Are you wondering how to prepare for your engagement photos in Williamsburg, VA? Look no further, this blog post is for you! My goal for your engagement photos is to HAVE FUN and for the session to be STRESS-FREE. I’m hoping this blog post will help you get the most out of your session and answer any questions you may have, so we can do just that!
When should I schedule my session?
I absolutely love images outdoors that are bright and timeless – in order to get this look in your session, I highly recommend beginning your session about 1.5 hours before sunset. Many call this time of day “golden hour” (you can get this same look early in the morning at sunrise if you’re up for it!).
You might be thinking (or a photographer put this thought into your head!), “if you’re a good photographer, can’t you take great photos any time of day?” Why yes, yes I can. I can take gorgeous images in the rain, in super bright sunlight, beside a dumpster or in an alley… but your engagement photos happen one time in your life. Why not do them at the MOST beautiful time? Add the bonus that evenings are usually cooler weather and less crowded in popular spots… win, win, win! Plus, if you’re already in cute clothes, you can plan a date night right after!
Where should my engagement photos take place?
There are so many options for gorgeous engagement photos in Williamsburg, VA! My absolute favorite location is Colonial Williamsburg. I sometimes get the response – isn’t that overused? It IS a popular place for photography sessions; however, what’s so great about it is that there are so many hidden spots and such a variety of locations. You can hang out in one part of CW and have a downtown feel with brick buildings, walk a little ways and have the backdrop of an English garden or find areas with just grass, fences or trees. It’s a great way to get a lot of variety in your session.
Other great options include the campus of William and Mary, a local beach (College Creek or Jamestown Beach) or one of the many parks, like York River State Park. If you have a place you’re wanting to explore that’s new, I’d love to explore it with you!
Should we do multiple outfits? Is there time?
I recommend a maximum of two outfits so we can use more of our time to get a variety of locations and images. Changing outfits does always end up taking more than than expected and can sometimes add stress. It may be good to do one casual look and one more formal – you can always bring accessories/layers to mix it up too. Perhaps you take off your guy’s jacket or vest for a less formal look or add a jean jacket to your dress.
OK, we know when and where, but what should we WEAR?
For Her: Say Yes to the Dress
Dresses are truly SO flattering for females – and a long, flowy one looks so romantic! I highly recommend a long, flowy dress or skirt as they flatter all body types. They look amazing on camera and can be fun to add movement too (think of that “twirl factor” as you walk and move in images). You could consider two dresses for variety!
For Her: How to Flatter Your Features
I have found that everyone woman, not matter your size, has some part of her body that she feels self conscious about. It really does help to choose outfits that flatter your silhouette and features. 3/4 sleeves or adding a cute jacket to a dress will help with slimming arms. For most women, skinny straps and strapless dresses do make arms look bigger on camera. Heels elongate legs and make your calves look more toned (you can bring easy to slip on shoes for walking from place to place!). Keep in mind your features you want to flatter as you choose your outfit :).
For Her: Accessorize
It’s always fun to add a belt, earrings, hat, necklace or cute scarf to add visual interest. Choose one or two so they don’t compete for attention. You could try a bold pair of earrings that you love, a great necklace or even florals in your hair for a romantic touch.
For Her: Hair, Make Up and Nails?
You will keep your engagement photos forever, so it is a fun time to pamper yourself! Hair, makeup and freshly painted toes and nails can give an extra boost of confidence and look beautiful on camera. It can also remove some of the stress getting ready. Some brides choose to use this time as a trial for wedding makeup or hair, too!
Tanning and Spray Tans
You may be wondering if this is a good time to try a spray tan or a new self tanner. Even when it’s done by a professional, spray tans tend to photograph orange. I highly recommend skipping this – your natural skin tone will be the most beautiful on camera!
What colors should we wear?
Bold patterns and bright colors can distract and take the focus off the real subject, you! I recommend selecting neutral tones and more muted shades – like cream, taupes, light gray, soft pinks, muted blues… A softer or even pastel-leaning palette looks beautiful with the outdoors!
For Him: Tops, Bottoms & Layers
Just like I mentioned how dresses flatter the female body, jackets, blazers or sport coats flatter the male silhouette. Long sleeves are super flattering as well – so I would always choose a long-sleeve button-down over a short sleeve polo. You can do your “more dressy” images with the sleeves down and then roll them up for the more casual ones. Viola – he doesn’t even have to change!
When deciding on the colors and weight, try pairing a different color top with bottoms – for example, you could do navy pants with a gray blazer, or dark gray pants with a soft blue shirt. The fit is way more important than the brand or price – bunched up fabric can make you look shorter or larger than you are. Keeping to solid colors will keep our eyes on the two of you instead of distracting the eye.
When you look at Banana Republic or J. Crew mannequins, you will often see layered looks. This looks great on camera, even if it’s a little warm outside! Having a pop of color from a collar under your sweater or a denim jacket can make your images more interesting. A vest is a fun option too!
For the most sophisticated and masculine look for a man, long pants with closed-toe shoes will be the most flattering, drawing your attention away from his feet and right to his face. I recommend forgoing shorts, sandals and athletic shoes. Dress pants, colored pants, or nice dark-washed jeans with brown leather dress shoes look great with almost any shirt you choose.
What if He’s Not Excited like I am?
Ok, I get it! Sometimes one of us are excited and the other is not. First, remember that while the photos may not be his favorite thing, YOU absolutely are! Educate him beforehand by looking through a few blog posts on my site of engagement photos in Williamsburg, VA, and let him know how much this means to you. Often, there is a bad experience from the past like family photos or a wedding that the photos drug on and on. Let him know that this will be fun, and there will be a great date night right after!
Mattie, that was A LOT! :). Take it one step at a time and reach out if you need help! At the end of the day, the most important thing will be having fun and making memories. While these tips will enhance your photos and flatter your body the most, your joy and connect in the images will outshine everything. Bring your smile, and I will take care of everything else once you arrive! I can’t wait to see you for your engagement photos in Williamsburg, VA!
Haven’t booked a session yet, reach out here :). See you soon!