A few years ago, I started including an engagement session in every single wedding package! Not only because I love them, but because I personally find it vital to the relationship I build with my clients as a Washington, DC wedding photographer. One of my biggest goals for the wedding day (besides creating beautiful images, obviously!) is to ensure a seamless, stress-free experience to the best of my ability. The best way, for me, to do that is by doing an engagement session! It builds trust and allows me to get to learn their likes and dislikes as well as makes them feel more comfortable in front of the camera. That way on their wedding day when I say, “Michael, nuzzle into Brittany,” they know exactly what I mean!
Once the date has for an engagement session been scheduled and the location has been selected, the biggest question I always get asked is, “what should we wear!?”. So I’ve put together a few suggestion to help ease your nerves!
+ Don’t choose anything too trendy that may go out style in a few years. You want to be able to look back on these images with your children and have them feel timeless.
+ Dresses that have a bit of movement in them always look great and give us some fabric to play around with during your session.
+ Heavy oranges and bright reds tend to wash out most skin tones and don’t register well with the camera. I also recommend avoiding all white as it can overexpose your images — ivory and cream make great substitutes!
+ Avoid small prints like stripes or seersucker; digital cameras have a hard time reading them properly (an effect called moiré) and it tends to cause distortion.
+ I always recommend my couples brings two outfits; one casual and one a bit dressier. This will give you some variety in your looks; it will almost feel like you’re getting two sets of images!
+ Why buy when you can rent! I love Rent The Runway and use them for any occasion that I get to dress up! They have everything from short cocktail dresses to long evening dresses (which I love!). You get two sizes with your rental and can even add in a backup dress in case you don’t love your first pick. A return bag is included and at the end of your rental you just throw it in that and drop it off at UPS — easy as pie!
+ My biggest suggestion to every couple is to coordinate without matching! You don’t want to look exactly the same (read: white shirts and khaki pants), but still want to complement one another.
+ In the same respect, if your handsome fiancé’s idea of dressy is khakis and a button down, but you planned for a ballgown those don’t necessarily go together! Be open about what you plan on wearing so you can ensure you’re dressing on the same scale for each outfit.
Don’t Forget to Accessorize!
+ The little details bring your outfits together but are the easiest thing to forget as your so focused on your clothing! Think about adding some stunning jewelry, a fun scarf, or even just a belt to put on the finishing touches.
Be comfortable and be YOU!
+ If you’re not comfortable, it will show on camera! Try on your entire outfit before the session to make sure it’s something you feel great in — you don’t want any surprises the day of!
+ Think about what flatters your body type and works best for you! I’m always drawn to those adorable shift dresses because they look so cute on the models — but then I try them on and meh; they just don’t work on my body!
+ And bring flats :) We tend to do a lot of walking, so you can change in and out of your heels as we go!
Consider Your Surroundings
+ A but I’ll be honest –this one is tough for me to be strict on, because I love juxtaposition! Some people will say you shouldn’t wear a fancy dress in a corn field or cowboy boots in the city, but I disagree. I recommend taking inspiration from your location and incorporating that into your outfit planning. There are definitely some locations that lend themselves to certain outfits that others may not; a swimsuit top with a cover up works great on the beach but would look a bit off in front of a barn (obviously).
And finally… ask an expert!
+ Okay, I may not be an expert, but I have photographed a lot of engagements! I absolutely love outfit planning, so I get super excited when my couples send me pictures before the session. I’m here to help!