Engagement Session Tips

This is the part where I get to share all of the things with you that I might have done differently and all of the things I am so glad that I did do right for our engagement session. Learn from some of my personal mistakes, if you will.

1. Hire an incredible photographer! There is only so far that a great outfit, airbrushed makeup, and the "golden hour" can get you. The rest is up to your photographer. And that is a lot! You are paying them a rather significant chunk of your wedding budget, so make it count. Beyond hiring them, communicate with them. The Mr. and I have the wonderful honor of working with a husband and wife team of Joy Davis Photography, and they have made the journey such a blessing! We will be forever thankful for their services and amazing memories captured for life.

2. Bring a brush for goodness' sake. I think I actually did bring mine, but it was stashed away in my pocketbook and never saw the light of the day during our shoot. Because I had so much hairspray in my hair to keep it perfectly shaped and styled, it ended up looking piecey and slightly un-washed after the wind ravaged through it several times. So all that time with a hot straightener, huge velcro rollers, and a 1/3 of a can of anti-humidity hairspray went to waste. Spend less time with your hairspray and more time going for that perfectly tousled natural look.

3. Check yourself! There were a couple times throughout our shoot where I was so focused on getting my leg right and adjusting my neck just so that I forgot to remember one of my most important rules in pictures--never, EVER smoosh your arm against your body. I don't even think I need to go into further explanation on that other than it literally just adds about 3 pounds to your bicep. Toned or not toned, smooshing your arm is never a good idea.

4. Makeup. So I did hear somewhere that more is better for pictures. I really don't wear a lot of makeup on a regular basis, other than my signature lipstick, of course, so I wanted to look "normal" in my pictures. It actually turned out great (I wore full coverage foundation and didn't skimp on the cover-up), except that I really should have worn mascara on my bottom lashes. I typically don't because they're so tiny and practically lay right up against my skin so that the mascara slowly quickly gravitates from my lashes to my undereye area and I look like I got in a bar fight. That is never a good look. If you typically don a full face of makeup then you probably won't feel like yourself otherwise. And if you are normally an au naturel kinda gal then you might feel like a clown if you wear too much. Go with your gut here.

5. Location. Although we met at work (Tanglewood Park, to be exact), we really weren't into getting our pictures taken there for that very reason--it's work. For the very same reason we're not having our June wedding celebration there. While our original plan was to have our engagement shoot on our photographer's land in NC, we ended up having our shoot done on the first day of our week-long vacation in Charleston, SC. You can never go wrong with Charleston--in short, it's just incredible! If you don't have a place that's particularly special or near and dear to the two of you, then just go for somewhere that has the aesthetic of your personalities. For us, it was important to have greenery and trees incorporated. If you love coffee then hit your favorite local coffee shop (too bad for me my Mr. isn't into fancy lattes or coffee dates so that wasn't really relevant to us). Make it fun and personal. This will also determine your wardrobe, so pick your location before you buy out your shopping mall.

6. Wardrobe. This is maybe the biggest thing I researched before our engagement session. Everywhere I looked, though, just said to wear something that is most "you" and you're comfortable in. Completely and 100% true. I chose to wear a dress for both of our looks and I am so glad I did. I love that I paired one dress with my Jack Rogers and it's a bit more casual, but I still feel fancy and feminine--maybe also because the dress was lace. I would suggest, though, not to wear anything super fussy that you would have to constantly adjust during the shoot. You already have so much to think about as far as positioning your body you don't want to have to mess with the floppy bow that won't sit just right to your shoulder straps that want to slink down your arm. For our other look, I wore a chiffon dress in mint, which was a nod to one of our wedding colors. The Mr. did not let me dress him, but he did a great job on his own pairing his outfits with mine so that they didn't look "matchy-matchy", but also didn't clash and become distracting. More articles on what to wear from Rebecca Anne Photography and Marianne Wilson Photography.

7. Be yourself! A few times I found myself so "in the moment" that I forgot to smile. The Mr. and I are a very silly couple and you'll hardly ever catch us in a serious moment. It was nice to get some sweet pictures of us being sentimental, but I'm glad we were able to get some smiling and laughing pictures to add to the mix. Remember to have fun! You can't photoshop fun on your face, so let loose and enjoy yourself!

By no means is this the exhaustive list of dos and do nots for your engagement session, but I sure hope this helps! I'd love for you to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments--I may do an updated version in the future (and give you credit, of course)!

And this is a total brag on our photographers, but how amazing are these shots?!
Photography by Joy Davis Photography