Having trouble deciding what to wear for your engagement photos? You’re not by yourself. Because these sentimental photographs will be displayed on everything from your save-the-dates and wedding website to the walls of your first home, it’s critical to put together looks that are completely unique to you.
Consider these 12 expert tips from stylists and photographers on what to wear (and what not to wear) for your upcoming engagement shoot before you shop your closet or go to the mall.
1. Dress in Clothes That Make You Feel Confident
If you’re a T-shirt and jeans kind of couple, this isn’t the time to break out the beaded ball gown and tux. Jessica D’Onofrio of Jessica D’Onofrio Photography in Los Angeles says, “The couple should feel comfortable in the outfits they choose.” “They should still look like themselves, but they should look their best. Wardrobe choices that are far outside of their comfort zone will make them appear and feel awkward in photographs.”
2. Complement one another but do not match
It’s one thing to complement your partner’s outfit, but “matching outfits and patterned prints aren’t ideal for portrait sessions,” according to Michelle Cross of Michelle Cross Photography in Oregon. “Look for complementary colours and solid prints when deciding how you and your partner will dress. Avoid anything too busy, as it can be an unnecessary distraction in photos.”
3. Opt for pastels, cool colours, and neutral tones.
Avoid anything neon, says Jillian Requeima of Jillian Tree Photography in Miami, or you’ll end up looking like a hot, blinking sign. “I also believe that orange is the least photogenic colour, whereas red is the colour that draws your eye right away—and you don’t necessarily want your shirt or skirt to be the focal point of your photograph. You want your faces and your love to stand out.”
4. Use a colour scheme to tie everything together.
Once you’ve decided on the colours you’ll be wearing for your engagement shoot, think about how that colour will translate throughout the album. You want to achieve synergy rather than have a jumbled collection of images as the end result. “For example, if you like light blue, you can wear this as a dress or a jumpsuit,” says Kimmie Smith, a New York City celebrity fashion stylist. Then, have your partner use the same colour in a later look during the shoot to tie everything together without being too matchy-matchy.
5. Include at Least One Accessory pieces.
Such as a stylish scarf or a chunky necklace, can add oomph to any engagement look. They’re also simple to put on and take off, allowing you to create a variety of looks. “Adding 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,” Kelsy McCartney of the McCartneys in Wisconsin explains.
6. Choose classic over trendy looks.
You may adore that black-and-white maxi dress right now, but when you see yourself in head-to-toe stripes next year, you may be reminded of a referee. “I always recommend timeless looks over outfits that may make your images feel dated a few years down the road,” D’Onofrio says.
7. Limit yourself to two outfits.
Don’t make your engagement session into a full-fledged fashion photo shoot. “You’re going to have a million wedding photos where you’re all dressed up and looking stunning,” Cross predicts. “These are the pictures that remind you of who you are at the end of the day when it’s just the two of you. Two outfits are more than enough to reflect this in couples, and it ensures you won’t be rushing through your engagement session to change into the next set of clothes.”
8. Get Insight From Throwback Photos
Look through old photos of you and your partner, both together and separately. Now, take the best parts of those photos (perhaps a favourite pose or a stunning backdrop) and create a mood board on Pinterest to help you plan the direction of your engagement shoot. “Seeing what makes sense and what you’re interested in will help you get some direction,” Smith says.
9. Use Surprising Pairings to Add Visual Interest
Smith enjoys incorporating eye-catching fabrics (such as lace, fur, leather, and so on) into a couple’s engagement shoot outfits. “These elements add a tonne of visual texture, which adds warmth to your images,” Smith explains. “Plus, they’ll go with whatever scenery you choose.”
10. Make use of a Rental Subscription
On a tight budget but still want to snag a designer wardrobe? We understand. These photos are meant to last a lifetime, and your engagement is deemed special enough to warrant the purchase of a stunning designer piece. If you’re only purchasing the item for the photoshoot, you might want to consider renting it from a site/subscription service like Rent the Runway or Le Tote. Both options make it simple (and less expensive) to obtain high-end looks that you may only wear once.
11. Consider the Season
Bikinis are inappropriate for a winter engagement, and a cowl neck scarf is inappropriate for a summer engagement. Make the most of the season by styling a look that is appropriate for the weather and location.
Winter and autumn
Don’t be afraid to layer up. Emily Delamater, a photographer based in Maine, is well aware of this. “My favourite tip is to wear fleece-lined tights underneath jeans or pants,” she advises. “Winter accessories can be extremely fashionable. Furthermore, if you’re being photographed in the snow, it makes more visual sense to be dressed for the season.” What if you’re not in the Rockies or the Adirondacks? Winter sessions in the city can be just as beautiful.
The seasons of summer and spring
Do you have any ideas for what to wear to an engagement shoot during the warmer months? Go barefoot on the beach or share a cone on the pier in sandals and shorts to channel summer vibes. With flowers in bloom and love in the air, you can’t go wrong with subtle floral prints and season-appropriate pastel hues. For a sweet look, pair a maxi dress with a statement necklace or a sundress with a denim jacket.