Engagement Photo Prep

Kyle and I shot our engagement photos with our amazing photographer Fawn Christiansen this past weekend, over a year after getting engaged (oh well!). We shot them on the sailboat down in Long Beach, CA I have mentioned oh just one or two times before. Here we are laughing at the awkwardness of a professional camera pointed at us from one side, and an iPhone from the other.

Photo by friend and Captain Ron Remsburg

We won't see the actual engagement photos from our photographer  for another couple of weeks, but in the mean time I wanted to share some tips on preparing for your engagement photos. I'm the first to admit that I can be a little over-prepared (a.k.a. obsessive) when it comes to things like this, so go ahead and laugh if this just isn't for you. :) However, I was hard pressed to find information about preparing for your engagement photos, so here is what I learned:

- Pick out a couple of different outfits for both you and your better half. Maybe you have something you love already in the closet. If so, great! It'll really represent who you are. Or maybe you have a theme to your engagement photos and want an excuse to go shopping. Regardless, it will be helpful to offer your photographer a couple of different options for looks, since he or she may have a particular vision in mind. (side note: I would recommend keeping the tags on any clothes that you buy, just in case you don't end up wearing them for the shoot and they're not something you would normally wear.)

- Get a manicure and pedicure! Especially a manicure, since you'll have close up shots of your left hand taken. Maybe this is no thing for most people, but I haven't had a manicure or pedicure since high school. Definitely take the time to get your nails done within a couple of days of your shoot.

- Decide on how you want your hair and make up to look. Whether you're doing it yourself or hiring a professional, it's good to know what look you're going for. But most importantly, make sure you look like you! If you're doing it yourself, do a practice run of your hair, make up, and outfits one night to make sure you like the entire look. If you're hiring someone, send them some inspiration photos ahead of time so they have some time to think about their execution.

- This may go without saying, but be sure you both shave any unwanted hairs! Sometimes the to-do list can get a bit overwhelming and something as simple as this can be forgotten.

The William Brown Project, photo by Chris Shipman

Now here are some more obsessive tips for the crazy bride (like me):

- If you color or highlight your hair, get it done within 2 weeks of your photo shoot so your roots look even and your hair is nice and healthy. I had my hair highlighted a lighter shade 2 days before my photo shoot. I don't recommend doing that unless you really trust your hair stylist (thankfully, I do!), as there is no time to correct it if it turns out terribly. If you think you want a different look, I would plan ahead and try it at least once before your shoot.

- And expanding on that... don't experiment with new skin products or anything before your shoot. You never know how your skin will react.

- Try not to risk a sunburn within a week of your shoot. Avoid the beach and only do artificial tans if you've done it before and know how it all works on your skin.

- Have your eyebrows done, or do them yourself. If you get them waxed, make sure you give your skin plenty of time to heal.

- Starting 2 days before your shoot: avoid alcohol, greasy food, salty food, and spicy food. Drink lots of water and get some good sleep.

- Lastly, try to relax. I recommend not stressing out about it so much that your back spasms, like someone I know (that's me, in case you didn't get that).

Do you have any tips on preparing for your engagement shoot? Was there something invaluable that you did? Was there something you realized after-the-fact that might have been really useful? Let us know, because this applies to preparing for your wedding day too!