Guest Post: Engagement Shoot Hacks You Must Know

Being your virtual wedding best friend, we always strive to make your wedding planning days a little less stressful. So last week, we asked our friend Feliz, over at Lifestyle by Feliz, to share some of her industry tips for couples who want an engagement session! Get ready darlings, here are 23 hacks you need to know before doing your e-sesh! Enjoy!

1. Keep it short and uncomplicated


[Wedding: Playful Poetry / Photo: Jaja Samaniego]

Having two engagement shoot concepts/looks that are consistent with the color scheme of clothing and set design is ideal. The photographer will be able to keep the momentum, do more angles, and also maximize clothing and props. The couple will also have more energy and pacing to be themselves that way, because usually on the third set, the couple and photographers are already tired.

You also need to consider how the engagement shoot AVP would look like–having too many different concepts will not have a nice flow to the AVP or the album.

2. Three hours of shooting time is ideal


[Lifestyle by Feliz / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

It is highly suggested to make use of the golden hours of 6:00AM-9:00AM or 3:00PM-6:00PM.

Here is a suggested itinerary:
Morning Shoot: 3:00AM-5:00AM hair and makeup in the chosen venue / 6:00AM-9:00AM shoot proper
Afternoon Shoot: 11:00AM-1:00PM hair and makeup in the chosen venue / 1:30PM-2:30PM lunch / 3:00PM-6:00PM shoot proper

3. Wear colored contacts

It will not look fake. It deflects light so your eyes will look more fresh and not dry. Suggested colors for women would be amethyst, green or grey. Do not use hazel–it’s tricky, sometimes it looks red with Asian eyes. For men, grey contacts will do. FreshLook has the brand DAILIES for one time use–it costs around PhP 300.

4. Colored hair is a plus

[Wed Colorfully: A Kate Spade Inspired Editorial / Photo: Toto Villaruel]

Preferably have hair colored for women. It gives that depth with certain hair styles.

5. Fit over fashion


[Lifestyle by Feliz / Photo: Jaja Samaniego]

Never sacrifice good fit for something fashionable, especially when you’re conscious about a particular body part.

6. Spanx or binders for men


[Wedding: Sea, Sand, Sweet Surpises / Photo: Jay Jay Lucas]

Most grooms are new to the idea, but once they try it, they feel more confident.

7. Take care of your suppliers

Always bring food and drinks for your suppliers. They need all the extra energy for the whole day of shooting.

8. Don’t forget about your nails


[Lifestyle by Feliz / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

This goes for both you and your S.O. Consider to have nail polish done and nail grooming for your S.O. a day or two before the shoot.

9. Don’t forget about him

[Wed Colorfully: A Kate Spade Inspired Editorial / Photo: Toto Villaruel]

He will need grooming and styling too. Take note of nose hair, light powder foundation, and light lip balm for him.

10. Know your photographer’s schedule

Get the schedule of your photographer’s flight abroad. Most of the time, the total cost is cheaper than doing a whole production in Manila.

11. Go provincial


[Lifestyle by Feliz / Photo: Nelwin Uy]

Metro Manila permits are more expensive than out of town.

12. Do not make the photographer and videographer work on the same day and time

It is better to have two separate shoots so that they will not clash with each other’s space during the shoot.

13. Hair extensions are a must


[Lifestyle by Feliz / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

Hair extensions or clip-on permed hair extensions are a must when you’re doing a beach shoot or an out of the country shoot. It requires minimal retouch time while still retaining that dramatic look.

14. Know your stylist


[Wedding: I Do’s and Delectable Details / Photo: Imagine Nation Photography]

When hiring a stylist, look for a style that speaks to you personally. These stylists usually translate their own personal style to their clients.

15. Use petroleum jelly over teeth


[Lifestyle by Feliz / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

You can use petroleum jelly over your teeth to deflect light and make it whiter.

16. Don’t splurge on shoes

[Wedding: The Breathtakingly Bold / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

You don’t need different sets of shoes, so don’t splurge on them. It only gets one shot. Instead, focus on the style of the upper body where your face can be seen.

17. Use white at night

When doing night shoots, try to use white for your outfit–this is to deflect good lighting on your face.

18. Be careful when choosing a light painting concept

Photographers who specialize in lighting, light painting, and night shoots takes more time to shoot them. You are not allowed to move and you will be required to do a lot of retakes of the same pose. So be wise when you request for a full light painting concept–expect not to move much!

19. Do not use bull clamps


[Wedding: Up in the Air / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

This only works if you won’t move and all shots are up front. Make sure to sew inward so when the photographer asks you to turn around, turn to the side, or run, you won’t need to worry about it and lose momentum.

20. Underwater shoots are required to be shot during mid-day


[Wedding: Sea, Sand, Sweet Surpises / Photo: Jay Jay Lucas]

For underwater shoots, it is highly suggested to shoot around 12:00pm (noon) so the sun hits the pool directly for good lighting.

21. Use airbrush legs spray

[Wedding: Up in the Air / Photo: Chestknots Studio]

For skin exposure shots like for legs, do not use oil. Instead, use Sally Hansen’s airbrush leg spray or foundation so you will have a flawless look (and not sticky look) when the sun hits them.

22. Breathe through your mouth and not the nose

[Wedding: Playful Poetry / Photo: Jaja Samaniego]

Inhale and exhale with a smile. Over time, it can be tiring to smile. Exhaling with a smile will make it look natural!

23. Lashes, lens, and locks

For out of the country or D.I.Y. makeup, false lashes, contact lens, and hair extensions will do the trick!

Now that we’ve revealed the tricks of the trade, get your S.O. ready, and work that e-sesh!

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  1. Contact lens, permed hair, hair extensions etc. Really? In my opinion I think it’s too much. Why can’t the photographer just capture beauty of the couple’s personality, and love instead of focusing on what they wear and making them suit your standard of “beauty”? Just my two cents 🙂

    1. This is how prepared engagements should be. The list here is not absolute, you need not follow it if you don’t like it. These are hacks to make every minute detail beautiful.

      1. I guess it comes down to culture and taste. Some people want to look fake and pretentious, others just want to be natural and care free. But again, this is just my opinion. Nothing against couples who want to be someone else on their engagement shoot 🙂

        1. It’s just beauty enhancement. You wouldnt want to look tired or haggard on your shoot, would you? It is actually a preference. Nobody’s forcing you to do the same. So dont judge.

        2. Some people are not blessed enough to look good in photos. This is an engagement shoot and it’s a memory a couple will cherish. Like it or not, fact is the small details do enhance how people look in photos but that doesn’t mean they will look fake. If done right, everything will look natural and carefree. I used hair extensions in my engagement shoot because my hair is limp AF and my eyelashes are next to none. I’ve never done shoots before and I don’t like taking selfies so forgive me if I wanted to look, in your words, “fake and pretentious”

          Nothing against them but you judged them quickly anyway. Good job.

  2. When did wanting to make your eyes pop make you fake and pretentious? That comes off rather judgemental. What if you had long hair at one time of your life and want to bring it back for a day? You can look natural and carefree in anything you wear. No need to shame anyone.

      1. No, they don’t. Tell that to those with small eyes like the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. It doesn’t work for ALL.

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