Engagement Photos: Tips and Tricks

When I last left you, I promised a post about some tips and tricks I used to get myself ready for our engagement picture closeups. So, here they are! I’ve categorized them by time frame, so below you’ll have some suggestions of things to do weeks before the shoot, days before the shoot, the day of the shoot, and in the weeks that follow! I’d like to also add a disclaimer here: these tips and tricks are related to my personal experience, so they may (or may not) work for you. Either way, I hope they give you some food for thought and at the very least give you some ideas on how to prep yourself both on the outside AND on the inside!

Three to four weeks before the shoot:

  • Start drinking LOADS of water. OK, maybe “loads” is the wrong word to use, but you definitely want to start hydrating yourself more than usual, especially if you’re not as good about drinking water as you should be (like me). I took a water bottle to work with me every morning and made myself drink at least three full bottles before I left to go home each day. I swear, by the time the shoot rolled around I felt more energetic and my skin was in much better condition.
  • Pay more attention to your nightly beauty regimen. About four weeks before the engagement shoot, I started religiously washing the makeup off my face every night and slathering on Olay Complete Night Fortifying Moisture Cream. It’s a bit pricey, but it definitely helped work against the dry flakes I occasionally get on my cheeks and around my nose, and it smells fantastic.
  • Take care of your pearly whites. I cannot speak highly enough about Colgate Optic White toothpaste. Seriously, after a few weeks of using it, I wouldn’t have been surprised if my teeth looked like this if I’d gone cosmic bowling (and, yes, I consider that a good thing):

  • Start thinking about what you want to wear. Go for something that feels like a slightly more put together version of “you.” Although jeans or pants are fine, there’s just something so classic and flattering about a well-fitting frock. I feel like jeans kind of cut me off in the middle, while dresses smooth my shape and give me leaner lines. Ergo, I decided on a flattering A-line dress with a fun, sweetheart neckline.

A few days before the shoot:

  • Get you and your significant other’s outfits finalized. You want to look coordinated, but not like twins. Jeans and matching white button up shirts are outdated and boring. Wear something that reflects your personalities, makes you feel comfortable, but still looks good together. Mr. A wore nice jeans and a turquoise dress shirt. I wore a purple dress but tied his outfit into mine by wearing a turquoise necklace. We looked like we belonged together, but not dorkily so. (“Dorkily” is SO a word, BTW.)
  • Eat right! Steer clear of foods that make you feel bloated or sluggish. Eat lots of fruits and veggies and don’t eat so much that you get a food baby. I promise, this will lead to a leaner-looking, better-feeling you on picture day.
  • If you’re wearing open-toed shoes, get a professional pedicure or DIY one. I nearly always go the DIY route, because as pricey as the pedicure tools are initially, over time it saves you a junk load of cash. Also along this same vein, make your fingers look pretty! Odds are your photographer will want to get a few close-ups of your engagement ring, so you’ll want your nails to be photo-ready too.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed an hour or two earlier than usual. A few consecutive nights of good sleep will make you feel (and look) better come picture day.

The day of/during the shoot:

  • Give yourself ample time to get ready. Nothing looks worse than a flush-faced, frazzled mess on camera. Allow time for potential wardrobe malfunctions, hair snafus, and general hiccups. The morning of, I couldn’t find my Spanx to wear under my dress and had to run to three different stores in town to find a replacement. Anything can happen!!!
  • Make sure to eat something the morning/afternoon of the shoot. Being lightheaded and uncomfortable will no doubt be reflected in your photos, and nobody wants those pictures. Nobody.
  • During the shoot, make sure to hold your body in a flattering way. One way to make yourself look slimmer from the chest up is to slightly pull your shoulders back and press them down to elongate your neck. Also, as our illustrious photographer, James, noted, NO ONE looks good from straight on. Angle your hips slightly and then twist your torso toward the camera. It’ll make you look leaner. This video is kind of ridiculous and corny, but they also have a few valid tips:

  • Have fun and relax! Seriously, your photographer knows how to make you and your significant other look good. Trust that he or she knows what to do, and just be yourself!

After the shoot:

  • I know its hard to not wait around in nervous excitement for the finished photos, but you’ll drive yourself crazy if you constantly think about them. Any good photographer will have a decent turn-around rate (ours was exactly a week), so just trust that your photographer will work diligently to get you the finished photos in a reasonable amount of time and put your mind and energy toward something else. Focus on some other wedding-related activities, set up your wedding website, or take yourself to the gym for a workout. The photos will be in your hands before you know it!
  • Be sure to send your photographer a quick email or Facebook message to thank them for their time and talent. The sooner after your shoot you do this, the better. I know you hired them and they’re contractually obligated to take your engagement pictures, but building a good rapport with your wedding vendors could work to your advantage. At the very least, it’ll make working with them more fun! A thank you note never goes unappreciated.

I hope these tips and ideas get you excited about your own engagement sessions, and maybe even offer some sound advice! Whatever you do, remember to have fun. Everything else will fall into place accordingly!

What were your engagement-photo experiences like? Do you have any advice for those considering engagement sessions of their own?


Mrs. Armadillo

Houston, Texas
Wedding Date:
March 2013
Haaaaaaaaaave You Met Miss Panda?
Gallery of the Day
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  1. Member
    besawke 46 posts, Newbee @ 10:30 am

    GREAT advice… I have my pictures in exactly one month and have been stressing on how to prepare! thank you!

  2. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:48 am

    As silly as it sounds, my FI and I ‘practiced’ for our Engagement shoot. We knew that a few things would be asked of us and we also know that we wanted to ask for a few things. We made a joke out of it (my FI said, “We just have to remember everything Tyra has taught us,” which spawned a ‘smile with your eyes’ giggle session) but it actually helped keep us at ease during our shoot. “Oh, you want us to dip? We GOT this.” We had so much fun so all of our smiles and laughter are completely genuine.

  3. misssparkler Member
    misssparkler 488 posts, Helper bee @ 11:01 am

    I second the advice to get a mani-pedi. I completely forgot to get one and pulled away every time our photographers got close to my hand. As a result, we have no nice ring shots from our e-pics. Sad.

  4. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:01 am

    Thanks for the tips! I have been thinking about all of the preparations I need to work into the next few weeks, but one thing I didn’t think of was my teeth! I would’ve had a panic attack in the days leading up to the pictures, but wouldn’t have had time to do anything about it, so now I have time to get started on whitening! Thanks again! :)

  5. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 11:59 am

    great tips! that video is hilar but man, do i rock a “skinny arm” like nobody’s business…haha. good call on the water and eating well too – it made me laugh because i remember that @Mrs. Sparkler had a few too many glasses of wine instead… :)

  6. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 12:03 pm

    Great advice!! I will definitely have to try that toothpaste. 😉

  7. Member
    msllamaface 198 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:08 pm

    Thank you! I just scheduled our appointment this morning and somewhere into the day I realized, oh crap, that means I have to have my picture taken! I would have never thought about getting a manicure and definitely will now.

  8. Member
    MrsPhilly 2010 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:24 pm

    I have a question… Should you tip your photographer? Ours told us there’s no fee for travel, but she already lives about 2 hours away, and our engagement session is in some caves that will add about 40 min to that drive for her. I feel like I should maybe give her a gift card from the gas station or something… but not sure.. and not sure how much if I do.

    What did everyone do in terms of tip for theirs?

    Also… Question… if you’re wearing fitted jeans, do you think it’s bad if the top is loose? Will it add “weight” or do you think you should stick to a more fitted top as well?

  9. Member
    BabyBlueEyes 235 posts, Helper bee @ 5:17 pm

    Great tips! And that’s coming from a photographer 😉 If everyone was as conscience about their pictures as you, every session would be a success!

  10. coyote Member
    coyote 1930 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:31 am

    Great tips! I would add bringing a bottle of water along with you! We had ours done in the middle the summer (bad idea) and we were SO thirsty halfway through.

  11. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:18 pm

    We didn’t have engagement photos. But these are great tips for the day of the wedding too!

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