What should we wear for our engagement photos?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's day 2 of Royal Wedding Week on the blog and today we'll be talking about engagement pictures. The uber-talented Mario Testino (who I got to see talk at an engagement at the Museum of Fine Art last year) took the official engagement pictures of Prince William and Kate Middleton and I thought the two pictures released struck a good balance of formal and relaxed.


I could of course copy and paste the pictures but that would be naughty (respect the copyright people!) so I'll link to **this** article in Vogue where he discussed some of the behind the scene moments. Interestingly, Mario explained that he gave Kate advice on which dress would look best in the pictures and helped her pick the white Reiss dress she wore.

Engagement pictures should reflect your personalities so you should choose clothes that you feel comfortable in and represent who you are. Having said that, there are certain colors/styles that photograph better than others so I provide my couples with a nifty little document with all sorts of helpful hints and tips and suggestions on what to wear and how to prepare for their engagement shoot and I thought I'd share some of these here...

Presenting...Leah's Top Ten Tips for looking fabulous and relaxed in your engagement photos (lot of great examples at the end!)

1. Wear clothes that fit you. Seriously - and I am guilty of this in real life ;) - if your jeans are a little too tight or that dress is a little too small not only will you feel a little uncomfortable but you won't have a nice smooth silhouette in your pictures. Don't get hung up on the number on the label!

2. Choose a complimentary color palette for the two of you. No need to do matchy-matchy unless you dress alike everyday in real life! Lie the two outfits on the bed together and check that they don't clash. A pale blue button down shirt is my go-to choice for guys - great with all skin tones and compliments everything from a cute little black dress with statement jewelry to a gorgeous little top with your fav jeans.

3. Now put on your chosen complimentary outfit and take a good look in a full length mirror in good light. Do a little happy dance. Is your shirt riding up? Are you having to pull and adjust any hems or sleeves? Can you see your underwear (skin-tones are usually better than bright white which can show up with flash)? Do you like how you look from the side?

4. Consider the background of your location...if we're photographing in a park or on the beach then jewel-tones like fushia, emerald, purples help you stand out against the background. It's also good to avoid bright white (takes your eye away from your face) and bright red or green (can reflect back on your skin making you look overexcited or seasick)

5. Hair and make up! I know it can feel like costs are out of control when you're planning your wedding but you've invested in professional pictures so you want to love how you look in them! Consider scheduling your hair and makeup trial before your engagement shoot or maybe bump your regular hair appointment out to coincide with the shoot - heck, even a $15 blow out at Supercuts and a mini-makeover at the Bobbi Brown or Mac counter in a department store will add a little polish! There's a reason why Hollywood stars spend all day in hair and make up before the Oscars!

6. These pictures will be around for a long time! Think timeless/elegant/classic/relaxed. So this might not be the best idea to try out some cool new trend that you're not sure about. Patterns also date faster than solid colors. If you're at all self conscious about your weight (who isn't these days!?) don't hide in loose baggy clothes which will bulk up your silhouette - think well-fitted, add a belt or choose an A-line/flared skirt to show off your waist.

7. Unless you want your purse to have a starring role then I'd suggest putting a lip gloss in his packet and leaving it in the car (out of sight of course!) - with both hands free it's easier to hug/hold hands/dance/do a cartwheel (I'm joking on the last one - or am I?)

8. I'm somewhat of a shoe-a-holic. I'm not ashamed to admit that sometimes I'll stand for a while in my closet just admiring my shoe collection. Although one must suffer for fashion you don't want your feet to blister on your engagement shoot! So feel free to bring a pair of flip flops to wear for walking between locations which you can then just throw off to the side while you slip those 5 inch Louboutins back on

9. You'll be getting pretty close and snuggly (that's a technical photography term I'll have you know) so unless you lunch together you might want to skip the garlic in your pasta that day! I offer complimentary mints throughout the day ;)

10. Break the rules! If your all-time favorite sweater is a little tight and striped red and green but you love how you look in it then by all means ignore everything I just wrote!

And now it's time for pictures to show you some fabulous and relaxed examples:

Love this picture of Neeta and Rich under the blossom in the Public Gardens - see how the stunning pink of Neeta's dress makes the picture pop:


If Erin or Jeffrey had worn green then I may have lost them in this super-wide shot:


How adorable is Stephanie's elegant yet modern strapless polka-dotted dress, it fits amazingly and the chunky woven belt adds just the right amount of interest (and Tim coordinates perfectly in the background!):


And here's the most amazing example of clothes complimenting without matching (this was actually an anniversary shoot for my photography BFF Kate and her husband Josh so you'd expect her to get the clothing right):


For engagement photos inside Fenway Park you might want to do primary colors to pop against the brick walls and green seats:


Here's Lindsay looking adorable in an elegant grey silk jcrew sleeveless shirt (I know it's jcrew because I have the same one in orange but I don't look half as cute as Lindsay!) with Matt:


Who doesn't love a delicious pair of heels? Loved the ones that Alison wore when I photographed her engagement pictures with Matt in the North End:


Yummy Starburst summer colors on Julie and Steve pop against the green of the public gardens on a sunny day:


When I saw Bridget's super cute little green jacket for her engagement photos in Boston with Matt I was beyond happy. Ladies - you don't have to wear black!


Katy's turquoise top works great here in these fall Newburyport pictures. Sean is also looking very sharp in his jacket:


Another rule breaking image - Kristine & Marc's neutral colors work really well on the beach and show off the calm they feel around each other.


And that's it for today! Tomorrow we're talking shotlists and family formals. Let's imagine Princess Diana (RIP) was still here and would be attending the wedding on Friday, I imagine there would be strict instruction for the photographer not to stand her next to Prince Charles & Camilla ;)

Are you liking Royal Wedding Week on the blog? Just wait until Friday's post when you'll see me in my best hat! I have an AWESOME wedding in York, ME on Saturday so next week will be a veritable feast of beautiful wedding pictures!

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