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Couple on the beach in Outer Banks

How to avoid Ricky Bobby Hands at your Engagement Photos

Aug 24, 2020

couple kissing in the water at Virginia Beach

We all know what I’m talking about here; you have your engagement photos coming up and now you’re scared you don’t know what to do with your hands, your outfits, your hair, and alllll the things. Don’t worry I got you!

What to wear for engagement photos:

The number one rule is to keep it comfortable. This isn’t the time to introduce a new fashion trend. If you choose an outfit that makes you fidget, stress, and feel insecure your face will show it. I can handle any outfit nuance but I can’t change the uncomfortable look on your face.

Now that we agree comfort is king, let’s move on. Choosing outfits that match without looking like your childhood Christmas photos. Let’s start with THE statement piece. Start with the one outfit or article of clothing that you have envisioned. This can be a floral dress, the perfect blue velvet suit coat, or even the perfect pair of shoes. Let’s build off your statement piece, we’ll use the floral dress as an example. Your floral dress is white, with blush pinks and a hint of green; you need to look for complementing colors. Kim and Nick’s Botanical Garden photos are a perfect example. I suggest looking at triadic complementing. Not sure what that is? Use a color wheel and look for the two best complementary colors.

a couple snuggling at Norfolk Botanical Gardens

What style of clothing should you choose? Formal look ideas for men are dress pants, a button-down, and a suit jacket and women in a dress, skirt, or upscale jumper. Check out Jasmine & CJ’s Maymont portraits! These are just suggestions to get your wheels moving. A more casual look can be jeans, a dress shirt or button-down or fully causal with jeans and t’s. Taylor and Olivia’s fall portraits are a great example! I suggest to my couples that a casual look is best for play and should show your everyday style.

couple dancing in a corn field at sunset

How to eliminate those camera nerves:

These aren’t your mamma’s engagement photos. Stop thinking of your engagement photos as the stiff family church photos you used to take as a kid. Start viewing it as a date night with a third wheel who makes you laugh, bump into each other, and dance in the middle of the sidewalk.

belle Isle Richmond - Couple walking under old metal structure

I do not want you to arrive drunk to your engagement photos because you were nervous and didn’t know what else to do. HOWEVER, a little liquid courage can help you get out of your head and into having fun with your partner. Bring a little cooler along, or even a few waters. Keep yourself cool, calm, and collected so the good times can roll!

Lastly, choose a photographer that makes you feel comfortable. I am a very prompt-based photographer, I get my couples moving & focused on each other and mix in a few poses here and there. If you’re someone who feels more comfortable being posed the whole time, look for photographers that do that.

Hair and Makeup

I know you want to look good in your photos, and not just date night good but prove to your kids in 15 years you were smokin hot, good. Here’s my tips to achieve the perfect balance!

couple cuddling on stage at Freedom Park Charlotte

This is not the time to try out a bold new makeup trend, you will regret it. Trust me. It is however a great time to do a makeup trial with your wedding artist or an artist you’re considering. I suggest adding drama but tastefully. I’m the first person to admit a smokey eye looks amazing, BUT too smokey and you’ll have black eyes in your photos. So balance your look with drama and your everyday makeup style. A good makeup artist will know this balance, but don’t be afraid to give your opinion, after all you’re looking for the perfect balance!

Couple on the beach in Nags Head NC

Your hair should not be in a formal updo, it’s not 1998. I suggest a simple curl, or if it is hot wear your hair to the side. Think fancy date night. Be sure to do your hair in a way you feel confident, again don’t try any new wild styles.

Enjoy it!

Your engagement portraits are meant to capture your life as it is now. This new season you’re in is special and exciting! Let your engagement portraits capture that feeling. Don’t overstress yourself, remember to think of it as more of a date night than a stiff photo session.