Engagement Portrait Preparation: Hair, Makeup, and Outfits Tips for a Fantastic Engagement Shoot

Before photographing any wedding, it’s important to me that we are able to have an engagement portrait session. This is because it’s a chance for us to get to know one another! No matter what, your wedding day will be great – but having another portrait session beforehand makes sure we’re really comfortable. Plus, you’ll already know some posing and how working with me goes, so you’ll be a pro on your wedding day! Your engagement portraits should be fun, so I want my couples to feel as unstressed as possible about their time with me. I’m often asked about what to wear for your engagement session, so I thought sharing some tips today would be helpful!

winter engagement portraits by Jessica Smith Photography

Coordinate, don’t match.

Find outfits that you both love and feel comfortable in, that also coordinate. You don’t have to match colors perfectly. Mixing up the color palette and finding complementary outfits can go a long way in how your portraits look! I encourage you to avoid small patterns (they don’t photograph well), graphic t-shirts, and anything too run down. Most couples like to bring two different outfits with them: a comfortable one and a dressier outfit. This is totally up to you, but can help provide variety to your images!

AL engagement portraits by Jessica Smith Photography Jessica Smith Photography offers tips for engagement sessions

Have your makeup professionally done.

Some brides like to use their engagement session as a chance to try out a look for their wedding day. Others like it just to work with their makeup artist before the big day. It’s not necessary that you have your hair and make up professionally done, but it definitely adds an extra touch to your photos! If you are going to do your own makeup, put it on a bit darker than you might normally do so it comes out in the photos! Grooms – this isn’t just for brides… make sure your facial hair is trimmed and clean, too!

Jessica Smith Photography offers tips for engagement sessions Alabama engagement session with Jessica Smith Photography

Make your ring sparkle!

If your ring hasn’t been cleaned in awhile or is due for a cleaning, now is the perfect excuse to go get it cleaned! You want it sparkling during your engagement photos. It doesn’t hurt to get a manicure, or at least make sure your nails are cleaned and looking nice too!

ring photographed by Jessica Smith Photography

ring photographed by AL wedding photographer Jessica Smith Photography

Engagement sessions should be fun. So no matter what you do (or don’t do) to prepare, know that we’ll have a great time celebrating your wedding planning! If you’re still wondering what to wear or bring, reach out to me. I’m here to help you plan and enjoy your session!

For more general engagement session tips, check out other engagement blogs!


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meet jessica


I am Jessica Smith. I am a wedding and portrait photographer based in Spanish Fort, Alabama. Born and raised in Alabama, I have lived on the Gulf Coast for the most of my life. After adventures with my husband’s job in the Coast Guard, we decided it was time to follow our hearts and settle down back on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Being from Fairhope, my southern heritage is apparent from the time you meet me. My southern “twang” and my love of Alabama football are the giveaways. I am a wife and a mother to three gorgeous sons. I also love to garden and promoting wellness in the world.  

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