1) Professional hair & makeup
Consider a professional beauty artist that you trust to make you feel as confident as you can be! This truly goes a long way when it comes to having your portrait taken because, let’s face it, this is probably not something you normally do! You’ll want to make sure you are looking your best. With hair and makeup done by a seasoned professional, you can rest assured that you will look and feel confident in your photos.
If you’re looking to save a little and plan on a makeup trial for your wedding day, try to arrange your trial appointment for the date of your engagement session! By doing this, you’re able to take care of two things at once.
For hair – always take the weather into consideration! Is it humid, rainy, windy? All of these weather conditions can affect different hair types. For windy days, we highly recommend an alternative to having hair 100% down, as this can result in quite the struggle during an outdoor windy-weathered session!
2) Don’t forget those nails and teeth!
Your hands and your smile will make clear appearances in your engagement photos. With that said, consider getting manicures and teeth whitening if it’s within your budget! (Otherwise, prep your nails at home with cuticle oil, a file, and your favorite polish! The Tarte Whitening Pen is a great bleach-free and vegan-friendly option for brightening your smile.) We’ve included some of our favorites below:
3) Get your ring(s) cleaned
Not everyone goes the engagement ring route and that is a-okay! However, if you and/or your partner did, a little bit really does go a long way! Most jewelry stores offer professional cleaning at a minimal charge (typically no charge, if your ring was purchased there). Alternatively – you can soak your ring(s) in a mixture of hot water and dishwashing soap for about 20 minutes, then gently scrub your ring(s) with a toothbrush. Voila!
4) Pick a location you love and keep the weather in mind
Schedule your session during a time of year that you enjoy spending time in – or at a destination location that reflects your preferences! If you’re hoping to have your session during a popular season (a time of year with ideal weather in regards to your location), reach out to your photographer well in advance to set the date.
If you’re planning for a session during rainy weather, consider bringing (or wearing) a pair of cute rain boots and a clear umbrella.
5) Complement your outfits – but don’t match them
You’ll want to select colors that pair well with one another. Create a palette of colors and choose outfits that fit within that palette. Never match top and bottom colors with your partner. (Example: Do you both love chambray? We sure do, but would never recommend wearing them together as full pieces in a collaborative look.) When it comes to textures and fabrics, we believe in choosing something classic versus something overly trendy. Just think: “How will I feel about this outfit 5 years from now? Will I definitely want to share this photograph?”
Also, unless you’re a style blogger, we recommend selecting a maximum of two outfits for your session. Two outfits creates diversity with looks. For example: you can dress in one formal look and one casual look.
6) Wear appropriate clothing for your body types
You know yourself better than anyone else, so choose clothing that you feel 100% comfortable in. Avoid fabrics that cling or easily wrinkle – as these can be unflattering for photographs. If you’re wearing pants during your session, make sure they are fitted properly and are set to the appropriate length. Clothing that does not fit correctly (too tight or too loose) and apparel with excessive amounts of text or branding should be avoided.
If your session involves a lot of walking, consider bringing an extra pair of comfortable, slip-on shoes!
7) Bring a bag of styling items
On average, sessions range anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on your plans (having an adventure session or photographing at multiple locations?), it could be even longer. Regardless, it’s always great to pack a small bag of items to keep you looking fresh! A mirror (a smartphone with selfie camera will do!), comb, bobby pins, lip color, tissues, lint roller, and hair spray are some basics that should do the trick!
8) Don’t be afraid to treat yourself
Every couple is different and we’re not here to inform you that you need to spend a lot to have great photos. However, if you’re the type of couple that is looking to stand out from your every day – have a listen: “Treat Yo Self!” is an important motto according to Tom and Donna from Parks & Rec… and we agree! If your budget allows for it or you’ve been looking for an excuse to snag a new suit or dress – go right ahead.
9) Consider making it an all-day activity
If you have the flexibility, we highly recommend taking it easy. Consider dedicating the entire day to just the two of you. Head to your favorite eatery for lunch and pamper yourself! In many cases, engagement sessions take place on weekdays and, unless you’re an incredibly well-planned couple, you don’t want to spend your moments before the session rushing to gather all of your items! Arriving on-time for your session is just as important, as photographers typically plan sessions to take place during the best light. (If you arrive late and are planning for some sunset photos, you’ll lose some time!)
10) Remember to be yourself and have fun
This one might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important of all. Styling yourself for the perfect look is great – but don’t obsess over it! If you have any concerns, address them with your photographer before your session. Our biggest recommendation is to do the best you can to prep, then let it be! Use Pinterest at a minimum (for outfit/location/theme inspiration only – check out our Pinterest) and allow your session to flow naturally. Visible chemistry and genuine human emotion are a photographer’s dream! Listen to any advice your photographer has for you and just remember to enjoy each other’s company. Just be you!