Your engagement session is coming up and you're stumped on what to wear. You want your images to feel timeless, you want to look back on them and feel the excitement of this chapter of your lives. And I get it. It's hard enough to pick an outfit for a romantic evening out let alone a portrait session that you'll be able to look back on forever. You want to look your best, so the stress is understandable, and it's a conversation that I have with a lot of my couples! Hence this blog - I really wanted to share some common tips, just so you show up to your engagement session in an aesthetic outfit that has you looking and feeling your best.
Wear Clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in
Your engagement photos are not the most opportune time to take a major fashion risk. I will always recommend dressing in a way that makes you feel comfortable. If you're wearing something you wouldn't typically wear, and you're second guessing it during your session, this is going to translate into your photos. Instead, when you feel confident in what you're wearing, you can focus on being present instead of worrying about whether or not your outfit looks good on you.
It would be a shame if you looked back on your engagement photos and were questions what you were wearing, simply because it was trendy... which leads me to my next point.
Opt for classic looks (even though trendy might be tempting)
You want your outfits to be timeless! You might love a certain pattern trend right now, but in a few years time, this could make your images feel dates. Always go with the more classic look, while still staying true to who you are and what your style genuinely is!
Compliment Each Other... Don't try to Match
Let me put this as bluntly as I can: coming to your session in matching outfits (and boldly patterned prints) is not ideal at all. When you're deciding what to wear, look for soft prints and colours that complement one another. Regarding the patterns, I'll say stay away from bold patterns because it can be such a distraction in your photos. Try to opt for neutral, earthy and/or muted tones so that the viewers attention is naturally drawn to your face and your emotions.
You want your faces and your connection to be the most obvious thing in your photos, that's why this part is so important. When your outfits are void of bright colors and distracting patterns, your photos naturally feel more romantic and timeless.
select a colour scheme for your shoot and stick to it
Once you have a general idea of the pallet you'll be working with, think about how it will look throughout your entire album. You don't want your two outfits to be totally different, because this would takeaway from the potential synergy that your outfits can create if chosen appropriately. I feel like an example is necessary hear to explain my thought process. Say your favorite colour is cream, so you opt for a cream coloured jumpsuit for your first outfit. You can have your partner wear a soft pattern or a more contrasting colour as your first outfit. For your second outfit, have your partner wear something that is the same colour so that your entire photo gallery will be tied together, without ever feeling like you were matching. Mind blowing, right?!
Outfit Ideas for Her
My number one tip for women is to choose what you're wearing based on movement. For those romantic, cinematic images, you're going to want to choose those light and more refined fabrics. In the summer, this could mean linens and crepe, while in the winter this could mean dark silks or textured fabric. A lot of my prompts are movement based because the outcome adds a more candid, authentic feel to the final images, and all of these materials lend to that aesthetic vibe that's just so in right now. Another great way to add a pop to your photos is to compliment these subtle fabrics with more attention grabbing fabrics... think a faux-fur collar, sherpa lined coats, or even vegan leather accessories.
In terms of your shoes, stick to something neutral while also considering the location and season. You can never go wrong with a chunky heeled boot in the colder months, while in the warmer months, a funky pair of mule heels or a crisp white sneaker always get the job done. Barefoot is always an option I encourage as well, depending on the location.
As for the finishing touches, again, keep movement in mind. Wear your hair down, throw some curls in it if that suits you! Nothing says nostalgic romance like an intimate kiss while your partner is embracing you and your hair is blowing in the wind... seriously. Getting your makeup done that day is always an option too, in fact, it's a great opportunity to have a trial with your wedding day MUA. Manicures and ring shining optional, though they do offer that extra j'en sais pas that just ties everything together.
If you're reading this thinking "but I love skin tight," there's a few things that can help. I understand that look is very edgy, very chic, and I too am a fan of some more form fitting outfits at times. If this is you, consider adding a flowy blouse to a tight leather pant, for instance, or an oversized peacoat to a full length bodycon dress. Just something that adds life to your outfit!
Outfit Ideas for Him
My number one tip for men is to add layers to your outfit! And also to make sure that his outfit matches the "fanciness" level of whatever his partner is wearing.
When I say layers, think a sports jacket over a shirt, or a scarf with a jacket, or even a beanie with a bomber. Layers are known to add more of an editorial vibe and just take the outfit to a whole other level. And don't forget to iron your shirt the day before! Wrinkles can be v. unforgiving. As for your pants, chinos are perfect.
I think the biggest secret to a men's outfit is the coat, to be honest. A really nice coat can go a long way and, depending on the style, can be naturally slimming. On top of that, it's an easy layer to remove and having that subtle change in outfit can really add a lot of variety to your final image gallery.
For shoes, again, think neutral. Brown dress shoes (unless there's black pants involved, in that case always wear black footwear), a nice pair of boat shoes, or even a pair of combat boots for something a little more edgy are all shoes I would recommend.
Things to Bring
Depending on when/where I'm shooting with my couples, I always recommend bringing a few things. Consider this the basis of your "packing list" for your engagement session!
- Two outfits, always optional, but a nice way to add visual texture to your final gallery. I'll always recommend one more "formal" outfit, and another outfit that is more laidback, all while sticking to your colour scheme mentioned above!
- A blanket or a coat for colder sessions! It's not always used, but it's one of those things where safe is better than sorry.
- Champagne, beer, a shot of tequila, etc. Not only is it a nice way to celebrate, but it's also known to cut the edge off for those who might feel extra nervous at the onset of their engagement session.
- For the ladies, makeup for touchups. You might want a fresh lip, or if it's a cold day and your eyes are watering, you might need a mascara touch up. You can never be too safe!
- Meaningful accessories. I'm not talking about jewellery either, I'm talking about items that could actual style your shoot to give it a more editorial vibe while also telling more of a story. This could mean a guitar, some candles, a notebook to write a letter to one another, etc. It could be anything that holds value to you and your relationship. If this is something you're interested in, chances are so is your photographer! Have that conversation with them and let it be known. Most photographers love getting creative during shoots and I'm sure would love to do something that is anything but basic.
Some Extra Inspiration for Your Engagement Session
I'm a visual gal myself, no surprises there, so I've pieced together some seasonal Pinterest boards if you need a little extra help. They're sectioned off too, a little for the ladies and a little for the men:
Summer Outfit Inspiration
Lots to digest in this read, I know. Take what you need, leave what you don't, and come back to it if you have to. This post is here to serve as a resource to you, and if anything, I hope it's made your engagement session outfit selection process a little more easy, and perhaps even fun! The biggest takeaway, though.. ALWAYS wear something you're comfortable and confident in. It's so obvious when you're beaming with confidence because you know how good you feel in what you're wearing.
If you made it this far, I'm going to share with you a bonus tip - consider your engagement session a date. Get your hair done, makeup done, come to the session, and afterwards plan on a little date night out. This chapter is supposed to be fun! Ditch the wedding planning stress and make the most of this fun to-do.
Are you newly engaged? Congratulations on forever! That's a really big deal. If you're looking to get engagement photos done, or have any more questions about why you might want them, reach out! I'd be so honoured to document this chapter of your lives.