7 Tips to Prepare for Your Engagement Photos

If I will be photographing your elopement or wedding, and our exciting adventures together are starting with your engagement session, this will be a great way for us to get to know each other better, and for you to feel totally comfortable and confident, knowing just what to expect on your big day. If you have booked a session with me as wonderful way to announce your engagement, to capture your surprise proposal, or to simply have gorgeous, romantic photos taken on your anniversary or while you vacation in paradise, I cannot wait to help celebrate your special memories by creating amazing photographs together!  

And if you are not currently planning a photography session, please stay and hang out with me anyway. These tips can be helpful for other photography sessions too.

I have always given my couples various tips and suggestions for the most commonly asked questions before their sessions to help make their planning simple and stress-free. So I decided to put all of that information here on the blog where it can live happily ever after for all of my current and future couples to easily reference. 

 Every couple has questions about what to wear and where to go for their session. You are not alone in any uncertainties that you may have leading up to this session!  And this list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have other questions – please feel free to ask me so that you feel totally comfortable when you arrive at your session. 

Below are the top 7 topics which come up the most often from couples while preparing for their engagement or other type of photo session:

1.  Be Good To Your Bling!  –  If you have an engagement ring, please take the time to have it cleaned by a jeweler (most offer this service for free if you just walk in and ask!) the day before, or even the day of, your session. I love to take creative shots during your engagement session where your engagement ring is the star, and it deserves a trip to the ring spa so that it is extra shiny and sparkly for its very own photo shoot. If you do not have an engagement ring, no worries – we will get some wonderful photos of your wedding rings on the day of your elopement or wedding! 

2.  Be Comfortable – Most couples have two outfits for their session, one that is dressier and one that is more casual, but this is entirely up to you.  You can bring two casual outfits if you want to incorporate gear from your favorite sports teams, a certain theme related to your wedding, or something else which reflects your relationship and how you are most comfortable together. Or two dressier outfits if you want to be fancy together during the entire session!  

If your photography session will take place on the beach, please be sure to wear shoes that you can slip off, or that are comfortable to wear on the sand.  And dressing in layers is definitely helpful in case it is cooler than expected down by the water. This is especially true in the evenings during the winter months, when the temperatures can fluctuate widely, even here in the Florida tropics!

If we will be meeting somewhere where colder weather is predicted for your session, I would suggest dressing warm, or at least bringing a warm jacket, gloves, and a scarf that you can easily slip on to warm up between background changes if you choose not to wear winter outerwear during all of your photos. Being cold is never any fun, and makes it hard to smile!  

Here are some specific ideas for outfits:

* Plain shirts/sweaters (no graphics or large images) or only really light patterns are best, and brighter colors are great in just about any setting. 

* Try to stay away from stripes, plaids, or other super busy patterns – they restrict our choice of background and can be a distraction from your beautiful faces! 

* Portraits with two people together are always better if you wear complimentary colors rather than matching each other exactly.  Some examples would be:

– one of you in light blue and the other in medium blue

– one of you in a neutral color like khaki or tan and the other in a brighter solid color

– one of you in a pastel and the other in a tropical or brighter shade of the same color (peach & orange; baby blue & navy or turquoise, etc.)  

 If you match each other exactly (like if you both wear jeans and a white or black shirt), you can blend into the background or into each other, and we don’t want that! 

 * Bright jewelry, scarves, shoes, or other accessories are always helpful to add a pop of color to engagement or other special photographs, especially if you will be wearing more neutral tones, including tan, black or white.

Arriving in your dressier outfit is usually the best option so you can cool off (or warm up!) by changing into more casual clothes for the second half of your session, or just so you can relax and we have more flexibility with locations and poses as we go along!  And please do consider how easy it will be to change clothes when you choose your second outfit because you will likely be changing somewhere less convenient than at home. I always try to find a location with a public restroom nearby, but especially if our plan is to go off the beaten path a bit, or we are meeting after hours, that is sometimes not possible. One of my brides discovered how challenging it is to put on tights in her car because the park restrooms were unexpectedly closed! We all had a good laugh and she looked amazing despite the minor convenience, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.   (*note: please don’t worry that you will have to change in your car, we can always take a short drive to find an open restroom – that particular bride was apparently just up for a challenge LOL!)

Most importantly: Make sure you look like you and that you feel comfortable in whatever you choose to wear!

3. (Let’s) Be Creative! –  If you have any ideas for poses you would like to try, I will always try to include your ideas and will ask if you have any during your session. And if you have seen any images that you like online, please feel free to send them to me so that I can try to include those poses in your session as well. But if you do not have any ideas, or you have not seen any poses that have caught your eye, do not be worried or nervous about how you are supposed to stand or sit, or what to do with your hands! I always have lots of ideas, and I will patiently walk you through several different options to find “your” poses – the ones where you are the most comfortable together and which look the absolute best. After your engagement session, you will be pros, looking forward to all of the super fun photos we will take on your elopement or wedding day!

4.  Be True To Your Location Likes  – When it comes to choosing a location for your session, be true to who you are together and what you enjoy doing.  Are you beach lovers, where being barefoot and watching a breathtaking sunset is your ideal vision for your photographs? Or do you prefer a more rustic setting like a park where you can hold hands while you walk among giant trees?

This is a pretty easy decision if you just consider where the two of you tend to spend most of your free time, and the activities that you enjoy doing together. The focus of your engagement or other romantic photos is the two of you and your love and interaction with each other, which I can capture no matter where we are. But, especially if this is your engagement session, it is nice to incorporate a favorite area into this first piece of your formal celebration if possible, where both of you are happy, relaxed and ready for some adventure!

5.  Don’t Be Afraid to Practice Your Prep – There is no requirement to have your hair and makeup professionally done for your engagement session – and most people don’t. But some do choose to visit their hairstylist and/or have their makeup professionally applied as a trial for their elopement or wedding day, or just to be pampered a bit before their engagement photographs!  Whichever you choose, please remember (or remind your makeup artist if you use one) to only use shine-free makeup – particularly foundation and powder – which is compatible with professional photography so that your face is not shiny in your images. This reminder will be even more important for your elopement or wedding day.  

Here are a few more reminders to help your session planning go smoothly:

* It’s a GREAT idea for both of you to try on your outfits for your session beforehand to make sure that everything fits, that there are no mystery stains, missing parts, or other unexpected problems with the various items you will be bringing. 

* Make sure that you like how your choices look when you stand together in front of a mirror.  Sometimes you’ve each worn a particular outfit separately, but not actually seen them side-by-side!  

* Having everything laid out for your first outfit, and packed for your second outfit the night before your session is always the best plan, so that when your schedule that day is crazy busy, you’re not late for our scheduled time because you can’t find the other black shoe, or one of you has “lost” an item that you were sure you could find at the last minute. 

** Make sure that you bring socks that match your outfit if you will be wearing a dressier outfit with socks during your session. White or short athletic socks are never the best look with dress pants or dark shoes! 

 6.  Please Be On Time – The best time to shoot any portraits is 1.5-2 hours before sunset, otherwise known as “Golden Hour.” This rule of thumb can be applied to any time of year, and makes being on time really important. I prefer to use only natural light whenever possible, which is 100% dependent on the sun, even on overcast days. If we get started later than scheduled, then we lose that amount of time during the session due to the lack of light. Of course, sometimes things happen beyond our control, such as unforeseeable amounts of traffic and accidents. If you are running late for any reason, please contact me as soon as you know that you’ll be late so that I know when you will be arriving; otherwise, I’ll worry about you! But please try to be on time to the extent possible so that we don’t lose scheduled shooting time and pretty sunlight.

7. Be Yourself –  This is the most important part. I work with normal, everyday couples all the time, so I don’t expect you to have any experience coming into your photography session. Your only job is to be in love and have fun. So don’t be nervous – you’re both going to be awesome! You can trust me as your professional photographer. Just relax, smile, and allow me to be creative, and you’ll have an amazing session!

~ Deborah

* Bamboo Dreams Photography captures the natural beauty of love through elopement and wedding photography, engagement sessions and proposals throughout Florida and worldwide! 

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