7 Tips on What to Wear for your Engagement Session | Engagement Week Part 2


If there is one question that every bride has asked us, it’s this – “What should we wear?” This has to be the most asked question any wedding and portrait photographer gets. There are numerous websites that are dedicated towards helping inspire men and women with awesome fashion! Pinterest, Polyvore, StitchFix, JackThreads, Cladwell and Trunk Club are just a few of the great places to go to find outfit inspiration!

These are my biggest, must-follow tips I give my clients:

1. Be YOU: The number one priority when choosing outfits for any portrait session is to pick clothing you’ll be comfortable in. If you’ve never worn stilettos, your engagement shoot is not the time to try them out for the first time! If you aren’t comfortable and aren’t feeling like yourself, you won’t like the way you look in your photos. I want you to LOVE your photos! So please, choose outfits you really love, not the outfits you think you “have to” wear. PS: You don’t have to buy new clothes for your shoot! If you have a favorite shirt that you’ve had since college and it makes you look awesome, please wear it and rock your shoot!

2. Coordinate Instead of Matching: Gone are the days where couples wear matching plaid shirts. I know that trend is still pretty popular, however, when you have the same pattern on two different people … it looks distracting. It’s hard to look at, really. You’re not complimenting each other, you’re competing against each other. You’re getting married! You don’t want that! A good way to coordinate instead of match is to pick ONE color for yourself and then try to find something in a similar shade or pattern for your honey.

3. Solids vs. Prints: While I’m on the topic of coordinating – let’s talk about patterns. Same thing applies as tip #2. Don’t wear matching prints. It’s a pretty general rule of thumb to not mix prints, unless you can do it really well and that’s only on one person! Two prints standing next to each other will look way too busy! If you love prints, find a way to balance it out. Pick a color from the print for the other person to wear. One wears a plaid shirt, the other wears something solid in a color found in the plaid. However, Cosmo wrote a pretty decent article on mixing prints if you’re up for the challenge!

4. We Love Texture: Especially lace! Lace photographs so well and what girl doesn’t dream of having a cute little lace dress/shirt/skirt?! The rule about prints somewhat applies towards texture. Large textures don’t mix very well with other large textures. However, lace (a larger/delicate texture) pairs really well with herringbone or sharkskin (typically more dominant textures). Also, if you wear a texture, such as lace, I recommend wearing something else with it like a jacket or a cardigan to make the texture less in-your-face.

5. Dress for the Occasion: For every engagement session, we recommend each couple bring a dressier outfit to start off with. By no means does this have to be a suit-and-tie or cocktail dress (but those are super nice, too)! If you’re not super dressy people, try out a pair of khakis and a button-down or a simple summery dress with a cover-up depending on the season. You’re getting married and weddings and engagement photos don’t happen very often! This is a super special occasion and a great opportunity to dress up a little!

6. Keep it Casual: The second outfit I recommend for every engagement shoot – every day attire. Jeans or shorts, boots, sandals (ladies only), t-shirts, sweaters – whatever you’re most comfortable in. This is the outfit that people when looking at these photos will say, “Yep, that looks just like you!” There is one groom-to-be that I worked with recently that told us about a time he went to a wedding with his fiancé and didn’t wear a baseball hat and sunglasses and no one in her family recognized him immediately! So, this reiterates tip #1 – be yourself!

7. Accessorize: Accessories add dimension to an outfit like nothing else can. Your outfits just aren’t complete without them. It’d be like making cupcakes and not icing them! Accessories for men include: watches, hats, scarves, ties/bow ties, tie bars, bracelets, belts and suspenders. Accessories for ladies includes: jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, watches, earrings), hats, scarves and belts. Guys get bonus points for wearing cool socks!

Now that I’ve talked about things you should do, let’s talk about the few Blunders to Avoid:

  • Men, don’t wear flip flops. Find a nice boat shoe or flat soled shoe instead.
  • Ladies, remember that eye make-up doesn’t always photograph well. Don’t feel like you need to cake it on (please still look like you), but I’ve found that using fake eyelashes help make your eyes POP! In a good way, of course!
  • Please check your clothing for stains, holes and wrinkles.
  • Be conscious of current or out-of-style trends. You want your engagement photos to be timeless, not something you hide away from the public eye because you decided to wear Crocs or a denim jumpsuit.

Still need help? Visit my Pinterest board for more outfit inspiration!

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