Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Stumped on what to wear for your engagement photos? You're not alone. As these sentimental snapshots will appear on everything from your save-the-dates and wedding website to the walls of your first home, it's important to put together looks that feel 100 percent you. Before you shop your closet or hit the mall, consider these tips regarding what to wear (and what not to wear) for your upcoming engagement shoot.
1. Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Like You
If you're strictly a T-shirt and jeans kind of couple, now's not the time to pull out a beaded ball gown and tux. You two should feel comfortable in the outfits you choose. The idea is to still have who you are represented even if you aren't all dressed up! Wardrobe choices that are extremely outside your level of comfort will make you look and feel awkward in the photos.
2. Complement Each Other, But Don't Match
Complementing your partner's look is one thing, but matching outfits and patterned prints aren't ideal for portrait sessions. When deciding how you and your partner will dress, look for complementary colors and solid prints. Try to stay away from anything too busy, as it can be an unnecessary distraction in photos.
3. Choose Pastels, Cool Colors, and Neutral Tones
You'll want to avoid anything neon, lest you'll end up looking like a hot, blinking sign. I also find orange is the least photogenic color, while red is the color your eye is drawn to immediately—and you don't necessarily want your shirt or skirt to be the focus of your photograph. You want your faces and the love between you to stand out. I suggest wearing pastels, cool hues, or neutrals, then adding a bright accent with your accessories.
4. Tie Everything Together With a Color Scheme
Once you have an idea of what colors you'll be wearing in your engagement shoot, consider how that color will translate throughout the entire album. You want to create synergy, rather than have the final result look like a jumbled collection of images. For example, if you love light blue, you can wear this as a dress or a jumpsuit. Then have your partner incorporate the same hue in a later look during the shoot to tie everything together without being overly matchy-matchy.
5. Incorporate at Least One Accessory
Accessories, such as a stylish scarf or chunky necklace, can lend oomph to any engagement look. Plus, they're easy to slip on and off, which means you'll be able to style a variety of looks. Adding in at least one accessory per outfit for the ladies, and wearing layers of clothing for the guys, are two things that photograph well because it adds more visual interest to their looks and, as a result, to the images.
6. Opt for Classic Rather Than Trendy Looks
You may love that black-and-white maxi dress now, but next year you may only be reminded of a referee when you see yourself in head-to-toe stripes. I always recommend looks that will remain timeless, rather than outfits that could make your images feel dated a few years down the road.
7. Stick With Two Outfits
Don't fall victim to treating your engagement session as a full-fledged fashion photo shoot. You're going to have a million wedding photos where you're all dolled up and looking gorgeous. These are the pictures where you get to remember who you are at the end of the day when it's only the two of you. Two outfits are more than enough to reflect this in couples, and it ensures you won't spend your entire engagement session in a rush to change into the next set of clothes.
8. Flatter Your Body Type
Clothing looks best when it fits properly and accentuates your assets. When selecting outfits for clients, I first and foremost pay attention to their body type.
9. Garner Inspiration from Throwback Photos
Browse through old photos of you and your partner together, as well as individually. Now pick out the absolute best aspects of those pictures (perhaps, it's a pose you love or a gorgeous backdrop) and create a mood board on Pinterest to start planning the direction of your engagement shoot. Seeing what makes sense and what you're into will help give you some guidance.
10. Think About the Season
Bikinis won't work for a winter engagement, and a cowl neck scarf doesn't work in the summer. Take advantage of the season you're in by styling a look that's in tune with the climate and location.