Engagement & Portrait Session Styling Tips | Tuesday Tips

Tuesday Tips | Portrait Session Styling Tips

You guys – it’s that time of year again! Fall is here! Fall is definitely the busiest time of year for photographers and we really love it! The colorful leaves, the cool autumn breeze, the fun layering options for outfits! Ah … I’m so excited – I love fall!

Recently, I’ve been photographing a lot of engagement sessions and as I prepare for my busiest season, I thought it would be helpful for my clients to see a few tips to help them prepare for their engagement or portrait sessions. These styling tips easily apply to engagement and portrait sessions – even weddings to an extent! Read on for tips on how to style you and your loved one(s) for your next session!

1. Clean Nails

I know this one seems kind of obvious, but trust me, this is one of the most forgotten styling tips. Yes, your hands will be in the photos – especially during an engagement session or at a wedding! Gents, just make sure you don’t have dirt under your nails. Ladies, same goes but I would recommend painting your nails a neutral shade or leaving it completely bare. While I love bright, fun nail polish, it unfortunately doesn’t work well on fingernails during a photo shoot. It can be really distracting in your photos, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use those fun colors on your toes! 🙂 From experience, I’ve found that a light pink shade of nail polish usually looks really nice in photos!

2. Compliment Not Coordinate

I’ve said this numerous times and I’m sure you’re tired of me saying it. During the many years I spent working in retail, I can’t even tell you the number of times I attempted to help customers find matching flannel shirts so their fiance would match a shirt they wanted to wear. Just don’t do it. A photo shoot is the time to have fun with your fashion and styling!

If you need some inspiration on what to wear for your session, please check out my Pinterest board.

3. Be on the Same Page

If you’re going to be wearing a fancy dress for the shoot, then your guy should not be wearing jeans and graphic tee! It’s all about being on the same page. A dressy outfit should be complimented with another dressy outfit. Casual goes with casual. Of course, I want everyone to feel comfortable and to look and feel like themselves, but it just looks strange to see someone get all dressed up and look amazing to stand next to someone that just looks out of place in more casual attire.

The best way to combat this is explained in the next tip 🙂

4. Pick 2-3 Outfits

It’s ideal that every client pick out 2-3 outfits for their shoot and since most shoots last at least an hour, that many outfits is most definitely attainable. I always recommend a dressier outfit and a causal, ‘I want to look like myself’ outfit. Dressier options can be anything from a fancy dress and a suit and tie to khakis or slacks with a button down and a sundress or flowy skirt with a cute top. If you want to do more than two outfits, kudos! That third outfit is a great way to incorporate the style or vibe of your location.

5. Do Not Fake Tan!

Please please please do not spray tan or use self tanner before your photo shoot! Celebrities and tabloids have conditioned us to believe that being pale is a “bad thing” or that being tan makes you look slimmer. This isn’t true, by the way! If you use any kind of fake tanning techniques, you will look orange in your photos and that’s not cute. I have plenty of photos I could share with you, but that would be mean … just take my word for it 😉

All in all – I’m here to serve you! If you only want to do one outfit, let’s do it! If you want to get dressed to the nines in a floor length gown and a tuxedo, I’m game! If you want to do something fun and quirky – I’m all about having fun! The main goal is to just have fun and to represent yourselves in the best way and in the way you want to be represented. Tell me what you want and I’ll help do everything I can to make it happen 🙂


All photos are © Steph Parker Photo.
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