5 Steps to Nail Dreamy Engagement Photos
I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re just not going to pull of ‘ethereal dream’ in jeans and a white t-shirt. Now there is nothing wrong with wearing your typical everyday garb for engagement photos.. but why would you? Well, why would you if you’re trying to nail “dreamy engagement photos” anyways. My suggestion is to wear a long flowy skirt or dress. Something that will have movement and that you can pick up and swirl about… something that elicits ‘swoons’ from other women. Your top should be fitted or your waist cinched to help give you a nice hour glass shape. A long flowing dress or skirt paired with a tailored suit (and a fun pocket square!) is going to give your photos a serious romantic boost, trust me. I know what you’re thinking, that sounds expensive. Well, it can be. Or you could just be a thrifty maverick like me. I don’t normally divulge my frugality, but God do I love a deal. Here’s what I spent for my entire ensemble:
Skirt: Free People, $22. How did I get a $200+ skirt for $22? Why Crossroads thrift store of course. I layered it on top of another long Jessica Simpson skirt, which I purchased for $14 from the same thrift store.
Shoes: Cathy Jean, $25. I bought these when they were having a 75% off store-closing sale.
Top: Amaio Swim, borrowed. My bodysuit is actually a luxury swimsuit that retails for $420. Lucky for me, my best friend is the designer.
Capelet: Vintage Store, $25. I wore this size 10 capelet backwards, so the beading covered my chest. Did you notice the stain that got me to barter the price down from $60? Didn’t think so.
Bonus: The best part of dressing formal is that these photos will be just as frame-able as your actual wedding shots; and thus alleviating some of the stress of your ambitious wedding-day shot list.
2. Choose your Location Wisely:
Nothing says dreamy like a forest. Or gardens. Or a rolling vineyard. Nature is clearly the preferred backdrop for your engagement session. Chose a park with some large old trees, or a rocky beach with some interesting cliffs. Nature oozes romance and sets your photos up to have that perfectly ethereal look we’re after. That being said, don’t be afraid to go out of the box a bit. A rundown barn, old train tracks.. anything that feels vintage or antique will be beautiful. Just don’t pick a background that is too busy or where you won’t have space to yourselves. Also be cognitive of securing a location with ample shade. Direct sunlight is not the most flattering.
For the same reason as I previously mentioned, we chose to do our engagement shoot at our wedding venue. I wanted to ensure that we took full advantage of the property so we wouldn’t feel as pressured to spend precious wedding time taking posed photos instead of celebrating with guests.
3. Include Fur-Babies:
There’s no better accessory to your dreamy engagement shoot than your puppy. Except perhaps horses, those are definitely preferable.
Whether or not you have a pet to include in the shoot, you are going to need props. Think vintage. The best would be some vintage furniture, or a light blue bike with an adorable basket filled with florals. Or maybe a ladder hanging against a tree with little potted lavender plants on each rung! Or creating a backdrop out of strung flowers hanging from an old oak tree! Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless! We brought a picnic set up with pillows and lanterns (I know, amateur). I also made a custom label for our wine bottle that said our wedding date, so I at least get points for that.
No matter how stunning your outfit is or how many vintage pillows you bring, it won’t make a difference if you don’t have the right photographer. We used Jessica Mangia-Grazia, and couldn’t have been happier. We initially reached out to her based on the esthetic of other shoots she had featured on her website. Jessica not only held a similar vision, but we fell in love with her passion and felt at ease in her presence. All three of those things are essential to picking your perfect photographer. I suggest looking up shoots at venues near where you live and contacting any photographers whose photos you melt over. Chances are they’ll be local if they’ve shot nearby!
Oh, and congratulations on your engagement :).