#SMPWedding101 – Your Guide to Authentic Engagement Photos

Most of us have never been in front of a professional camera, so when it comes time to smile away for those engagement pics, how do you ensure success and avoid any awkwardness? Fret not my friends, we have Still55 Photography on hand to share their insight on making sure those engagement photos capture the true you, as authentic as can be and let’s get real… make sure they’re mantle worthy!

Gel With Your Photographer

This is the most important rule of thumb! If you’re not feeling your photographer’s personality during the consult, you’re probably not going to vibe with them very well during your session… which will turn into an awkward nightmare with moments that you don’t ever want to experience. The last thing you want is a stranger that doesn’t understand you or your significant other photographing you in an uncomfortable way. Go with your gut, if you feel like you could be friends with your photographer, you’re on the right track. Remember your photographer is the only vendor you’ll spend your entire wedding day with, so make sure you click and it will set the tone for the rest of your experience.

Ask Questions

When you’re interviewing your short list of photographers asking lots of questions is essential but there is one question you must ask to ensure you avoid a bad experience. Ask the photographer about their process before AND during the session; if their response seems random and fake, that’s how your images will more than likely turn out. Great artists have great processes in creating great work. Our process is founded on learning a lot about our couples and talking at length about how they wish to be captured. We learn what they want and what they don’t won’t beforehand. We also work with them on finer details such as maintaining a cohesive color palette that blends with their style and home decor, along with wardrobe and locations. Working out all of this with your photographer will build confidence before you ever step in front of their camera.


Once you’ve worked out all the details leading up to your session, the next step is to trust the plan. Overthinking the details can take you away from being yourself. Make a plan and then trust that plan.

Be You

When the day finally arrives you should already have gelled with your photographer, know exactly what to expect and trust the plan, so now it’s time to be YOU. No matter what, most people are a bit nervous at the beginning – that’s okay! Your photographer should know how to quickly work out the nerves and help you both relax. When I first meet a couple during the intentional consult, I pay attention to their subtleties, whether they smile a lot, or if they’re affectionate towards one another. The subtle mannerisms are the real you and if you’ve picked the right photographer, they should pick up on that. If they don’t, it’s okay to to speak up and say, “Thats not me, or that’s not us”. Be real, be you!

Focus on Each Other – Not the Camera

Lastly, I always tell my couples to ignore me and focus on each other. My job is to observe them, not for them to observe my camera. Hold hands, make each other laugh, be with each other, together, in the moment. Do your best to quiet your thoughts and be present, focused on each other. Trust me, if you ignore your photographer and give all your attention to one another, you will create authenticity just by being yourselves.

The Most Stunning Engagement Photos EVER
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The Most Stunning Engagement Photos EVER
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Ada Diamonds
Fine Art by Deann
Tulle la la

We’re excited to share that Shine invitations is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $500 (US orders only) as well as a free sample kit featuring the invitation of your choice, color charts, paper samples, and an example Save the Date! Don’t miss out!


For our California Brides… Discount from The Ranch at Laguna Beach

For our Southwest Brides… Don’t miss upcoming trunk shows at Lovely’s in Houston!

For our New England Brides.. Discount from Long’s Jewelers (Estate Jewelry and Wedding Bands)!

For our Tri-state Brides… Discount from Femina Photo + Design, giveaways from NST Pictures and OLLI STUDIO

For our Southeast Brides… Discount from The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village

More trunk show news!

Don’t miss the Anna Campbell trunk shows at the following Lovely locations: Houston Dec. 9th- 11th | Charleston Dec. 16th – 18th!

Don’t miss the Rue De Seine trunk shows at the following Lovely locations: Miami Dec. 9th – Dec. 11th | San Francisco Dec. 16th – 18th | Washington DC Jan. 6th – 8th | Charleston Jan. 13th – 15th!

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Photography Advice: Still55 Photography

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2017 Bridal Beauty Looks to Inspire

We get downright giddy when it comes to hair and makeup; add in the bridal element and before we know it, we’re head over heels heart-eyed. So when Mar of TEAM Hair & Makeup wanted to share some fresh bridal beauty looks to inspire all you newly engaged ladies out there, we literally jumped at the chance. And of course we needed some gorgeous gowns to pair all the lovely looks with and Gabriella New York Bridal Salon came to the rescue. Matthew Ree of CLY BY MATTHEW worked his magic behind the lens and the finished results? Let’s just say, our Friday has been made.

The “No Makeup” Makeup Look

From Mar of TEAM Hair & MakeupWe created a fresh faced look with a touch of a moisturizing water-based airbrush foundation and a little highlighter (in a “C” shape from cheekbone to the upper brow) to give an instant glow! Braids are back and have been all year so we created this soft and romantic take on a side braid to give a more “dressed up” feel with an effortless appeal.

The Bella dress by Reem Acra

From Gabriella of Gabriella New York Bridal Salon This style really speaks to our Gabriella New York bride. It’s beautiful and feminine with just the right amount of sexiness and edge. Because of the plunging neckline and stunning lace detailing, we felt that it would lend itself to a variety of hair and make up styles and just couldn’t resist seeing what the experts came up with!

Updo + Bold Lip

From Mar of TEAM Hair & MakeupShine may be fun for your lips, but for a more dramatic and vampy look, go matte! It’s a bolder look which then requires less overall makeup. Many matte lipsticks have moisturizers in them nowadays so you won’t feel like you’re in the Sahara Desert anymore! The hair for this look may look like a hot mess but it’s on purpose! Pretty easy to do too! Just straighten your hair and add in a texture spray (salt sprays work great too) and do a fun bun for that red carpet hair!

The Palace dress by Lela Rose

From Gabriella of Gabriella New York Bridal Salon We love this gown because of its clean lines and very “of the moment” off the shoulder neckline in the front and then the surprise amazing train detailing in the back. This is a perfect gown to highlight a fabulous hair style because there is no detailing such as lace, appliques or beading to compete with.

Smokey Eyes + Crazy, Fun Hair

From Mar of TEAM Hair & MakeupConsider natural tones when applying “smokey” eyeshadow colors to your eyes. We like less smoke and more lashes – we LOVE fun and flirty false eyelashes! This is the key to this soft, yet dramatic, look. THM Hair Extensions were added in for the tousled “down do”. We waved the hair with a one-inch iron, wrapping wide pieces around the barrel and then allowed the hair to cool before literally tossing her hair up and down! Pin the sides up and you have some sexy waves, which will stay out of your face throughout your wedding. Or use the volume and texture to create an amazing braided updo for later (dancing time?!).

The Greta dress by Elizabeth Fillmore

From Gabriella of Gabriella New York Bridal SalonElizabeth Fillmore used this amazing hammered silk for her Greta gown, which takes her iconic sheathe silhouette to a whole new level. It’s the perfect gown for that sophisticated, chic, sexy bride. It felt like the hair and make up options for this gown were endless, which is why we chose it. We just knew that Mar from TEAM Hair + Makeup would do something amazing and they did!!!

Pretty Finishing Touches

From Mar of TEAM Hair & Makeup… Hair accessories are the perfect finishing touch to any hairstyle. When choosing a piece for your hairstyle, keep in mind that less is more! It’s called an accessory because it meant to add a little, not a lot. For example, this delicate chain piece is the finishing touch to a fun boho inspired style.

The Freesia dress by Elizabeth Fillmore

From Gabriella of Gabriella New York Bridal SalonThis dress is a personal favorite of mine due to its nod to the 70’s and subtly sexy style. I felt that this gown would be a great way to showcase that 70’s hair that we love so much – think modern day Farrah Fawcett! It’s just an overall incredibly chic look.

The Maple Tree Top + Venus Skirt by Lihi Hod

From Gabriella of Gabriella New York Bridal SalonThis gown is the epitome of boho chic. The silhouette of the bodice gives off a “casual” vibe, but the gorgeous beadwork steps it up to be more than bridal worthy! We selected this gown because it really lends itself to an updo in order to highlight the beautiful detailing on the bodice. It also presented a unique challenge to style the bride’s hair up without being too traditional!

From Mar of TEAM Hair & Makeup… When your groom sees you walking down the aisle, wouldn’t it be nice if he recognized you? This is why so many women say for their wedding day look “I just want to look like myself” and we agree! Bridal hair and makeup, for us at TEAM, is more about the natural enhancement of a bride rather than a total overhaul! And these looks are perfect examples!

P.S. More coming soon…

Are you as obsessed with these looks as we are?! Stay tuned, more coming soon, including all the details to “Get the Look” for this one!

P.S.S. Even more magic from Matthew Ree…

As if we needed another reason to love Matthew Ree, he’s hosting a photography workshop in Cuba in February… and there are only a few spots left! Head right here to get all the details and join in on what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience! P.S. SMP will be presenting virtually!

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Photography: Matthew Ree of CLY BY MATTHEW | Wedding Dress: Elizabeth Fillmore | Wedding Dress: Lihi Hod | Wedding Dress: Reem Acra | Wedding Dress: Lela Rose | Hair + Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup | Bridal Boutique: Gabriella New York Bridal Salon | Hair Extensions: THM hair extensions

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A Darling Bakery-Set Engagement

This bride and groom-to-be are officially the cutest. They celebrated their upcoming nuptials over croissants and coffee, followed by a change of dress code for formal portraits under the Texas sun. Elan Makeup Studio worked her hair and makeup magic while Allen Tsai Photography captured the fun all along the way.

From the Bride…Our story began at Crossfit. It took about 2 months for Albert to finally muster the courage to ask me out, but it only took one date for us to become inseparable. Since then, our life has been a whirlwind of adventures, from music festivals to scuba diving in Costa Rica, and yet the best adventure was yet to come.

Each month on our anniversary, Al would always send me flowers. So when they arrived, it wasn’t out of the ordinary except for the card, which had hinted we were going to dinner and the theater. So that next night he took me to Uchi, where we’d had our very first date. On the way to the “show,” he pulled in front of Addison airport and surprised me with a sunset helicopter ride over downtown Dallas. When we landed and were about to walk inside, he grabbed my hand, dropped to one knee and asked me to be his wife. And it’s still the best day of my life.

So when it came time to plan, we knew we wanted it to be intimate, simple and elegant which is why we chose our venue, Summerfield at Tate Farms due to it’s wild beauty and rustic feel. We wanted our photos to emulate our overall theme as well, which is why we decided on more intimate settings such as the coffee shop and where we will actually say I do. When it came to the outfits, we wanted to keep them classic, yet fitting for each location. We chose darker tones for the coffee shop to play off of the wood in the store, and then contrasted the field with more formal wear.

Now aside from the standard hand on the hip, our photo shoot posing skills were rather subpar. But through every step of the way, Allen provided continuous instructions and directions that made it look like we actually knew what we were doing. The beauty and love that he was able to capture in his photos are everything and more that we were hoping for.

When putting together our “dream team,” as we like to call them, we needed those who were able to bring our thoughts and ideas to life. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with such talented individuals along the way, from the custom design of my engagement ring with Shapiro Diamonds, the look and feel of my wedding with Keestone Events, and our absolutely gorgeous photos from Allen Tsai. We are looking forward to seeing everything come together for the big day!

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Photography: Allen Tsai Photography | Event Planning: Keestone Events | Engagement Ring: Shapiro Diamonds | Hair + Makeup: Elan Makeup Studio | Film Processing: Goodman Film Lab | Location: Summerfield At Tate Farms | Location: Boulangerie by Village Baking Co.

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How to Incorporate 2017’s Hottest Color Into Your Wedding

Drumroll, please. The color gods have spoken and Pantone‘s 2017 color of the year is Greenery! We thought it couldn’t get any better than last year’s Rose Quartz and Serenity — soft, romantic and pretty, but this year’s zesty, yellow-green hue is giving us life. The proof? These inspired ideas for a bright, fresh and beautiful Greenery-filled day!

Inspired by Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year
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Inspired by Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year
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More Ways to Say “I Do” to Color

How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

Fresh Color Palettes for a Fall Wedding

Dramatic + Romantic Bouquets

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