Help us dress for our engagement photoshoot
July 19, 2014 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting my fiancé from out of town, so I only have a couple of nice outfits at hand. The one I'm planning to wear is this dress, which goes down to the knee for me, and kitten-heel black strappy sandals. (I guess wedges would match better, but I left mine at home.) The dress is pretty but plain -- ideas for fun, inexpensive accessories/jewelry that I can go out and buy? My fiancé is probably going to wear a pale-blue button down with slacks or jeans, and we're looking for other suggestions and accessorizing tips for him as well.

Possibly relevant variables: The shoot is in an urban park tomorrow evening a little before sunset. We're both brown-skinned (South Asian).

Also, is it worth springing for professional makeup at a Macy's counter or something? It seems like overkill for a casual photoshoot, but I don't really know how to wear makeup, and I'm not exactly photogenic, so...
posted by redlines to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
I love that dress! I would say yes on professional makeup - stress that you want it to be natural-looking and for a casual engagement shoot. Do you have a Sephora nearby? Go a few hours early so that if it's horrible you can start over. Also, depending on the length of your hair, I'd spring for a blowout from a salon if you want your hair to be shiny and magazine cover-y. Honestly, you don't want to be wearing a ton of big accessories -- the focus should be on your faces (and potentially your rings if you're wearing them?) and on being happy.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:22 PM on July 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes, RRWYVV. Plain clothing is the way to go. Get your makeup and hair done, that will make a lot of impact but you want the focus to be on your faces (and the engagement ring) no other accessories needed.
posted by saradarlin at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2014

I would vote yes on the professional makeup. Full makeup photographs well even if it is a bit much for everyday. I've tested this out before when I've had photos taken as various weddings and going heavy on the makeup really made the photos turn out well, even though I never wear that much makeup normally.
posted by whoaali at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2014

That is such a beautiful dress! I'm with rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto, get hair and makeup done professionally and then just focus on enjoying the evening - hope you both have a wonderful time!
posted by humph at 2:51 PM on July 19, 2014

I'd agree with getting makeup professionally done - you can also let the makeup artist know that this will be for photographs, because that will likely affect the products and techniques they use (for example, some foundations contain ingredients - like SPF - that can cause your face to have splotchy white spots in photos).
posted by DulcineaX at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2014

If possible, if button-down/slacks/jeans is indeed going to be his look, try to have your fiance wear real shoes. Not gaudy sneakers or those clunky work shoe/sneaker hybrids, but something that works with the level of formality of the rest of his outfit (and yours). So, shined leather or suede, in a relatively traditional style.

I don't know much about dresses, but the one in the link looks like it straddles a nice line between dressy and casual. Perhaps he can try to hit that mark too; if he's got one, a casual blazer might work to either dress down some pressed slacks, or dress up some dark denim jeans. I totally hear what people are saying about not over-accessorizing; the focus should probably be on you two and your faces. But he will need something to bring the focus to his face, to begin with. A jacket forms and adds interest to his silhouette, which sounds counter intuitive to the above goal, but look at it this way: Without it, he'll risk having an unbroken shirt-torso, which might distract from his face.

If he's not down with fancier shoes or a coat, he should at least be sure that his shirt collar -- another vital face-framer -- is robust, not floppy, and that his pants fit well (not too baggy/saggy, and not pooling around his ankles).

I'm certainly not suggesting that 1) your dude can't dress himself, or 2) that you should be getting on his case about this. You folks should be having fun, right? But I've seen a lot of engagement pictures where the future groom looks slouchy compared to the bride-to-be, and the psychological result for the viewer is that he comes off as disinterested/less invested.* These are just some suggestions for ways to tweak his simple outfit to show how seriously he surely takes this.

* This is in line with a general trend I've observed, where people are out on a date at a nice restaurant; the woman has put in some actual effort, while the man looks like he's just peeled himself off the frathouse floor. C'mon guys!
posted by credible hulk at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

The pale blue button down you mention for your fiance jumped at me, make sure it doesn't look like a boring blue work shirt, otherwise have him get a second option.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:12 PM on July 19, 2014

I photograph engagement shoots all the time, you've gotten a lot of good advice here. If you have the time, I also recommend getting your makeup done. A blowout for your hair is also a good idea if you have hair that is uncooperative. Jeans and a button down shirt with more formal shoes is a good look on most guys, your rose colored dress should stand out nicely against a lighter color on him.

I tend to think that scarves make a nice accessory for a photoshoot, they can add a pop of color (although in your case I might go darker to coordinate with your shoes.) If you have a place to change, I suggest bringing a more casual look with you to change into. Jeans + a top for you, casual shoes (sandals?) and a different button up for your fiance.

If you're looking for other accessories, while I don't think a lot of jewelry is a must, a bouquet of flowers might be fun. You could have your fiance put a few in your hair just above the ear during your photoshoot, or lay down together on a picnic blanket holding the flowers against your chest. I'd go with a light pink arrangement if so, not too-rose intensive either, something fun and summery.
posted by nerdcore at 11:02 PM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Photographs turned out pretty well. I didn't have time to get a full makeup done, but I got some foundation and powder applied at Macy's, and it did seem to make a difference. As advised, I didn't bother to accessorize much -- that was the right call. Fiancé ended up wearing a sweater, button-down, and jeans, which hit the right note. I carried along a cardigan but never wore it, and looking back, I probably should have to vary it up for some of the shots.
posted by redlines at 10:03 PM on July 23, 2014

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