1. BE YOURSELF

Let your outfit reflect you as a couple. Do you like wearing bright red? Do it! Cause this is all about the two of you!!! Remember to focus on your best assets. So you have nice legs? Show them off (but keep it classy). Do not wear anything too tight or too lose. I want you to have fun instead of being worried if your skirt is too short. Dress for your body type. Guys: please make sure your shirt or suit FITS well. Baggy clothes are not flattering at all.

2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET A LITTLE FANCY

Bring out those heels and the bow tie if that’s part of who you are! If that means you have to go shopping, well you just found an excuse. An elegant pair of heels can make your pictures much more glamorous. Maybe some Jimmy Choos or Christian Louboutins? And grooms, you can also be trendy. Don’t dress like you came from work—>you know you can do better than that!!

I love when my brides get super fancy and wear dresses! Bring out the cocktail dresses. Long flowy dresses always photograph well. They create movement and will add a little drama to your images. Do not forget the accessories! This can mean so many things. It means scarves in the fall and elegant necklaces in the spring. Have fun wearing some trendy jewelry. Don’t be scared to try something new. Just make sure that your overall vision is cohesive. This means that if you should stick to a consistent color palette. And do not forget a sexy pair of heels! They will more than add that final touch to your perfect outfit.

3.  DO SOMETHING FUN TOGETHER

What do you like to do together? Do you like to pop a little bubbly? Or hit a trendy bar? Love macarons? DO IT! Get a little creative! Just because everyone does one thing, that does not mean you have to do it too. .Be true to yourselves as a couple and the activities you REALLY do.

4. DRESS ACCORDINGLY

This is two part: first, make sure to dress appropriate for the weather and second, for your location. If you are doing an engagement session in the winter, you do not want to wear a cute little spring dress (and freeze your butt off!) The same goes for summer, when it is SUPER hot + humid. That probably means your hair should not be down since it will get frizzy pretty fast outside. If your session is in the middle of a field, bring flats just so you can walk easily. If there is a chance of rain, bring your Hunter boots and a cute umbrella. Embrace both the environment and the weather.

5. COMPLIMENT EACH OTHER’S OUTFITS

This does NOT mean matching. Please- no white T-shirts and jeans. That might have been cool in the 90’s. For example, navy and peach are great together. But not so much navy and black. Feel free to get creative, but if both of you are wearing bold patterns, it will look a little too crazy. Make sure to also dress on the same scale. Ladies, if you are wearing a dress and heels, your guy should not be sporting flip flops and shorts.

6. GET YOUR MAKEUP PROFESSIONALLY DONE

I CANNOT stress this enough. Girls, going to Sephora or Nordstrom to get your make up done does NOT count. This is the perfect opportunity to have your trial with YOUR own make up artist for the wedding day. Professionally done makeup makes a huge difference in pictures. Contouring and a little bit of fake lashes go a long way. Consequently, you will get to see your professional makeup in the final gallery to make sure that you love it. There is no time for a re-do on your wedding day so do not skip this opportunity.

7. DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS!

Don’t be afraid to get creative, BUT if it’s been done on Pinterest one thousand times, let it go. This is where you have to think as a stylist. Maybe get your planner involved too. A perfect example is a classy picnic in the woods with some strawberries and champagne. Maybe rent vintage scooters and have an Italian flare inspired engagement session. Or maybe rent a sail boat, put on a long dress, and have a relaxing time with your fiancé while your hair flies with the wind. Another fun detail to add could be a simple elegant bouquet that looks like it’s been fresh picked goes a LONG way. It just adds so much to your session. NO, this is not a bouquet you pick up at Giant box store before your session. This should be done by a florist, ideally your wedding day florist. Or you can pick up gorgeous florals at a wholesaler. Another idea is to get your calligrapher involved early. Maybe have your the calligrapher write a secret message from your groom that you can read at the session. Remember to think outside the box to make your session uniquely tailored to the two of you!!

8. STOP OBSESSING OVER YOUR PINTEREST BOARD

Be realistic. We love to pin photos of couples in all kinds of over the top locations but unless you plan on actually doing it, you should not expect your pictures to look like that. As much as I LOVE Pinterest, it can be quite overwhelming with the amount of ideas on it. I love Pinterest for inspiration, but only for inspiration. If you expect me as your photographer to follow your pinterest board literally; you just killed my creative direction. Personally, if I am following a board, I am totally missing out on REAL moments between the two of you. You hired a professional photographer for a reason. Trust me!

9. BRING YOUR PUP!

If you know me, you know how much I love my pups Jasmine Rayne & Camellia Mae. It’s always a good idea to have you dog be part of your shoot. The only advice I have on this is to have either part of the session close to home or have someone pick your pup up since they do not need to be part of the whole shoot. They will get in our way eventually. It’s just a little too long for them and they do start acting up after a while.

9. DON’T FORGET TO GET YOUR RING CLEANED

I LOVE to take ring shots. It is so important to me to get shots of your BLING! It is such an important symbol and we know that your fiancé spent months picking it out. Kudos to all my peeps who have amazing taste! PS Don’t forget to get your nails done! Reds, pinks, and neutrals are perfect colors to compliment that rock on your finger.

10. MOST IMPORTANT, HAVE FUN!

Maybe I should have made this my #1 on the list…Don’t be worried about how you look, that’s what we are here for. Enjoy this time with your lovey and let me capture those sweet moments! Get ready for lots of flirting in front of the camera. Treat this evening like a date night out, only your photographer is the third wheel. Get comfortable in front of the camera. This is your opportunity to get to know your photographer so they are not a complete stranger on the wedding day.

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@melanielmcculloughphotography

Celebrating your love story