4 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Engagement Photoshoot

Advice From A Wedding Photographer

“What should I wear? How do I get my fiancé to have fun during our session? What is the best time of day for engagement photos? Where are some good spots for photos in Northern Virginia and D.C.?” If you have wondered any of these questions, you are in the right place! Grab a glass of wine and snuggle up on the couch. In this blog post, I’m sharing all of my best tips to make the most of your engagement session!

1. What should I wear?

Styling Tip No. 1

DRESS UP! Having your engagement photos taken is a special occasion and the perfect excuse to wear something fancy!

Most importantly, wear something that you feel confident in. Try your outfit on prior to the day of your session to make sure everything fits and is clean & wrinkle free. Wear nice shoes that go well with your outfit, because shoes will be seen in your photos!

I love to suggest couples bring two outfits; one that is dressier and one that is more casual and true to who they are as a couple.

Styling Tip N0. 2

I recommend avoiding outfits that are too matchy-matchy. Instead, try to coordinate. Coordinating outfits means choosing colors that look good together but do not necessarily match. In general, neutrals are the most photogenic colors to wear for portraits; blushes, tans, faint blues, creams, grays, and whites. Avoid colors like bright red, neons, bright oranges; these colors can reflect onto the skin and can be hard to edit! Also avoid more than one bold pattern. If one person wears a pattern, like a checkered button down shirt, the other should wear a solid/neutral.

Styling Tip No.3

Accessorize! Accessories add interest and show off your personal style. Bring a hat, scarf, suspenders, bow tie, or jewelry. And, don’t forget to bring your smile! This is your most important accessory. Cheesy, I know, but happy smiling faces make for amazing photos!

Styling Tip No. 4

If there is a particular part of your body that you aren’t in love with, cover it up! For example, if your arms aren’t your favorite body part to show off, consider wearing a top or dress with 3/4 sleeves. Little fixes like this will help you achieve photos that you love.

Styling Tip No. 5

Styling tips for him:

-Many groom like to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra

visual interest, and can be more fun than wearing one full suit. I’m a big fan of this fresh take on a timeless classic.

-When in doubt, you cant go wrong with khaki pants and a nice collared button down.

-Don’t forget dress socks! White socks and dress pants don’t pair well together or look good in photos!

-Make sure your clothes are wrinkle free.

-Empty your pockets! You don’t want wallets, cell phone or keys showing through your pockets!

Styling tips for her:

-Maxi dresses or skirts that are flowy look amazing on and photograph well! Think feminine ruffles, multiples layers of fabric and the ability to move and blow in the wind!

-Get your hair and makeup done! Professional hair and makeup is usually on the top of my brides’ checklists because it looks amazing and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. From lashes to blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream.

2. How do I get my fiancé to have fun during our engagement photos?

If you are a bride that is a little anxious about how your fiancé is gong to react to this whole “picture” thing, you aren’t alone! Most men aren’t overly excited to take photos because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your guy. Tell him why you chose me and my style of photography. Show him a few favorite sessions that I’ve photographed, explain why you love them and express to him how much it means to you. Trust me, once he knows it’s important, he’ ll light up the camera for you! I promise by the time your session is over, your partner will make a comment about how much fun they had!

Still unsure? I have good news for you: You are both more photogenic than you think! Your engagement session is supposed to be fun and relaxed, not stressed or awkward. I love to give my clients direction with posing and will guide you through ways to make you look as comfotable and as natural as possible.

3. What is the best time of day for a photo shoot?

Simply put, good lighting is EVERYTHING! How bright or dark your environment is directly affects the your photos. The sun is at its brightest and harshest in the middle of the day. This can cause funky shadows and squinty eyes. Plan to start your session in the early morning, as the sun is rising, or in the evening an hour before sunset. I use a “sunrise sunset calculator” app on my phone to determine when the sunlight will be most optimal for a session. Remember that it starts to get dark earlier in the fall!

4. Where are some good spots in Northern Virginia and D.C. for engagement photos?

As you start to plan for your engagement photos, you’ll need to start brainstorming location ideas. I love when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way like a park, hiking trail, or coffee shop! If you cant think of anywhere specific, I can help you decide on a location.

Below, I’ve shared with you a few of my favorite location for gorgeous engagement photos in NoVa/ D.C.

Bears Den Overlook

For a breathtaking, colorful view of the entire Shenandoah Valley, go to Bears Den. Pack a picnic, a bottle of champagne, and enjoy the view. Bears Den is part of the Blueridge Mountains and the Appalachian trail. A lot of couples go here for engagement pictures! It truly is a beautiful location.

Blandy Farm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Blandy Farm is a very popular spot to take pictures because it is open 365 days a year and is absolutely GORGEOUS! Blandy is 172 acres of trees, fields and plants of all kinds.

A Winery

Wineries are perfect locations for photos because they tend to have beautiful scenery and photos in the grape vines are magical! It is also nice to sip on a chilled glass of wine if your engagement session is in the summer months. Plus, wine glasses make great props! (Okay, and maybe photos at a winery is just a good excuse to have a glass of wine…Let’s celebrate your engagement!)

Old Town Alexandria

Whether we take photographs on the old cobblestone streets or on the waterfront, you can never go wrong with Old Town Alex!

DC Monuments

The beautiful white stone of the D.C. monuments makes the PERFECT backdrop for photos! IF you want photos in D.C, I HIGHLY recommend a sunrise session, before there are a lot of people taking in the views and getting in your photos.

Thats it! All of my tips for making the most out of your engagement session! I hope you took a few things away from this and are ready to SLAY your photos!

I'm a fine art wedding photographer
serving couples in Virginia, Washington D.C. and beyond.


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