Engagement session outfits have long been a source of frustration for many couples.
And I get it! These are likely the photos you’ll use to announce your engagement (if you haven’t right away), the photos you’ll look back on years down the line as you reminisce about this time in your lives. You don’t want to wear an engagement session outfit that you’ll regret, right?
Lucky for you, figuring this out is pretty straightforward once you answer a few questions. (Quick disclaimer*: I’m no style icon. I wear black, grey, and white pretty much exclusively, and my clothing is very plain/basic. These are tips that I’ve learned after photographing a bunch of engagement sessions.) Ok ready? Here we go:
1. Where is your engagement session taking place?
Think about what type of outfit would look good at your location. Beaches, forests, cities, mountains, and kitchens all bring a different feeling to mind. You don’t have to “match” your location, and you can certainly go against this: e.g. hiking gear in the city, ballgown in the kitchen. But it’s something to consider, whether you want to look like you belong in your surroundings or you don’t!
2. What time of year is it?
I want to say this goes without saying, but I’m only sort of concerned with the time of year and am forever over or underdressed temperature-wise.
So think about the weather. If you want to laugh in the face of the weather gods and wear a sleeveless dress in the winter, you do you, but just…bring a jacket, ok? Ditto long sleeves in the summer. I can only cart around so much water to keep you conscious.
3. What are you comfortable in?
This should really be number one, if I’m honest. But we’re in too deep.
Once you have a few ideas, think about the clothes that you’re actually comfortable in. Seriously. If you never wear dresses, are you going to be extremely uncomfortable and out of place if you wear one to your engagement session? If high collars make you wiggle around all day pulling on them, don’t wear one.
Your engagement photos should look like you and your partner. This version, not the one anyone else tells you to be.
4. Do you need any special gear?
Snowshoes? Hiking boots? Climbing harnesses? Jackets/hats/gloves? Factor those into your outfits!
5. Coordinating without matching
Ok, this one isn’t a question, but it’s an important thing to think about! Most couples want their engagement session outfits to look good together, but they don’t really want to be wearing the exact same things.
Here are some tips for complementing outfits:
- Start with a neutral base and add pops of color in the same family.
- Think about colour families in general.
- Sort out one person’s outfit, then use that as a reference for the other person’s.
- If you’re into patterns, keep it minimal, or only on one person’s outfit. Loud, clashing patterns on all pieces of clothing are going to be distracting.
- Think about your home! I’m all about printing photos, and they should look good in your home! Take a look around your space for colour inspiration.
6. Try on your clothes in advance
Another not-question, but this is a bonus tip. Try on your engagement session outfits ahead of time, twirl around in them, check yourself out in the mirror from a few different angles.
Trying on your outfits ahead of time will give you a wee boost of confidence and make you all the more comfortable. And again, the more comfortable you feel, the better your photos will look! Photography science.
7. Things to avoid:
I’m not here to make any “rules,” but here are some things that I’ve noticed have caused some trouble:
- Neon/bright colours: Distracting, and the colours tend to cast onto skin. Not cute. Instead of bright red, try a burgundy. Instead of bright yellow? Try mustard yellow! Neutrals are also a fantastic choice.
- Bright white shoes: Stand out in photos to an almost unbelievable degree. I don’t know what else to tell you.
- Tiny/complicated patterns: Don’t translate well in photos.
- Big logos: Logos and text are pretty distracting. You want to see you in your photos, not get distracted reading your t-shirt.
- Transition lenses: Sunglasses block your eyes, and we definitely want to see your eyes! If you normally wear glasses, please wear them. But if you can find a non-sunglasses option, that would be best.
I hope these tips gave you some ideas about engagement session outfits! If you want to throw them all out the window and do whatever you want, that’s cool too. For some more outfit inspiration, check out my Pinterest or scroll back through the blog. And to schedule your own engagement session…? I’m right here.