How I styled my engagement shoot in Italy- Rae Marshall
Hey internet friends! Philip and my engagement images came out this last Thursday and I couldn’t be more stunned and happy about them. They are honestly even sweeter than I ever even imagined, and I thought I had pretty high expectations because I’m a wedding photographer myself.
No doubt the biggest thing that made these images so special was the unbelievable talent of the photographer, Maitha Lunde! (she’s based in Belgium). No amount of planning would have made these images so close to my heart without her raw eye for lighting, posing, locations, technique and everything else she did for our day. Maitha used film for our session, an art form in the photography world that produces a look that you just can’t replicate with a digital camera.
I wanted to write a post about how the images came to be today because I think it’s a great part of the story, as well as a way to talk about how big of a difference planning and preparation for photoshoots can make.
My Outfit Choices
But I want to go over how else we planned for this session because it made such an impact in the images. The wardrobe! I spent months looking for pieces once I realized I was going to be in Italy for our engagement session, because come on what an awesome excuse to go shopping for pieces that you can’t justify on a regular day!
For my shoot I knew I wanted it to look more than we were just hanging out. My personality is to dress up when I can, and I’m drawn towards beautiful scenes and images that are a bit larger than life, so I really wanted this shoot to look like it could be in an editorial. When other girls dreamed about their wedding day dress, I was dreaming about my engagement photoshoot haha!
There is so much the subjects can do to enhance their images beyond what is in the photographer’s power. I looked up a lot of images that I loved and thought about what they were wearing and why it didn’t or didn’t work. I wanted the clothes to look like a part of our personalities, but still create timeless images that fit in such a beautiful travel destination of Positano. I found that I had already chosen a photographer who did light and airy style images, so I knew I wanted to stick with light and dream like pieces to fit with her photography style.
1. The First Look- Tulle Skirt and Grey Pants
Girl: Maitha and I started pinning things in a joint pinterest board, and she and I both came up with the idea of a tulle skirt first, and chose a gold theme for the shoes from there. I wanted to get a tighter basic and classic shirt to offset the poof of the skirt, and then the statement necklace came last to bring that look together. As for shoes, I’m short. Bottom line! and that skirt was pretty long, so I was definitely set on some great high heels to keep my legs from looking like they were being swallowed. Plus I’m a heel girl anyway.
Guy: Philip is not much of a photo guy, and I wanted to keep him from feeling too done up or not like himself, and it ended up being perfect by doing basic pieces for him. We picked up the grey pants and white shirt as something he could wear anytime, and Maitha ended up loving the leather jacket he just brought with him and tada!
2. The Second Look- Star Dress and Navy Suit
Girl: This dress was actually the last outfit I got, only a week or two before we left when I was wandering around the mall like I tend to find myself. I was in Free People in Nashville and saw this dress in black, fell in love with the fit and the flow and bought it happily. I loved that it was a little boho but the stars gave it a more edgy vibe. I realized when I got home that the white really would suit the engagement theme better and so I exchanged it a few days later for the white one. I bought the gold clip with a few other cheap gold accessories online wholesale, they were so cheap and brought them along for Maitha to choose from. I didn’t even know if we’d have time for three looks, but wanted to bring a lot of options!
Guy: I thought the navy color was such a cool European twist on a black suit, and picked out a gold tie for him to go along with the gold in the rest of the session. I looked up a lot of more dressed up engagement sessions for guys and it really helped a lot with what looked good. He really just wore whatever I said since it’s not really his thing. What a great guy 😛
3. The Third Look
Girl: This red dress was the highlight of the shoot! I found a photo of this dress online a few months before and realized that even though I was scared of doing colors that were distracting, this dress was PERFECTION because it was a beautiful red with a mix of tan that kept it from being too obnoxious with all of the lightness in the rest of the image. I tracked it down to be a For Love and Lemons dress and it was sold out everywhere. After stalking it on the Free People Waiting List for a few more weeks I finally got on quick enough to buy it! I feel like my soul color would be red, with my red hair and fiesty personality, so I thought it was the perfect big color pop for me.
Guy: Maitha asked Philip to wear jeans for this look to have it more casual for the beach look, and we just used pieces from the first two looks to put this one together!
The Location: Positano, Italy
I don’t think everyone has to go to Italy to make their engagement session look great! We had ours here for a few reasons. The first was that I knew I wanted to do a big engagement session because I value photography for my wedding event, but I also wanted it to fit his. Because Philip is in the military, a lot of our recent trips to see each other has been through traveling, and it’s a big part of our story. Philip was born in Austria himself and has a strong love for Europe. The idea of doing a session in Italy seemed like a far off dream, but why not live our wildest dreams by making them happen?
When Philip’s family decided they wanted to spend Christmas in Salzburg, Austria, I realized it was a perfect time excuse to plan the engagement session there too when we were already planning on being overseas. Our trip to Positano ended up being one of the most romantic and amazing trips we’ve ever had, and such a memory and experience in itself. We’ve been apart for another month now and have two more to go before we can see each other again, so getting these while we are apart has been really nice.
How to Plan Your Own Engagement Session
My advice for anyone planning their own engagement session is make it special to both of you. It doesn’t have to be the two of you in editorial style clothing if that doesn’t suit you two, but thinking about the story you want to tell to celebrate the love you both have found, and make it an experience.
Choose outfits that represent the best of your personalities, make them pieces you’ve only stared at wistfully in the store windows. Celebrate each other, and celebrate yourselves!
Pick a location that represents your style, nature if you love something more sweet and airy, city if you like something more classy or edgy. If there’s a beautiful place you’ve been or is close to you both, tell your photographer!
Most importantly I love this session because I’m in love, and I see that when I look at our images. I see the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, and the trip that we took when we started on our new journey together.
FULL ENGAGEMENT SESSION:
Photographer: Maitha Lunde- http://www.maithalunde.com/
Location: Positano, Italy | Vespa: Hotel Pasitea | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | On Rae – Skirt: Alexandra Grecco | White top: H&M | Necklace: Monkee’s Boutique | Gold Heels: Steve Madden| Star dress: Free People| Gold Hair Comb: Etsy | Red dress: For Love and Lemons | Gold Tattoo: Lime Light Tattoos | Bead Crown:Etsy | Cage Heels: Simply Vera by Vera Wang | Veil Fabric: Joann | On Philip – Leather Jacket: Rock and Republic | White Shirt: H&M | Grey Pants: Ralph Lauren | Blue Suit: H&M | Black Shoes: Steve Madden | Brown Shoes: Call it Spring