Engagement Portraits 101

You know that moment, when your closet stares back at you?  It feels like there isn't a thing to wear.  You text your BFF asking what she's planning to wear.  You don't want to be the one overdressed or - even worse - under-dressed for the occasion.  For the next 10 minutes you go over options together until you reach the final verdict.  Evening saved.

Picture of ruffles and lace textiles in beautiful blush, purple, and rose hues. | Debra Eby Photography Co.

Most of our significant other's are not quite as sympathetic to our plight.  This is just the beginning.  Living with our love means no roommate or sister bailing us out with the perfect borrowed necklace.  When I married and moved away, my shoe fashion suffered greatly.  

As a wedding photographer, one of my most frequently asked questions is, "What should we wear for the engagement session?".  The tricky part of answering this question is that it depends on your couple style.  You should maintain your look, yet in a best-hair-day-ever way.  Both of you should look the glowing versions of yourself.  

Engagement Style Prep


Beauty Department

Picture of a man shaving his beard for his engagement portrait.  | Debra Eby Photography Co.

For hair, I recommend getting a blowout.  This gives you that salon-finished look that we all absolutely love (um, why can I never re-create this on my own?).  I do recommend wearing your hair down, unless you want to do an up-do halfway through as part of your wardrobe change.  

Since guys tend to get haircuts more often, I recommend scheduling the haircut with enough time for it to grow to the favorite length.  For my Ben, that's a few weeks after a fresh cut.  Also, make sure any facial hair is properly groomed.  I even had one groom shave in the middle of the sesh for two different looks.  It was amazing!

For make-up, this is a great time for a make-up trial for your wedding.  You achieve a professional look while having honest convos with your MUA.  If you opt to do your own, just go a little heavier on the concealer/foundation, especially under your eyes.  Speaking of eyes, play those up, girlie.  Work those brows and wear falsies.  That makes a dramatic difference in pictures.  



Image of a stylish couple having an engagement shoot in St. Augustine, Florida | Debra Eby Photography Co.

Think back to that time when an outfit made you feel smokin' hot.  What did that look like?  Those colors and that cut are likely going to unlock your personal style.  

Consider what colors and cuts look best on your body type - for both of you.  There are oodles of resources out there on Pinterest, just run a quick search, "your body type, fashion" and you'll see so many helpful charts.  Like this one for her and this one for him.  There are resources for skin tone and colors as well, like this one for her and this one for him.

Once you each have an idea of what looks best on you, then find the common ground.  Choose colors that flatter both of you.  

Choose wardrobe with your location in mind as well.  You want your fashion to be cohesive with the overall feeling of the shoot.  


The Engagement Style Guide

This brings me to the exciting part.  We can get super practical by using The Engagement Style Guide.  This is a look-book offering visual concepts and tips as you get your style on.  Take time to see what looks may be right for you, then customize according to your couple identity.  

In this book we break down four different looks:

  • Casual Sophisticate - Uptown modern with down-to-earth fun.
  • Cozy Romance - Fashion meant for cuddling.
  • Dressy Chic - Fashion for an upscale night on the town.
  • Coastal Style - Style for seaside escapes.

Each section offers tips for her and tips for him to achieve a similar look.  Then, you can see how that translates to a real life location background.  Plus, looks from other real engagement shoots.



Engagement Style Guide

click here

This quiz is another tool I use to customize advice for my couples, towards their personal style.

All right, Gorgeous, it's time.  Get back to that closet, or maaaaaybe that Nordstrom sale?  It's photo shoot time.


xoxo Lovelies

Downtown Orlando Engagement Portrait - Darren & Jessica

In early November East End Market filled with talented wedding artists and vendors, showcasing their masterful work.  The beautiful Jessica, and her entourage, walked up to my little corner and into my life.  I loved her from the first moments of our time chatting.  

We followed-up with e-mail correspondence chatting all about her wedding ideas and who they are as a couple.  

You guys, not only will you fall in love with this couple, you are going to die over their sweet Bernese Mountain puppy who tagged along for the engagement sesh.  

Jessica laughs about Duke being the real star of the photo shoot, but let's not get carried away.  Puppy love aside, Darren and Jessica are an absolute dream.  

I'm always a total sap over a good proposal story.  Here is how Darren popped the question, perfect in every way...

We went to dinner at our favorite restaurant with our dog and sat outside. We have always joked about getting Duke a barrel to wear around his collar since he was such a big dog (Dukes a Bernese Mountain Dog but gets confused for Saint Bernards all the time and they are known for wearing the barrels). So half way through dinner he went to take Duke on a quick walk because he was getting antsy. They walk back and I noticed Duke has a barrel around his neck and Darren walks up to me and gets down on one knee and tells me to read the barrel strap and on it said "will you marry me". He had a photographer taking photos from a distance and all of our family and best friends waiting for us at a bar he reserved for us! It was perfect.

Downtown Tampa Engagement Portraits - Johnny & An

Our introductions were over Facetime.  They squished together so I could see them and I ran upstairs to keep the noises of my littles out of earshot.  They were super chill and I took a relaxed breath.  Whew.  We could be real with each other.  

When meeting up for their engagement shoot, An stunned me with her gorgeous outfit.  I'm still crazy about those shoes!  

She has a graceful, and joyful, way about her.  He lights up her eyes and fills her with laughter.  She brings out his tender and loving side.   

We start at the Henry Plant Museum surrounded by intricate architecture.  Combinations of a myriad of styles.  Over the bridge we head Downtown by the river.  

They have an easy way about them.  Their sweet inside jokes keep coming up as they joyfully share from their lives.  Like the way they dance with abandon.  Their moves are everything.  

They have me so excited to capture their Powel Crosley Estate wedding this May!  It's a two-day affair and, you guys, it's going to be amazing.  I'm sure the setting will be beyond beautiful.  But, it's who they are that have me filled with anticipation.  Totally preparing myself for their epic dance floor.