Your engagement session is essentially a trial run of how you will feel in front of the camera with your photographer. It’s your photographer’s job to ensure you feel comfortable throughout your session, but that can be hard if you don’t feel confident in your outfit. I’ve constructed this guide for the couples who aren’t really sure what to wear to their engagement session, but know that they want to look, and feel amazing.
Seasonality and location can help you decide what to wear for your engagement photos (read: you might want to avoid stilettos on the beach or bare arms in the snow). Comfort is key, so wear warmer outfits with rich colors and texture in the winter, especially if you’ll be outside. Brighter, more casual outfits may be better suited for spring or summer engagement sessions. Keep in mind that bolder colors will give your photos an instant celebratory feel, and are perfectly appropriate in most settings. If you’re sporting prints, make sure they’re big enough to show up on camera, but not too flashy—you don’t want to get lost in an oversized print.
What matters most is that your engagement session outfits feel representative of you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to express your personal style. Remember that the more confident you feel, the better your photos will turn out.
The first decision you’ll need to make when you schedule your engagement session is where to do it. Once you’ve figured that part out, try to keep it in mind. If you’ve chosen a beach you might not want to wear heels, or hiking boots (unless it’s Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in which case do wear hiking boots!).
As you are coordinating your outfit with your partner, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palettes coordinate, but do not necessarily “match.” You should each aim to wear a different dominant color, but stay within a similar color palette family. So if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), your partner wear a navy and/or gray, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush accents. Now they have their own dominant color (navy) while still incorporating a few touches of your color palette.
Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos. This may take a bit of work, recognizing what cuts, colors, and fabrics work best with your body, but in the long run it’s worth the confidence boost!
Typically you want to shy away from clothing that has easily identifiable logos on them—this is for a couple of different reasons: you don’t want your images to look like an Old Navy ad; and you don’t want to “date” your images by wearing a brand that becomes obsolete in 5, 10, 15 years.
Also, if you are going to choose a pattern, opt for a larger pattern. Plaids, and (what I call) wide florals are ideal. Just make sure that your partner is not in a competing pattern.
If you want versatility and diversity in your engagement session gallery, add layers to your outfit. Pair a jacket with that dress, or a scarf with those jeans—when you dress in layers with coordinating accessories, it becomes really easy to transform your outfit and create entirely different looking photos in your gallery.
Or bring a second pair. Most of my engagement sessions require a fair bit of walking to reach the desired location, and even when not walking, I have you focusing on your partner in a playful style which may require piggy-back rides, dancing, running, and jumping.
When it comes to choosing your engagement session outfits, your personal taste is a key factor. The outfits you choose help set the mood of your engagement photos, so wear pieces that feel like you. If you aren’t into dresses or suits, don’t feel pressured to wear a formal outfit because that’s what you think you have to wear. Instead, choose something that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. You can wear coordinating wedding-worthy white ensembles, or go for something that feels trendy and modern. Make sure to set time aside to figure out what you want to wear ahead of time, so you’re not scrambling the day before or day of for an outfit you love.