see our engagement portfolio here