You have made it through your engagement party, or perhaps you are just starting to plan it, and now it is time to let the world see what an adorable couple you are! Engagement photos are a great way to document the beginning of your wedding journey and will often be the images that you use for announcements and wedding websites. They also may be the first time you and your betrothed have been photographed together. The experience can feel daunting! We've pulled together advice from a wedding stylist (The Rescue Kit Company's very own CEO and co-founder, Risa Kostis) and one of Phoenix's most sought after wedding photographers, Tracy Battaglia (owner of Fully Alive Photography) to hear what they wish every couple knew going into an engagement photo shoot.
Select The Best Location For Your Purpose.
Tracy: Think through where you will use these photos. Your online wedding site? Your invites? Prints in your home? Your social media? When it comes to locations I normally help my clients select the location based on their overall vision and places they love. But a good tool when thinking about a location would be to define the mood you want to set with the photos and where you will be using them. We can then select a location based on your goals and purpose. Most of my couples love outdoor golden hour shoots as they tend to set a very romantic vibe.
Risa: Pick a location that matches the footwear you want to wear...I know this sounds crazy, but if you want to be in stilettos because they add that extra height, keep in mind a sandy beach may not make sense. Pay attention to details. Book hair and makeup so you aren't stressing and try to use the same vendors you’ll be working with on your wedding day so you can build a trusting relationship. And, get your nails done for those close-ups!
Tracy: This is my number one tip for any type of photoshoot. I want my clients to be themselves...not what they think other people want them to be, or what they think engagement photos "should" look like. When you show up authentically and just let go and enjoy the experience then the real magic happens!
Risa: Remember that not everyone feels comfortable in front of the camera, so as a couple, choosing your wardrobe and adapting it to what you both feel comfortable in will help you lean into the process and get on board with your dream photo scenario. You will feel more confident in front of the camera if you love what you are wearing and you feel good in it! Practically, know the colors that enhance your features and the silhouettes that flatter your body type.
Tracy: I usually use a variety of poses based on each couple, their dynamic and what works for them. Some couples work better for certain poses depending on height difference, setting, etc... I am always looking to pose people as close to natural and authentic to them as possible so it doesn't feel forced or awkward. If you have a vision or specific poses you love... don't be afraid to make a Pinterest board. It's easier as a photographer to look at visuals than having you describe something you saw once and try to re-create it, but also try not to be too controlling. You most likely hired your photographer because you love their style. If you control the shoot too much you lose their gift, creativity and thus their style.
Risa: Choose style and length of clothing appropriately, especially if you don’t have a stylist on location. Proper choice ensures more variety with posing (sitting, standing, piggybacks...plus short dresses and sitting don't always mix!) and the best use of your booked time. You don't want to miss that gorgeous golden hour and time always goes faster than you think it will.
Don't be afraid to be affectionate.
Tracy: This is an engagement shoot! The point is celebrating your love & relationship. So kissing photos aren't weird - they are romantic. But there are a lot more ways to be affectionate on your shoot than simply kissing. There is holding hands, hugging, nuzzling, laughing, and just general closeness! I use all of these and more to help my couples love show in the images.
Risa: Consider colors that go with your wedding palette. Not only will they flow nicely on your social media, but they’ll look great with your theme the whole way through your process. And, you and your partner will look totally in sync with each other! When you lean into the whole process it really shows in the final images.
Make It A Date!
Tracy: I love when couples have an actual date- either during or after the shoot! Think picnics, downtown vibes and beyond. You already look amazing and you are sharing this moment together - top if off with a date following the session:). It can also help take off the pressure and your nerves if you view it as a date night.
Risa: Since these are static images and there may not be video involved, you can cheat the fit on your clothing. Clothes pins or clothing clips can be used to clip back excess fabric to create a cinched look to help a garment fit better. Your photographer or a stylist can help with this on location. For formal shots, we suggest classic styles and silhouettes that stand the test of time. I love what Tracy said about turning it into a date night! When you show up as the enhanced version of your authentic selves it also translates into your overall wedding style for future events and keeps things exciting!
Bring Your Dog!
Tracy: So many of my couples have dogs and I just LOVE photographing pets! So if you have one bring them! But also be prepared to bring a handler so we can take some shots with and some without!
Risa: If you do bring a dog, I recommend having both stain removing wipes and a lint roller on site! I'm all about it though, and it often times breaks the ice for a fun shoot and gives you those lasting memories with your pet too.