Seasoned wedding planners agree: don’t go cheap on the photography.

When planning a wedding, you must decide which items to splurge on and which items can take a back seat.

Engagement photos and wedding day photos are splurge items. They are the one piece of your wedding day that lasts forever. You’ll use them for photo books, home décor, anniversary presents, social media posts, etc. So, choose a phenomenal photographer and enjoy the pictures for a lifetime.

While the photographer will do the heavy lifting, there are some things that you can do to make sure your experience is picture-perfect.

Work with the lighting

One element that separates extraordinary photographers from amateur ones is their ability to get the lighting right. This also entails knowing what time of day to snap pictures and using the lighting to their advantage. The dreamiest light is at sunset. The photographer’s job is instantly ten times easier when the lighting is perfect. Make sure you’re available when the light is at its prime.

Relax and have fun

If you let go of all your worries and live in the moment with your sweetheart, the camera will capture it. Block out any outside noise and focus on your love for each other. Your experience can be tense and uncomfortable, or it can be fun and romantic, depending on your approach. It’s also essential to choose a photographer who knows how to help her clients loosen up and enjoy the session.

Coordinate with your partner without being too matchy

When choosing outfits for your engagement shoot, the look will be most cohesive if you select color palettes that coordinate but aren’t too similar. This means wearing different dominant colors but staying in a common color palette family. A blush dress with nude heels would coordinate beautifully with a navy coat, gray pants, and brown leather shoes.

The camera loves soft, neutral, and muted colors

Be careful when choosing bright, bold, or dark colors, as they can take the focus off your face and create an unintentional focal point. Softer colors shift the focus to your eyes, facial features, and how you and your fiancé look at each other. The camera favors soft pinks and light blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals such as gray, cream, tan, and white.

Styling Tips for the Ladies

Your wardrobe matters for your pictures. You want to look like yourself and choose colors, patterns, and styles that photograph well and appear flattering. Keep these things in mind.

1. Dresses are gorgeous in photos

Long, flowy dresses look amazingly romantic in photos, and they also tend to flatter the female body. A well-fitting dress is a fantastic choice for your engagement photos. Suppose you and your partner are both wearing dresses. You might consider wearing the same color in different styles or completely different dresses with pops of the same color. Something sentimental such as matching bracelets, can add a touch of romance to your pictures.

2. Statement pieces can add a unique flair (flower crowns, jewelry, bouquet)

A statement piece or two can complete an outfit. Make sure you don’t overdo it, though. Soft flowers in the hair or a bouquet might be the perfect way to add a feminine touch while also adding some uniqueness.

3. Consider wearing heels

Heels are beautiful and elongate the legs, especially closed-toed heels. If you’re set on open-toed shoes, don’t forget to book a pedicure ahead of time so you don’t regret your decision—the little details matter. If you’re wearing heels, bring a pair of comfy flats to wear while you move from location to location. Speed and heels are not a good combo.

4. Get your hair and makeup done

Consider having your hair styled for your engagement shoot. It’s worth the money to trust your look to the pros. A good makeup artist can elevate your photos as well. And if you’re happy with their work, ask them if they can be there on your wedding day as well. See if your cosmetologist can apply your makeup in natural light if you’re having your pictures taken outside.

5. Get your engagement ring professionally cleaned before your session

An excellent clean makes that diamond shine ten times brighter. You may look at your ring and think it’s good enough, but clean it anyway! You’ll notice a considerable difference afterward as it sparkles and shines like the day you got it. It will be ready for its close-up. This leads to another tip: make sure your photographer gets pictures of your rings. Those ring shots are very romantic and sentimental.

Styling Tips for the Gentlemen

Getting ready for your engagement photos takes some planning. We urge you to coordinate with your partner and not wait until the last minute to plan outfits. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your wardrobe for your engagement shoot.

1. Don’t be afraid to get fancy

A well-tailored suit looks striking in photos. Stay away from pinstripes, plaid, or any other busy patterns. You can’t go wrong with a solid shade of gray or navy. It will complement just about any outfit.

If you and your partner both wear suits, consider wearing the same suit but in different hues and mix up the accessories. For example, a bowtie may fit one of your personalities better and a tie the other. That slight difference will give you each your own look while still having an overall cohesive vibe.

If you’re both set on ties or bowties, consider different pocket squares or the same color jacket but different colored pants. Pick some fun matching socks to show your personality in a few pictures.

2. Layering looks lovely

Adding layers such as a blazer, vest, or coat is an easy way to add dimension and style to your photos. If the weather or setting doesn’t suit layers, such as a beach shoot, consider well-tailored pants and a button-up shirt. Unbutton a few top buttons for a beachy vibe. To avoid looking sloppy, add a nice belt and watch to bring the look together.

3. It’s all in the details

Closed-toe shoes and pants typically look better in photos than sandals and shorts. Brown leather shoes, in particular, photograph well and complement almost every outfit. If you’re wearing a tie or bowtie, make sure it doesn’t clash with your partner’s outfit. Think of small details that add sophistication or personal style to your photos, such as a pocket square, fun socks, your favorite watch, a stylish belt, etc. The little things matter.

4. Get your ring cleaned

Stones and metal alike look far better with a thorough cleaning. Make sure your ring is clean and ready for its close-up.

5. Wash and style your hair

This goes for facial hair, too. Show up with clean, styled hair and, if relevant, a nicely trimmed beard and/or mustache for a polished and sophisticated look. Don’t hesitate to let the professionals help with the trimming and styling. You only get one shot at your engagement photos so it’s worth paying a little extra to look your very best.

Engagement Shoot Checklist

Follow our guide to ensure your investment will be well worth it. And if you’re interested in our wedding or micro wedding planning services for your big day, schedule a call with us. We live and breathe weddings and would love to bring your vision to life.

Photo by Dotun Ayodeji