Engagement Photo Tips

Getting in Front Of the Camera

Most couples take advantage of packaged engagement sessions or seek out a skilled friend or favorite photographer to take some memorable engagement photographs. These are a great way to get some quality images to mark your engagement and also help you get used to being in front of a camera and possibly working with your wedding shooter. You can make your session candid and casual or more formal if you like. With my clients I like to take the time to play around, get to know them as a couple and see how they feel with being the subject of the session as this helps prepare me for their wedding day.

Some couples play it serious and others goof it up- it's all about who you are as people and what you enjoy. A goofy, cheesy shot is not going to reflect or excite a serious couple nor will formal shots excite many creative, outgoing couples. Your aim should be to enjoy the shoot as much as anything else! Ladies, your man is going to have to smile on the wedding day and sometimes we guys need the practice..

Location, Location, Location

In the Bay Area we are blessed with an abundance of amazing locations and variety for wedding and engagement photography. I suggest all my clients pick a favorite outdoor place that has a special meaning to them both. From the Golden Gate, the Palace of Fine Arts, baker Beach, Tilden, Downtown Oakland and the gardens of Berkeley it's hard to not get great images around here! Your choice is not critical but should reflect you in some way. Talk with your photographer for ideas. As with the way you play in front of the camera this is about making your images a real reflection of you and making you comfortable throughout the shoot.

What to wear?

Your choice of clothing outfits for the session is extremely important yet not a difficult or complicated choice. You should be comfortable and able to move around easily as most creative shooters will keep you moving a lot. Try to think stylin and casual. It's hard to beat a favorite pair of jeans or a flowing dress, some couples may want to bring a change of clothes to give them some options and variety in the shots on location. For both ladies and fellas you should avoid WHITE and bold colors and patterns. White washes you out unless you have quite dark skin and strong patterns really distract from your face which is where the attention should be in these photos. Guys should avoid shorts as our bare legs look odd in a lot of photos- these are casual but not that casual. Girls can definitely go for some cute or sexy shoes and modest accessories while guys should lose accessories like watches and pockets bulging with keys- hand them to your photographer before you begin!

To MakeUp or Not To Makeup?

This is an easy one- there is no question here- makeup is an essential part of your engagement shoot. Even with incredible skin you will benefit greatly from some well chosen makeup. We all know about and laugh at male TV hosts that get made up for the news, but the reality is it really makes a huge difference. If you get any shots taken with flash your skin will end up glowing in a shiny way that is not flattering and not so easy to fix. On film or in pixels you and any other person looks a little dull without makeup. You must use makeup in my engagement sessions, it's just too much of an easy win not to do so. . There's almost no such thing as too much makeup for a photo session, you will likely need to wear more than you normally feel comfortable wearing. If you are rushed and can't make an appointment, stores like Macy's offer their free makeup services and I know of clients who simply used that resource for their engagement shoot and were quite happy with the results!


Another way to vastly improve the look of your engagement photos is to get your hair styled just before the shoot. If you are quite talented or have a friend with a gift for hair then by all means, but if not I would suggest getting it styled by your preferred hairdresser- just prior to the shoot. This may seem excessive to some but the difference between a 'nice' photo and a glamorous one can be the hair style and neatness.

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