Engagement Session Style Guide

Engagement Session Style Guide

The date is set, the location is picked, and now you are ready to capture your love for all the world to see. The problem? You don’t know what to wear.

It’s a problem many couples face when planning their engagement shoots. Gone are the days of matchy-matchy outfits (white tee’s and denim, anyone?). Modern engagement photography focuses on capturing the couple as they are, just amplified.

Tips for Her

Wear a dress - It’s no secret why runways are filled with women in dresses, they truly flatter the body best on film. Long, full length, flowy dresses are particularly flattering and great for shoots in nature. They create movement and a romantic feeling that cannot be replicated with pants.

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Go big - Have you dreamed about a flower crown, a tulle skirt, or other “extravagant” accessory? This is the time to GO for it. What may seem over the top can photograph beautifully.

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Bring a second - So you want to go big but you also want to capture the more “normal” look you have? That’s ok! Bring an outfit change!

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Accessorize - Accessories add layers. Layers add dimension and dimension adds interest. Go with a big statement necklace, dangly earrings, or stacked bracelets. Just be careful your accessories do not compete and you don’t have more than one big statement going on.

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Flatter your figure - Pick outfits that conceal the areas of your body you are not as confident about and show off the parts of your body that you love! Think 3/4 length sleeves, flowy tops and dresses, etc.

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Wear heels, bring flats - Heels (especially closed toed) enlongate the legs and look amazing on every woman. Go for it with the heels! And if you are worried about your feet getting tired bring a pair of flats for in between shots!

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Go Pro - Take the guesswork out of your look by going professional with your hair and makeup. Brides this is a great time to do a trial run with your wedding day stylists.

What to Avoid

This is not the time for a spray tan. No matter how well applied spray tans tend to photograph orange. Your natural skin tone will show through flawlessly.

Avoid clothes that require fuss (tags, straps, constant adjusting). They will require extra time and distract you from being confident in front of the camera.

Logos are a no go. They can be distracting and draw attention away from your face!

Tips for Him

Match your girl’s formality - Is your girl wearing a dress? A flowercrown? A big blingin necklace? Then don’t show up in shorts and a t-shirt. You want to match her vibe without overshadowing her at all times.

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Dress up - Solid color suits are always flattering on any man. If suits really aren’t your thing go for nice pants and a button down shirt. This combo gives you options to accessorize and show your personality as well.

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Accessorize - Socks, cufflinks, ties, tie clips, belts and vests are all great ways to interject your personality and style. These small details contribute to a polished, put together look. If you aren’t an accessory wearing man, think about bringing an accessory that fits your style as a couple… favorite wine anyone?

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Choose the right fit - Being comfortable in front of the camera is important but that doesn’t mean wearing oversized, baggy items will look good. Make sure your ensemble is tailored well to your body.

Be at ease - Being in front of the camera is not my favorite either. Do something for you before the shoot (grab a beer, hit the gym, whatever helps you get into a positive frame of mind) so that you can be at ease. And make sure you eat something so you aren’t starving!

Colors:

Florescent and bold colors do not photograph as well as muted, soft, and more neutral shades. No matter how amazing your outfit is you want the focus to be on your face, your chemistry and the love shared. If your outfit distracts from that or casts a color shade you will be disappointed with the outcome.

If we are shooting in an outside location that has a lot of green stay away from a green color palette. You don’t want to blend in with the background but rather contrast with it.

Don’t match, coordinate. A cohesive image is not made by wearing the same color top and bottom. A beautiful photo is achieved when the look of everyone in the picture is coordinating but not matching. Chose 2-3 main colors as your primary palette and then add accents for each person from there. Layering with accent colors builds dimension, expresses personality and gives the photo life.

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That’s it friends… follow these simple tips and you will be set up for the perfect shoot! For more inspiration be sure to check out my Pinterest Boards and Instagram!

























The Perfect California Locations for your Engagement Session

The Perfect California Locations for your Engagement Session

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get is where do I recommend getting your engagement pictures taken. I’m always happy to share my favorites spots with clients and thought it was time I told everyone about these hidden gems. Each one gives off a slightly different vibe and that is what makes them special.

Mare Island

One location, four distinct backdrops make this the perfect for the couple looking for a variety of looks. Brick infused, thick glowy green foliage, and architectural elements are what you will get at Mare Island. . This has recently become one of my favorite locations to shoot at as the options are endless and the results are always stunning.

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Pena Adobe

Locals to Vacaville and Fairfield know Pena as a great spot for a morning hike. I’ve come to know it as a great spot for warm, sunkissed, glowing photos that showcase any couple well. The amber foilage will give off rustic vibes and the Redwood grove offers something uniquely Californian.

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Napa Waterfront

Napa may be known for it’s scenic vineyards but the waterfront is really where it’s at if you are looking for a classy city vibe. Unlike the crowded city streets of many of our local big cities (looking at you SF) Napa’s waterfront showcases the urban and chic architecture many are looking for. This is the perfect location to get all dolled up and go full out for a bougie shoot. Major bonus points if you strike a runway pose for me!

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I can’t wait to see which location you choose for your engagement session. If you are still in the planning phases of your wedding make sure to check out my Pinterest for lots of great ideas, locations and more!

Meet the Trippany's - A Formal Affair with a French Twist in Moraga, CA

Meet the Trippany's - A Formal Affair with a French Twist in Moraga, CA

#prinknomore #trippanyputaringonit #teamtrippany

Johanna & Robert have the best kind of love story. The kind that starts with friendship and evolves into love. After a year of working together and slowly getting to know each other they fell in love.

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Meet The Vendors

Venue | Hacienda de las Flores

Wedding Coordinator | Theresa Fairclough

Florist | Jennifer Marsh

Caterer | Wilma Lott

Cake | Theresa Fairclough

Makeup Artist | Andrea Sendek

Hair Stylist Andrea Sendek

DJ Quantum Party Productions

Photographer | James Young Photography

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Their love blossomed and eventually lead to a proposal in the most perfect of ways. Johanna recalls,

“Robert proposed in Barcelona, Spain at the top of Montjuic! Europe is our favorite part of a world so it was perfect.”

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Wanting to combine elements of France (based on a life changing trip they took together) and fairytale weddings Johanna had dreamed of for years the couple selected Hacienda de las Flores as their venue.

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French blues, blush pinks, elegant tables-capes all added to the feel of this formal affair. Highlights of the night included Johanna’s dance company’s belly dance, very special mother/son and father/daughter dances and of course cake!

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Meet the Maneja's - A Railroad Wedding in Felton, CA

Meet the Maneja's - A Railroad Wedding in Felton, CA

Rachell & Jerell’s romantic nuptials among the Redwoods in Felton, CA was a joy to capture. This couple’s personality shone through ever detail from the Railroad entrance to the Disney details in the reception. As big board game fans, one of their first games was "Ticket to Ride", which involved trains... match that with their love for traveling and exploring... And just as equal... if not more, they are huge Disney fans. They wanted to do both and tried to incorporate it all on their wedding day and I say they accomplished just that!

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Venue | Roaring Camp Railroads

Wedding Coordinator | Heather Troy

Florist | Khrizha Quema-Yee

Caterer | Sunny's Catering

Cake | Mazzetti's Bakery

Makeup Artist | Kathryn - Glamour Team

Hair Stylist | Stephanie - Glamour Team

DJ DJ Keith O

Photographer | James Young Photography

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The couple met at a bowling alley... “Chell” was bowling for fun with friends, while Jerell was a competitive bowler at the time. Chell was intrigued by his talent and skills in bowling, while Jerell was intrigued by her laugh and charm. They remained good friends for 8 years, confiding in each other throughout high school and college... they finally got together during the summer of 2009. Chell recreated the elevator scene from Jerell's favorite movie - Serendipity.

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As big fans of the Amazing Race, Jerell planned a whole amazing race for Chell that included their families and friends giving her clues and tasks at landmarks that were significant to them in their 8 year long relationship (Bowling alley, Westlake Shopping Center, Casino, Movie theater, COIT tower)

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The couple chose to wait to see each other until Rachell walked down the aisle and Jerell’s reaction when he saw his bride for the first time was one movies are made of. It was one of the most moving moments of the day.

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The details in this reception were flawless and definetley created an atmosphere where LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY EVER AFTER was felt.

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Meet the Richards - A Benicia Wedding with Superhero Flair

Meet the Richards - A Benicia Wedding with Superhero Flair

If you follow me on social media you already know, I love a good superhero story. When Mistie & Rob decided to include a bit of Marvel flair in their refined wedding I was thrilled. The story behind it beautifully captures how something which appears just fun on the surface can be so meaningful. When talking about the inspiration for their wedding Mistie said,

“My husband and I have been through a lot together and so have my kids and I. Much like superheroes we are all so resilient and strong. Together, we can take on the world. “

This family absolutely can take on the world! With a love story starting in graduate school, culminating with Rob asking Mistie to marry him at her parent’s home in Oregon in front of her children & parents. When relationships are rooted in love, honor, and family values they are sure to stand the test of time.

Venue | Jefferson Street Mansion

Wedding Coordinator | Wedgewood Weddings (Morgan)

Florist | A Loves in Bloom

Caterer | Jefferson Street Mansion

Cake | Danville Bakery

Makeup Artist | Summer Barker

Hair Stylist | Laura Arana

DJ | Randy

Photographer | James Young Photography

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Family was the tie that bound throughout the day, from the precious moments watching the kids get ready to the sand ceremony.

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Each guest fully engaged during the reception and you could feel the atmosphere of love and unity throughout. Navy, blush and gold accents popped beautifully off the crips whites of Benicia California’s Jefferson Mansion. Every aspect of this “marvel”ous (see what I did there?) affair was thought out and intentional.

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Meet the Hefners

Meet the Hefners

Mr. & Mrs. AJ Hefner

#gethefedup

Mixed metal colors, raw wood, and pops of green set the scene for the Hefner wedding. AJ & Danielle created a space that exuded their personality as a couple that made guests feel like they were at home. Touches brought in from their home like serving trays and decor added to the personality of the affair. Get caught up in the romance, fun, and familiarity of the Hefner wedding. 

Succulent Bouquet

Meet the Vendors

Rustic Wedding

Venue | Vintage Oaks

Wedding Coordinator | Famous Creations

Calligrapher | Shimmer & Stain

Florist | Dixon Florist and Gift Shop

Caterer | Famous Creations

Cake | Famous Creations

Makeup Artist | Veronica Horner

Hair Stylist Amber Johnston

DJ Brean Duncan

Photographer | James Young Photography

Lace Wedding Dress

16 years ago, in a junior high band room, fate brought together AJ & Danielle. As she was mistakenly placed in his class they became friends and Danielle quickly developed a crush. Years went by, in fact all of high school, and they remained distant friends but nothing more. Not until both of them were at college, AJ at San Luis Obispo and Danielle at Chico State, did their romance spark. One brave Facebook message from Danielle to AJ asking if he was out of school yet put them on a course to happily ever after. 

That summer kindled a love that was put through the test of distance. Luckily, they managed to make the distance between their school-year living situations only a minor detail in their story. For the following 4 years they kept up the long distance. Finally in 2014 Danielle moved back to Vacaville. 

Wedding Sneakers
Purple Wedding

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is a time honored tradition in the Hefner's hometown of Vacaville, where what seems like the entire population gathers on Main Street for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Like every good citizen in 2016, AJ and Danielle attended the festivities. Once Santa had light the tree and the event was wrapping up they started to head home but not before getting an up close look at the tree.

To Danielle's surprise as they were standing in front of this HUGE beautifully decorated tree AJ got down on one knee with a little box in hand. He said a few words followed by what she can only assume was “will you marry me?” In complete shock she grabbed AJ by the arms and said “stand up, people are watching!” before finally embracing and saying YES!!! 

Wedding Shot List
Lace Wedding Dress

The Hefner wedding decor was inspired by a picture Danielle found online that closely resembles the completed centerpieces, lace table clothes and all. She recreated the picture for her tables and worked outwards from there.

"I really gravitated to the center piece idea because it encompasses my style. The style is fairly similar to how my home is decorated with mixed metal colors and raw wood with pops of green. My Kitchen is gray with cooper and plant accents much like our center pieces. Not rustic, not farm house, not vintage... just.... cozy. I wanted to bring that to the wedding because that's who we are. I just wanted to bring "us" on a grander scale"
First Dance
Bride in Keds
Rustic Wedding Signs
Rustic Wedding Cake

The Hefner's rustic affair had equal parts charm, fun, and romance. A rich color pallet paired with fun elements like the bride wearing Keds for the reception and the bottle opener favors allowed this couple's personality to shine and their guests to feel as though they had been welcomed into their home. 

Lace Wedding Dress

Meet the Andersons

Meet the Andersons

Details from this California rustic but elegant wedding are sure to make any bride- to-be swoon. Saying I do among the majestic Redwoods, throwing a full bouquet of rich green and white flowers, and even a photo booth and VW Bus add to the nostalgic California feel.

Mountaintop Magic

Mountaintop Magic

A love so strong, it had to be shouted from the mountaintops!