I still don't get the point of engagement photos. Feel free to write an essay below -- in 100 words or less pls -- explaining to me WHAT THE FUCKING POINT IS.
But. Maddie's comment over on "Pleez help me dress myself for my engagement photos" was so bloody helpful -- not just for those of you preparing for engagement photos, but for any of us preparing to be photographed EVER -- that I thought I'd try to squeeze a little more advice out of her.
(Lady does know how to shoot an engagement photo, or a "love photo" if you'd prefer to call it that.)
Here. She. Goes.
I have a confession to make: The first engagement session I ever photographed was for a friend. She and her fiance let me "style" their shoot, and in all of my novice glory, I put the poor bastards in matching outfits. Red shirt for him. Printed red dress for her. Awww....so sweet. ::shakes head::
BUT - you don't have to repeat my mistakes! So, to make up for the evil done against my poor friends, I offer you the do's and don'ts of engagement outfits:
DON'T. Wear. Matching. Outfits. Coordinating a *little* bit is fine, but you're not a member of Destiny's Child. You and your partner are unique individuals (it's why you love each other!) If you don't dress like each other every other day of the week, don't dress like each other for your engagement shoot.
DO think of your surroundings when picking out colors for your outfit. For example, if your photos are in a park, know that a green dress is going to make you blend in with the bushes. Something on a red scale (like pink) will really pop against the green, or for a more subdued look, a cool color like blue will still differentiate from your surroundings. If you need help figuring out which colors will pop the most, look at a color wheel. The hues directly across from each other will stand out the most (red and green, purple and yellow, orange and blue). But basically anything other than the color you're standing in front of will work.
DO wear something patterned or a color-blocked outfit if you're worried about certain anatomy standing out more than others in your pictures. Because fabrics create shadows and highlights, and photography is all ABOUT shadow and highlight, solids one-piece outfits are going to make every bump show through your clothes. Patterns will still show off your fabulous figure, but will camouflage the bits and pieces you don't want to accentuate. Color-blocking breaks things up a bit - and the different colors, textures and fabrics will add interest to the outfit so it's not just about the silhouette.
DO wear fitted clothes that aren't super clingy if you want to flatter your body (I know this isn't some people's style. I get that. But if you want your body to look smokin' in your pics, it will get lost in shapeless clothing). If you're curvy like me, clothes that fit closer to the body are going to do you more favors than loose-fitting outfits. Also, draw attention to your favorite parts by adding interest there. (Great rack? Wear a v-neck. Sexy arms? Go sleeveless. You get the point).
[Editor's Note: I'm sorry Shannon, but YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A GREAT RACK.]
DON'T wear white. Wedding dresses are full of intricate detail that can photograph beautifully, but for the most part white doesn't really show up well in photos. There are exceptions of course, but color is your friend.
You DON'T need a new outfit. If you have something in your closet that makes you feel like a super star, wear it. You love it for a reason.
DO wear makeup. Even if you don't usually wear it, cameras have a tricky way of picking up every uneven tone on our faces. You don't have to go full-on musical theatre with it, but a little foundation and mascara will go a long way toward making your pictures reflect how you look in real life (and if you do normally wear makeup, wear just a tiny bit more).
DON'T forget accessories. If you are going to wear solids (which is totally cool by the way! You don't *have* to wear patterns) then I suggest a strong accessory like a statement necklace or earrings, or headband or WHATEVER makes you feel cool. The color rules for accessories are the same as above. A mustard necklace is really going to pop against an eggplant sweater.
Speaking of cool. DO wear something that makes you feel cool. Frankly, for all the rules and regulations above, wearing something you feel awesome in is going to make your pictures look fantastic. Nothing can substitute for confidence. Are you listening to me? Nothing.
DON'T play it safe. Nobody else is watching, so none of your friends on Facebook are going to see these if you don't want them too. Engagement photos shouldn't be a chore, so have a little fun with it.
DON'T treat any of the above like hard and fast rules. I'm not Stacy London. I won't come to your house and take all your clogs away from you. At the end of the day you just need to feel good about how you look.
So, those are the general do's and don'ts. The following are some personal beliefs:
You DON'T need a causal outfit. For some reason, everyone thinks they need a casual outfit. But unless you really want one, it's unnecessary.
DO look like the most dressed up version of yourselves. Wear what you would normally wear to a really fun party (this is open to your interpretation of course). This is partly because it dresses up your photos and partly because party outfits put people in a mood to have fun.
DO understand that your photographers don't see your body the way you do. Of course we want to give you the most beautiful, flattering photos of yourself. But if I'm your photographer, then I automatically think you're drop dead gorgeous. I don't know that you hate your arms or that you think your ass is flat. If you look happy and in love in your photos, it's a total disservice to yourself to fixate on body parts (and I say this with love, because I'm guilty of it too).
DON'T be afraid to ask our opinion though! If you're between outfits, we can usually give you a good idea of what's going to photograph better. And if you do have certain hangups about how you might look, we can usually offer advice for how to play up your best assets. (I will, however, refuse to acknowledge anything you might call a flaw. You're fucking gorgeous, ok?)
Nearly all of this advice works for any occasion, amirite?
Photos by Maddie + Monica of Hart + Sol