September 16, 2014

Guest Post: Preparing for your Engagement Portraits

Today we are excited to have Sara of Sara Bishop Photography take over our blog to give all you lovely brides to be, fabulous tips for preparing for your engagement photo shoots.  Check out her tips and gorgeous images!

You’ve found Mr. Wonderful…. he proposed…. and you said yes!
Congratulations!  You’re engaged!  Being engaged is a wonderful feeling, full of love, possibility and romance.  Enjoy this stage of your relationship as much as you can!  There are so many wonderful experiences to be had while you are engaged.  One of those experiences  – engagement portraits!  Here are a few tips to help you prepare for that special portrait session.

Choose your Photographer!
If you’ve already booked your photographer for your wedding, your engagement portraits are most likely included in your wedding collection.  If you haven’t booked your photographer, your wedding planner will have great resources and help you to do so. 

I highly recommend choosing the same photographer for your engagement portraits and your wedding.  It will allow you to get comfortable with your photographer, how they pose you, and how you interact with them.  By the end of your engagement session you are going to feel like a natural in front of the camera, and your portraits on your wedding day will be a breeze!

Get Personal! 
“What do you do together for fun?” is one of the first questions I ask my couples, when discussing ideas for their engagement session.  Most couples have to really think hard before they come up with an answer that’s more exciting than “Uhhh, we like to watch TV”.  So, it’s normal if something doesn’t immediately pop into your head.  Take a few moments and jot down some ideas.  You’ll be amazed at the ideas we can pull from the activities you enjoy together.
Some common activities are cooking, going out to eat, enjoying a sports game, strolling downtown areas, hiking, camping and playing board games.

Chat with your photographer about your interests, how you met, and the amazing things you experience together – even if they seem mundane.  They’re not!  I promise!

From the photographers’ point of view, we want to photograph your love, in a personal way.  Engagement portraits don’t need to be stuffy, they should be full of life and romance!  The more creative your photographer can get, to portray your love, the more he/she will be able to deliver the images that really show how much love you have for one another.  So, get personal!

Pick a Location!
Your photographer will help you choose the ideal location for you and your fiancé, based on the information you have provided them.  Think about the feeling you want your portraits to portray, what activities did you decide to include in your portraits?  Maybe you have a location that is meaningful, such as where he proposed, or your first date?  You already love the work your photographer creates, that’s why they were hired, right?!  So, let their creativity flow and come up with a plan for a location that you all feel good about. 

Makeup, Hair, Clothes, Oh My!
First, let’s talk about clothes.  You want to feel comfortable, but you want to look cute.  Scratch that, you want to look HOT!  I’m giving you permission.  Look HOT! 

Find outfits that complement each other.  It’s always a good idea to dress up for your portraits, but you don’t need to be uncomfortable.  If you want to wear a dress with a floral pattern, ask your honey to wear a solid shirt.  Depending on your individual styles you can really make your outfits unique, personal and interesting.  The days of wearing black tops and jeans are done!  Mix up your textures, add interest with jewelry…. wear patterns! 

I will ask my clients to text me pictures of their outfits a few weeks before our scheduled session.  It’s really fun to share in your excitement, and help you style your outfits.  Your photographer will also be able to tell you what may, or may not photograph well in your particular situation.  
Now, let’s talk about hair.  It’s usually best to get a fresh cut and color 2-3 weeks before your session.  This will let everything settle, your ends won’t be too blunt, and your hair will have a more natural look. 

Makeup.  Aaaahhh makeup.  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love having my makeup professionally done.  I highly, highly recommend it for your engagement portraits.  Experienced makeup artists know how to really make your beautiful face, even more beautiful!  I always tell my brides-to-be that false lashes are non-negotiable.  Seriously.  If you’re nervous about them, I get it.  I was too.  But, if they are adhered properly, you don’t even feel them.  And they look awesome in photographs! 

Trust your makeup artist – yes, she’s going to put more makeup on you than you would normally wear.  That’s the point.  When you’re photographed you look like you’re wearing a lot less makeup, so don’t worry.  You’re beautiful!

Keep in mind that your makeup appointment will take about an hour, so be sure to schedule it early enough in the day to allow you to have enough time to change into your outfits and arrive on time to your portrait location.

Remember to get a manicure, and pedicure if you are wearing open toe shoes.  Your hands, and your gorgeous ring are going to be photographed, so pick a color that coordinates with your outfit, or go bold and choose a vibrant red, or bright pink.

Gentlemen!  Please, use sunscreen if you’re going to be outside the week before your portrait session is scheduled.  It is not cute to be bright red.  And your soon-to-be-wife will be really sad that your lobster-look is immortalized in your portraits.  This goes for the wedding too.

Portrait day is here.  You look hot!  Really, you do!  I’m totally serious! 

So, take a deep breath, and think about how much you love your fiancé.  That’s it!  Don’t worry about your hair, your clothes, if you look thin.  Remember, I already told you… You look hot! 

If you’re feeling worried, it will show in your portraits.  Your photographer will get you laughing and feeling comfortable too, but it’s really important to just focus on your Mr. Wonderful.  Speaking of Mr. Wonderful, it’s your time to love on your girl, like nobody’s business.  This will help ease both of your worries, and help you loosen up.  My favorite portraits of my couples are the ones that are more natural.  Loving on each other in a soft embrace, or laughing out loud after he just grabbed your butt.  Those are awesome, fun, totally unique portraits of you and your love.

Before you know it, you’ll be modeling professionals – laughing, strolling, and feeling right at home.  Enjoy your engagement portraits, and cherish this time together.


“If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to me existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.” – Richard Avendon

This quote completely describes how I feel about my work, and my job as a photographer.
Photography is my passion!  I live it and breathe it, every day.
I have a zest for life, and love!  I laugh . . . really loud!
I enjoy art, of all kinds.
And I can never say no to dessert!
Find out more about Sara’s life and loves by following her!

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