Have you penciled in your engagement session with your wedding photographer only to realize,

“Shoot I don’t know what to wear!”

I got you girl, I was there too -staring at my closet puzzled & overwhelmed.

You’ll most likely be using your engagement photos for save the dates, welcome table décor at the wedding and maybe an announcement in your hometown newspaper so of course you want them to be perfect. As wedding & engagement photographers we have seen just about every imaginable ensemble for engagement sessions- the good, the bad and the ugly. And with my experience as a makeup artist I am here to guide you to the best makeup application for your engagement photos. Here we round out our best tips & tricks to nail your engagement session photos.

Just be you…

These are YOUR engagement photos, right? They’ll be sent out as save the dates or announcements to friends & family members who know you two. So wear something that reflects who you two are & what you love.

If you bond over loving the same sport or sports team bring along some jerseys for a few playful photos.

If you are country guy or gal and you live in your cowgirl boots by all means wear those!

If you have a trademark color or want to wear one of the colors from your wedding day palette to introduce the vibe then do that too.

 There is truly so much freedom with this our advice is to start with what you feel yourself in. If you go for an outfit that isn’t you, you’ll most likely feel less confident and that can come across in your photos. Below are some best practices beyond this general starting point.

Don’t over dress or undress your fiancé…

If he decides he wants to rock a suit and you decide you want to show up in a beachy sundress the photos may feel a little off.

If you really envision your engagement photos having that sophisticated, editorial vibe and you plan on dressing up for the occasion then help your fiancé find an outfit that will compliment the colors you are wearing and match the level of dress.

Outfit swaps are always welcome for our couples during their engagement photography session. We have so many examples of engagement photos where our couples start off in something more casual and then swap for something a bit dressier. This will give you dynamic engagement photos and lots of options to choose from for your save the dates. It also will give you very different photos so if you want to display them on the wedding welcome table at the reception it’s not the same photo guests saw in the save the dates.

Life if beautiful in color…

We love rich colors for engagement photos, soft pastels are also beautiful and we can’t forget about the magical slimming properties of dark colors. I am partial to something in a neutral or pastel that can be moved by the wind, SWOON. But I also think it’s fun when the bride to be shows up to her engagement session in a white dress, it brings that whole bridal vibe to the photos. I’d say for colors its good to keep your chosen location in mind. If you are taking your engagement photos in the Carlsbad Flower Fields or somewhere really colorful maybe its better to go for something soft or neutral so you’re not competing with the background. On the other hand, if you opted for an architectural backdrop wearing something a bit more colorful will help add interest to your engagement photos.

 Comfort is critical…

If you have to wear spanx, lie down to button it up or hold your breath to make it look good, don’t wear it. Comfort is key here if you’re uncomfortable it will show on your facial expression in the photos. The same goes with shoes if you can’t walk in them without looking like a newborn deer that doesn’t quite know how to use its legs yet, then don’t wear them. We always recommend wearing your comfortable shoes and bringing along a pair of heels (if desired) just to slip on before we capture the photo. This will accomplish a few things…

It will make you more comfortable

It will make getting to an awesome location easier (there may be some off-roading involved for that epic engagement photo)

And finally, it will make moving from location to location for your engagement photos much faster.

Time of day matters for your makeup look…

I totally recommend having your makeup & hair professionally done for your engagement photos. You only do this once and it’s so fun to splurge on yourself for the occasion. Plus a pro will know exactly what to do when you tell them what you’re wearing, time of day and location so the entire look comes together seamlessly. If you want to go your own way here are a few tips.

Test your foundation, powder and skincare before the engagement session. Apply all of the base makeup you’ll wear for your engagement session including skincare beneath and take a photo with and without flash, in doors and outdoors and see how it photographs. Some sunscreens and powders can cause flash back when a photographer uses flash photography, which can result in a face way whiter than your neck or the dreaded white under eyes.

If you’re taking photos outdoors in the daylight keep your highlight and contour to a minimum. The sun will cast a lot of harsher light and highlights on your face as it is. The time to go heavier on highlight or contour is in the evening, indoors where it may be dimmer and you want your features to show. My favorite highlighter for daytime is the Hourglass ambient lighting palette, run your brush across all 3 and swipe on the high points of your face (if you like them). Don’t highlight your nose because everyone else does if you’re insecure about it. Highlighting brings attention to features so avoid those that you aren’t confident about. Also if you are oily powder the T-zone for outdoor photos and avoid highlighting in that area as you will naturally get a bit shiny there throughout your engagement session anyway.

Complement each other…

We like to think the days of wearing matchy-matchy outfits with your spouse are behind us. It can come across a little cheesy. A more modern way of complementing each other is to wear shades from the same color family but not the exact same color.

Express emotion…

Crazy idea, I know. But, YES! We want you to express emotion for your engagement photo session.

Make each other laugh. As wedding & engagement photographers we have our prompts & banter to try to bring this out but you two know each other better than anyone else. So in our eyes there is no better person than your fiancé to bring that smile to your face during your engagement session.

Flirt, yes flirt! Pull her in close, kiss his neck, push her hair out of her face. You two are getting married show some of that chemistry that helped you realize this is your person.

Be playful-if that’s your thing. Chase her into the water at the beach or lift her up for a kiss, spin her around, be playful with each other the movement and life it breathes into your engagement photography is so impactful.

This is a joyous occasion. Just get wrapped up in each other and let us do the documenting! To all of the newly engaged couples out there, congratulations! This will be one of the most memorable and happiest seasons of your life. Soak it in, live it up and celebrate finding each other, in this vast busy world finding your person is something worth celebrating!




You’ve finally


Ryan + Emily Burhop

of emry

We are wedding photographers for those who believe in love, because Emry originated out of love. Love for each other, for imagery and for creating things that were made to last. We serve southern California & beyond. Outside of photography, our life revolves around our son, Jude and our families.

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