10 Tips for Brides who want Amazing Engagement Photography I. | Real advice written by real photographers
The following article offers tips for great engagement photos that we give our brides when preparing for shooting an engagement session. This advice stems from 12 years of bridal photography, so we can safely boast that it is reliable. While the internet is full of fake news and fake information it can leave one wondering is anything I am reading true? The following derives from two real wedding photographers based in Florida, Otto and Priscilla Haring, with our many years of real experience.
- Select a day of the week that is compatible with your vision!
Do you want people gaping and strolling into your photos. Well, neither does the photographer. That is why we always suggest photographing your engagement session during the week, Monday through Thursday whenever possible. On the weekends, any place that you can imagine having a photo shoot will more than likely be packed with pedestrians. During the week there are less people entertaining and strolling around outside, so there will be less people in the photos. It is simply impossible for photographers to remove all of the people.
- Bring more than one outfit
We always recommend bringing something upscale and something casual that is fun. It is definitely useful to have variety in your engagement wardrobe for the engagement session. You may be surprised by which outfit you like the best when looking at the photos later. We can all regret a fashion choice after the fact, yet later, is simply too late. For instance, I have had a bride that chose a skirt that she later thought was too short and looked to her like a “prom” dress, but only decided that after the session. The dress had limitations during the shoot because she could not run, jump, sit on a swing, or sit down or else the skirt would be too revealing. If she had brought more than one outfit she would have had all of the photos with her second outfit and she would have been able to have more variety in her engagement poses.
- Wear professional make up
Why wear professional make up? Many females want to look natural in their engagement photography session. From a girl who feels very comfortable never wearing makeup, I can assure you that looking natural for the camera can be better done with makeup than without makeup when it comes to your engagement photos. Simply ask your makeup artist to make it look like you are not wearing makeup. I know what this sounds strange, yet, this will ensure that you do look amazing. Make up can look invisible, but no makeup can make you look washed out and sickly especially when wearing something upscale. The second point not to be overlooked is to have a professional do your make up, not a friend and not by yourself. This may sound especially harsh, but we have yet to see one good make up job for the camera done by a bride herself or by her friends. Having said that, I have seen a bride work in a combined fashion with her makeup artist for a great result! The makeup artist did the foundational work and then bride did the final touch of eyeliner to her eyes and that looked good! Make up for the camera is different than make up for daily life. Professional make up reads different than make up that you put on yourself. It cannot be stressed that enough.
10 Tips for Brides who want Amazing Engagement Photography II.
- Don’t be your worst critic.
Love you the way YOU are. Remember that you are unique. Your size and shape is different from every other bride or groom. Don't blame yourself for your weight or skin blemishes, or what you failed to bring, do or not do. Your engagement session is a time for personal reflection. Your photographer photographs what the camera sees. Sometimes we are over critical of our own beauty and society can push unrealistic unhealthy expectations on us.
If you didn’t like your hair style then this is the time to discuss new hair styles with your stylist. If you were not happy with your facial blemishes, then discuss make applications that can cover blemishes. Each of us is unique the way we are: our noses, our skin colors, our stomachs. Sometimes brides want to go start a healthy workout regime, but it is important that it is nothing drastic (we have seen a near death experience with a bride that wanted to look perfect for her fiancé)!
- Photograph for more than an hour.
If you photograph for just one hour you are cheating yourself because just as you are starting to feel comfortable and truly relax in front of the camera the session is over. If you want to have variety or some sort of masterpiece this typically does not happen in an hour. Give yourself more time for your engagement session.
- Make your day good for weather not just your schedule.
It is easy to want to photograph on the day you originally book, and hope that the photos will look great. If you want to have photos that are bright and sunny, sometimes you just have to wait for that day. Shade on a sunny day is different than a gray bleak day with no reflectable light. The point is that you can always go into shade when you need to, but you can’t go into the sun when there is none. Unless you are with a huge professional lighting crew the photos are just not going to be as radiant. You don’t want to have lifeless photos that can sometimes result from a rainy gray day.
10 Tips for Brides who want Amazing Engagement Photography III.
- Pick a rain date in advance.
The only factor that makes your day impossible is if it rains. Since most engagements sessions are outside, we have to battle with the weather from the time - with the weather winning unfortunately. Thus, pick an alternative day and discuss it with your photographer in advance so if you have change the day for the weather you have it planned in advance. Most important, if you are coming in from out of town pick the first half of your trip for your engagement session not the last day of your trip. For example, you are flying in to a Florida or New York for a photo shoot from Sat to Thursday, plan the shoot for Monday so that you still have Tuesday and Wednesday even Thursday morning if there is suddenly bad weather or a city wide race scheduled on your day.
- Pick a location that looks good and has meaning to you.
Having said that if you recommend a personal location and your photographer is recommending somewhere else, it may be a sign that the location does not photograph well. Not every park photographs well, even though it looks good to your eye. Trust what your photographer when they say what will work and won’t. There can be limitations. If you want to have a personal location for your engagement shoot, mix that up with a safe location which the photographer knows will work. So have two locations. Your session should not just be a let’s see how this turns out session. A good photographer has in mind, the time of day, the location and the angles already thought out.
- Treat your session as practice for your wedding.
Your engagement session is a good time to practice for your wedding. You get to see what hair and make styles look good on you in photos. When brides leave their wedding selections to the day of their wedding, there might be glitches.