You’ve got the blingy ring and booked the engagement session—now all you need is something to wear. If only it were that easy, right? You aren’t alone. As an engagement photographer, “What should we wear for our engagement session?” is one of the most common questions I get from couples. So, I’m hooking you up with some tried-and-true tricks to get those stunning images you can’t wait to share.
Here’s my Engagement Photo Outfit Guide:
What to Wear (& What NOT to Wear) for Your Engagement Session
Accessories, Accents, & Details are a Big Fat ‘YES!’
Scarves, vests, belts, cardigans, jackets, jewelry or a handsome hat can really elevate your photos. While you don’t want to detract from the subjects—yourselves!—it is important to reflect some personality. A bit of color or a bold piece of chunky jewelry can add that little somethin’ somethin’ your photos need. Texture is awesome! Don’t be afraid of it in your pictures.
Dress for the Weather—Shoes, too!
It can get pretty damn cold here in the Midwest during fall and winter (or if you choose to head to the mountains for your session). And, most couples want to take their engagement photos outside. Want to brave the cold to get a few shots in that killer dress? By all means, go for it, sister! But in general, I recommend dressing accordingly for the weather and location. Choose an engagement photo outfit you feel comfortable in.
If it’s cold, bring along a warm western blanket for some snuggly sexy shots together. Jackets, boots, and scarves will actually add personality and romance to your photos.
If it’s hot, you’ll probably prefer photos that don’t look like you’re drenched in sweat. That’s the time to wear your light, flowy sundress and hat.
Basically, your photos will look better when you’re comfortable because you can relax and enjoy the experience together without freezing (or sweating) your butt off.
Don’t forget we may be trekking just a bit through grass or gravel, so wear appropriate footwear, too.
I once tried to rock an outfit I saw on Instagram, knowing full well that it wasn’t my style. If you know me, you know that I’m not shy, so I went with it to see what the hubs thought. Even though it was a super cute, super trendy outfit, he couldn’t stop laughing. The outfit just wasn’t me. He knew it. I knew it. We had a good laugh.
That being said, while perusing Pinterest and Instagram might help inspire outfit ideas, be sure to be true to yourself. Find the balance between something you love and feel confident in that also represents you.
Choose Color Wisely
I know, I said accessories and accents are great. And they are!—as accents. If you love color like me, incorporate it into your outfit carefully. A pop of color is what you’re going for here. I also recommend one person wearing the color while the other person complements it with something subtler. Neutrals are perfect for pairing with a bolder color.
When in Doubt, Stay Neutral
Neutrals are always a safe bet. Shades of gray, brown, cream, white, tan, black, etc. will be easy to coordinate and match. Just remember to complement each other. Matching outfits are reserved for the 90s. Neutral colors are timeless and so photogenic. Plus, they won’t detract from your beautiful faces.
If you want a little “extra” in there, try adding a pretty contrasting color such as:
- Rustic Rose
Don’t Shy Away from Patterns and Textures
Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t limited to solids for your engagement photo outfit. An accent pattern or texture can look great in photos as long as you use it sparingly. Also, make sure to not clash with each other. For instance, she might where a dress with a subtle lace or floral pattern, and he can balance it out by wearing a neutral or solid-colored shirt.
Make Your Best Features Pop
Even if you’re an all-natural kinda gal and prefer very little make up, I recommend adding just a bit for photos. No need to go Lady Gaga here (please don’t!)—you can stick with the very natural look. However, add a bit of lip and cheek color, some mascara and brow enhancer, plus some eye shadow if you’re up for it.
For photos, you want to go about 20% darker or “extra” than your normal to highlight those gorgeous features of yours. Don’t worry, it won’t look that way in photos. In fact, false lashes and contouring are fantastic for photos! Get in touch with me for a few hair and makeup artist recommendations. They’re fabulous—take this time to treat yo’self!
For the Fellas
Most ladies like to bring a couple outfits to the sessions for both casual and formal photos. So, how do you help your guy transition styles with you?
Have him pop on a sharp-looking blazer, and swap out hats to match if you want. I looovee this light-colored jacket with a contrasting dark shirt underneath.
Or, have him step up his game by switching to a dressier button down–and don’t shy away from color!
What to Avoid in Your Engagement Photo Outfit
- Neon & Bright Colors
- Extra-Large/Bold Stripes
- Opposite Styles (i.e. one person wearing formal attire while the other goes casual)
- Oversized or Boxy Clothing
- Clingy Shirts
Flowy Dresses All Day Long
Not finding what you like in your closet? Flowy dresses always look amazing in photos because they catch the breeze and add so much movement and energy to the photos. Plus, they’re equally flattering and feminine. Here are my favorite places to find engagement dresses:
Be sure to check out my Portfolio, Instagram @nativeroaming, and Blog for even more outfit inspo!