This afternoon I am delighted to share some fabulous advice from Charlie Kingsland Barrow of CKB Photography on What to Wear to your Engagement Shoot.
CKB Photography is Wedding and Family Photography by Charlie Kingsland-Barrow covering Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, and London area.
Charlie creates dreamy, beautiful images to capture those precious moments, and is inspired by love, romance, light, and Old Hollywood movies.
Charlie says “As a Wedding Photographer, an Engagement shoot comes as a lovely part of some of my packages. This also means that I get asked the same questions a lot, mainly –
-What should I wear?
-What should I bring?
-How much make-up should I wear?
“So this post has a dual purpose of being for professionals constantly getting asked the same thing, or for couples wanting pre shoot pointers.”
1. Classify Your Location
“Generally, the answers to the first two questions are defined by a few considerations. Firstly, you need to classify your engagement location. This can sometimes mean a tiny bit of research.”
“For example, if you decide to opt for the ornamental gardens of a stately home, or a beautiful ornate town centre park with historic / beautiful features, you could classify the engagement shoot venue as Elegant/Sophisticated/Romantic.”
“Then, all my clients have to do is to find clothes which they would usually wear that fit into this category. For example girls might opt for a long pure silk maxi dress, men for a great quality shirt / shoes.”
2. Make Sure Outfits Suits The Surroundings
“The best advice I can to my clients, is to make sure that your outfit suits your surroundings.”
“For the champagne picnic engagement photoshoot below, I asked my couple to keep their clothes light-coloured and neutral (meaning they would compliment one another and not clash), but also smart and celebratory- but also relaxed, as it was an outdoor picnic after all.”
“As it happened their outfits perfectly suited the time of day- the pinks and blues in the sky and surroundings as the sun set.”
3. You Don’t Have To Be Smart
“That’s not to say you always have to think ‘smart’. The couple below are a really young couple, who love music and photography. We decided their photoshoot would be upbeat and fun, and it took place within a Cotswold Farm Shop, surrounded by fields of vegetables and unusual animals such as water buffalo and Gloucester Old Spot pigs!”
“For this shoot you could definitely tell they were still dressing as ‘themselves’, they both wore converse trainers as this suited the surroundings and reflected their style, but still looked like they had made an effort – the Bride to be in a pretty lace dress over jeans and theygroom in a fab tweed jacket.”
“They looked as they are – young and fun!”
4. What Not To Wear
“A what NOT to wear tip would be this; try to avoid patterns if you can. Some photographers may disagree with me here but generally I find prints, especially ill-considered print, can be unflattering, and distracting on camera too.”
“Ditto any logos – unless you want those who see the images to be looking at the logo instead of you and your beloved.”
“This is how I begin to advise my couples on what to wear for their engagement shoots. I don’t ever want those lovely people that I work with to feel uncomfortable or contrived however – the idea is they look the best that they would want to in their photographs, so that these images really can be treasured as much as the ones from the big day.”
5. Make A Big Effort
“I always always advise my brides-to-be to get their hair done at the salon. Why?”
“Think about how good you feel when you have your hair cut / a good blow-dry. I act like someone else. I prance like an idiot pony in front of shop windows, swishing my shiny hair around. I’m surprised I haven’t actually fallen into a window to be honest. I love it when I come home and hubbie tells me my hair looks good (yes, he always notices).”
“Generally, you look and feel your best after a salon trip. Isn’t this how you want to look in your photos of such a special and precious time in your life? Plus you will have the added confidence boost that you get from the salon trip’.”
“This is pretty much word for word what I tell my brides-to-be. And I mean every single word. There is no place on earth that I would rather be (other than with my family and a few tropical islands) than in that hairdressers chair.”
“A blow-dry makes me feel like I rule the world. Or at least, like I am part of it; rather than stuck indoors for the majority of the time with a restless toddler, a large pregnancy bump, no clothes that fit, and barely any time to wash my hair let alone blow dry it. Give me a blow-dry, make me human again, pretty pretty please.”
“There really is nothing like that time that you get to yourself while being pampered in the salon, flicking leisurely through magazines, having a glass of champagne (or tea, in my case).”
6. Compliment Each Other
“I’m not suggesting wearing matching Levis and white T’s. I am suggesting that you suggest colours that compliment one another (eg not the groom in bright purple while the bride-to-be wears a delightful shade of orange-yellow.”
“Unless your engagement session is taking place in Hawaii. Or India. Or somewhere else bright and exotic that you feel is appropriate. In which case, I will shotgun wearing bright pink or turquoise. Photographers like to dress up too you know).”
“Especially for the girls, but also the guys. Precious jewellery, unusual and special hair accessories, fabulous shoes, all pull together an outfit and add pretty little details to show off wonderful femininity and individual style.”
“Because that’s what an engagement shoot is about really, showcasing yourselves, as individuals- and as individuals coming together- despite all of the ‘stylized’ details.”
“Accessories also look wonderful on camera – they can sometimes be shots all of their own, particularly if the piece of jewellery that you are photographing is of sentimental value.”
“I just completed a maternity session where the mother-to-be had on a beautiful silver bracelet that her husband bought for her when they found out that she was expecting. So sweet – and a precious thing to include in the photographs.”
8. Weather Permitting
“We live in a beautiful green and pleasant land.. where more often than not we have no clue what the weather is going to spring upon us, despite the best efforts of the forecasters. This can sometimes be a good thing.”
“One weekend I spent all day Saturday worrying about the rain, that my couple would be cold and/or wet and not want to take off their bulky winter coats (not that they even wore bulky winter coats – and I certainly wouldn’t blame them if they did)!”
“So I spent hours researching rain shots, gathering ideas and forming a contingency plan. Obviously, there was not even a drop of rain and instead we had blue skies and sunshine.”
“The best advice that I could give to a couple coming for their engagement shoot would be – to bring a change of clothes and footwear, and bring suitable accessories! (read – boots, cute umbrellas, and warm clothing for afterwards). Also consider the time of year when booking your engagement shoots.”
“Above all, try not to despair at the British weather Remember cloud cover is a blessing and acts like a giant softbox. It’s definitely my favourite lighting!”
“And the most important thing to remember when planning beforehand is that this country, while it is rainy, rarely has an entire day full of torrential rain. There are usually breaks, and often the sun peeps through too. Heavy rain from dawn-dusk is not that common.”
Thanks to Charlie for sharing such brilliant advice. Its definetely a good idea to be like a Scout and be prepared for all eventualities.
An Engagement Shoot is where you can really learn to know your Photographer and where you can get really comfortable before your Big Day and its really good to know how you can look your best and get the best out of the experience.
To Contact CKB Photography