Advice from a photographer who is a bride-to-be herself!
After always giving advice from the photographer point of view, I got to experience a different side to engagement photos as the bride-to-be! Here are some prep checklist items that I found helpful when planning to be IN the photos!
If you’re just here to scroll and see our engagement photos or video you can scroll past this text towards the bottom of the post!
Working with my Photographer to find a location that fit
When thinking of where to go for photos some couples choose the sentimental route. Maybe their favorite coffee shop, where they met, or where they were proposed to! For our photos, I was really in the mind set: “what do I want in the background of these images” / “What is the overall mood”. So naturally I created a ‘mood board’ to help me stay on track with my vision and matching it with our outfits. When scrolling and looking at images I liked from Pinterest, I then asked myself, WHY do I like these photos, what do they have in common.
I knew I wanted a location that had a light background (Neutral colors, cream/white) and I wanted to incorporate a walking path with pretty architecture. It was also important for our space to have some nature, not just ‘in the city’. When I say nature I don’t necessarily mean like a waterfall or pine trees, but somewhere that had more of a garden.
When I talked to my photographer, Megan, we originally planned for a spot that we have both photographed before. And with Megan being the great photographer she is, she checked out the location before our session day and it turns out- that location was under construction! So we thought of another location and I reached out to the venue – guess what. Under construction… again. At that point I was feeling a little deflated! But I phoned a friend who lives in Pittsburgh and brainstormed locations with her. This is when she remembered a placed we had visited together and loved. It was like a light bulb went off in my head and was like oh yeah, DUH!
The Frick Pittsburgh
The location we picked was PERFECT. It not only incorporated my love for art history being around an art museum but it also had a little outdoor cafe that made me feel like we were in Paris AND it had a large green space for us to play with the football which was a mandatory prop for us to use to feature Michael’s football coaching career and passion.
Choosing Outfits, Start Early!
I knew I wanted my fiancé and I to have one formal outfit and one more semi-casual outfit for our session! After choosing our first outfit, I hung them up somewhere that I could see the outfits together often to make sure I still loved the overall look! Our Final selection: Michael in a blue suit jacket and pants, white button up, no tie. And I picked out a sage green Midi length dress with a light daisy pattern. I always had in my mind that I wanted to have a green dress, because of my green eyes! When shopping for my dress I looked at styles I knew looked flattering on my body. I know that I am more comfortable with having sleeves on my arms for photos and I knew I wanted my dress to have some flowy-ness for photos. (fun for twirling!)
For our second outfits, I wanted to wear light colors. So I wore a white top that was more casual but still nice and paired it with jeans. Michael had a button up shirt and rolled up his sleeves, paired with his jeans and clean boots.
Who doesn’t appreciate a little pampering? Girls, take the time to go get your nails done. You don’t have to get acrylics! I like to ask for a French tip on my natural nails with gel paint (the gel just lasts longer!) It is a small detail for the photos but trust me when I say you will definitely notice if your nails have chipped paint in the photos, so either take off all the polish, or get your nails done. For the guys, get a fresh hair cut about 1-2 weeks before your session! This way your hair is laying exactly how you like it!
Don’t sweat the small stuff – If you forget something it will be fine!
SO funny enough, before our session I planned out what earrings and necklace I wanted to wear with my outfits. However, when the photo session started and I changed to my first outfit. I COMPLETELY forgot about my earrings. Left them in the car during the entire session! But guess what, I didn’t remember that until long after, when we were almost home because we were having so much fun. Looking at the photos it was not a huge deal mainly because – on a day to day basis – I don’t even wear earrings. I wanted to make sure I included this and kept it honest and true with you all to let you know, not everything has to be ‘perfect’. If things don’t go as planned, you should still have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. (Michael also forgot his belt for these photos, but you all probably didn’t notice until I mentioned it!)
Copy and Paste this to your notes in your phone as a helpful check off list:
ENGAGEMENT SESSION PREP CHECKLIST
- Choose a location that fits. (Your personality and your outfits)
- Plan for one dressy and one casual outfit.
- Get a fresh haircut and hair color if you’re due for one!
- Clean your ring – I recommend doing this at your jeweler, but you can also check out this blog post where I shared a cleaning recipe.
- Get a manicure or do your nails at home.
- Plan accessories – necklaces, earrings, scarves, jackets, etc. (Trying to help you not forget like me! HA!)
- Apply heavier make-up than usual. (Use make-up setting spray too!)
- Bring extra make-up, a hairbrush, and blotting paper for touch-ups.
Our Vendor Team
I absolutely am OBSESSED with our vendor team for the wedding day. Megan is our wedding photographer, and I have worked with Megan for several wedding days. She is someone who matches my energy, we think alike and love the same style, but most importantly she is someone I TRUST to capture all the grand and small moments a wedding day offers.
Our wedding Videographer came with us to the session as well which I was very happy about! I loved this because it is not only a forever keepsake of this time in our lives, but it also was an awesome way for our photographer and videographer to work together before the actual wedding day! It was important to me that we have a strong team capturing our wedding day so that I can be fully present. I want to not be thinking like a vendor on my wedding day but rather know with all my heart that the vendors we have chosen have us completely taken care of and I can be a bride!
Our Engagement Photos
If you haven’t read already, read about how Michael popped the question by clicking here! Otherwise, enjoy scrolling!
^ Personality pics? I think yes. Thank you to Megan Lee Photography for capturing our engagement photos, we are so excited for the wedding day!
And thank you to Brandon Garry with One Night Only Films for our engagement video!