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10 Tips On What To Wear For Your Engagement Session

Engagement Session Outfits

By Jeffrey House Photography



It's that time of year in which a lot of couples are getting engaged.  It won't be long before you start thinking about your engagement session, so we thought it would be great to share some tips on picking out your engagement session outfits!

The engagement session is, arguably, the most important step to successful wedding photography.

Because we provide engagement photography services, we thought it would be good to focus this article on how to prepare for your engagement session, but before we talk about attire, we are going to give you some bonus information!  

The Importance Of Having An Engagement Session 

Typically speaking, the engagement session will be the first time a couple has ever been professionally photographed.  It's also the first time they have worked with their photographer.  The engagement session is going to allow the couple to learn about their photographer and their work-style.  This may seem like a little detail, but I promise you it pays huge dividends!  Imagine for a moment your wedding day without having an engagement session.  You're already filled with nervous energy because, well, it's your wedding day.  Your photographer(s) should be here any minute.  How do they go about making pictures?  What's it like taking pictures with them?  Are they going to help me with posing?  Will they be patient with me?  Will they be friendly?

For those couples who did have an engagement session, all of these questions and stresses just melt away.  You've already worked with your photographer, so you already understand how it all works, and how they work.  This familiarity and comfort will play a big role in the success of your wedding pictures.  

Engagement sessions aren't just beneficial for the couple.  They are hugely beneficial for your photographer too!  We get the opportunity to learn more about your personalities.  We also get to see first-hand how you naturally interact with one another - we refer to this as your "couple style."  Understanding your couple style will play a significant part in how we manage your engagement session.  What is an engagement session?  It's really a photo session that captures the love between two people.  But not everyone is comfortable expressing their love in front of the camera - maybe because they feel it's a private matter or maybe because it's not their style to be overly affectionate.  As photographers we have to find ways to document a couple's love, but in ways that make them feel comfortable.  


Choosing A Location For Your Engagement Session

The location for your session is one of the most important details.  Do you dress to fit your location or pick a location based on how you plan to dress?  There is no right or wrong answer.  The correct answer is whatever works best for you.  However, there are some things to consider when selecting the location for your engagement shoot.

The couple should first considers locations that may have a special meaning to them.  Maybe it's the sight of your first date, your first kiss, where you got engaged, etc.  If that doesn't work for you, then consider locations based on your hobbies and interests.  Often times couples will select a location based on the theme of their wedding.  For example, if you're having a country themed wedding an engagement session in the middle of an open field would make a nice complimentary location.  You may also decide to do the complete opposite to create variety and photograph your engagement in an urban setting.  

When deciding on a location be sure to select one that is comforting.  If you don't like being around crowds of people, an urban setting may not be the best idea.  When we feel uncomfortable we tend to appear rigid and hesitant.  Two things we don't want for your engagement pictures.  

Lastly, consider locations that provide options.  We want locations that offer us multiple and unique backgrounds.  We want our couples to have an array of "looks" and "feels."

10 Tips On What To Wear For Your Engagement Session

The clothing you wear for the engagement session can have a drastic effect on your pictures.  Attire can contribute to the overall beauty of your photos or diminish it.  We ultimately want the focus of the images to be on the couple.  So let's take a look at some great tips for helping you prepare for your engagement session.

1.  The Two "C's" For Your Attire

Comfortable and confident!  You definitely want to wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident.  However, it's important to understand that "comfortable" does not mean sweatpants.  These are going to be professional pictures that may be used in the newspaper to announce your engagement, you may display them in your home, they may be used in a slideshow at your wedding, etc.  You don't want your engagement pictures looking like you just rolled out of bed.  Wearing something that makes you feel confident is also essential.  Confidence and relaxed go hand-in-hand.  These are two great feelings to have when being photographed.  

2.  Avoid Restrictive Clothing

 Stay away from clothing that restricts your movement.  Most engagement sessions do require some walking.  We don't want you feeling miserable or irritated because it's do difficult to move around in your clothing.  And ladies, if you plan on wearing heels be sure to bring a pair of flats to use while walking around.  It will make your life much easier.  

3.  Include Color

When selecting your outfits, choose clothing with some color.  However, avoid outfits that are entirely one color (all white or all black) as we want to ensure we create contrast, depth, and texture.  All of one color tends to make everything look very flat and sometimes lifeless.  Lastly, while we want your pictures to have some color, avoid neon or fluorescent colors at all costs.  They tend to create ugly color casts on exposed skin (faces, necks, etc.) and hair.  

4.  Accessorize

Accessories are a great way to add a splash of color, especially if your attire is geared more towards natural colors.  Earrings, watches, bracelets, shoes, scarves, etc. are all great ways to add life to your pictures and create that contrast, depth, and texture.

5.  Avoid Distractions

We want the focus of your engagement pictures to be you, not your clothing.  Your clothing should serve to enhance the look and feel of your pictures.  If done perfectly, when people view your pictures, they will feel an attraction to them without knowing exactly why.  Everything plays a part in the overall feel of your photos; therefore, it's imperative to avoid clothing with large logos, bold patterns, reflective surfaces, etc.  Additionally, stay away from clothing that is overly tight, loose or worn.  Finally, refrain from clothing that is trendy.  Years from now, you will still want to be able to appreciate and enjoy your pictures.  You don't want to look back and think to yourself, "what the hell was I thinking?"  

6.  Dress With The Same Level of "Dressyness"

This is one of the more common mistakes I see couples make - there level of "dressyness" is completely different.  It can really make the pictures look awkward and it's very distracting.  Your outfits should compliment one another, and again, serve to enhance the overall feel of your photos.  Whether you decide to go casual or somewhat formal, that's completely fine.  Just be sure both of you dress accordingly.  

7.  Don't Fight The Location

You may dress around our location or you may select a location around how you wish to dress.  Either way, be sure to dress in the context of your environment.  If you decide you want a sunset shoot in the middle of an open field, being too dressy will look out of place.  However, if you dress all glam for a shoot in the city, it's going to look amazing!

8.  Mix It Up

We encourage couples to bring a couple outfits to create multiple looks.  It may be something as simple as bringing a second shirt, but it will add a little more variety to the session.  You can even include some fun accessories to mix it up too.  Bring a hat that compliments your outfit.  You don't necessarily need to wear it, if you want to avoid messing up your hair, but we can come up with creative ways to include it in the pictures.  

9.  Consider The Season

This is an important detail when choosing your attire.  Select colors and clothing styles that compliment the time of year.  A bright yellow sundress will look great for an early spring engagement session, however, it will probably look pretty suspect for a shoot in October.  This can also be considered a "comfort" choice too, but make sure to dress appropriately for the weather.  If your engagement session is taking place in late October, you may want dress in layers just in case you get chilly.  Bring a couple of light jackets too as this will be an easy way to add variety to your photos.  

10.  Avoid Being "Matchy-Matchy"

Your clothing choices should compliment one another from a color and style perspective, but we really want to avoid clothing that is overly "matchy."  If you're both wearing blue jeans and white t-shirts, it tends to lose that contrast, depth, and texture we are after.  Below is a great reference for selecting colors that compliment without getting too "matchy."

Using these tips to prepare for your engagement shoot will really help to ensure you get the most out of your session.  Once you have selected your location and attire, just have fun.  The engagement is a great experience.  It's low key, relaxed, and a great way to ready yourself for the wedding day.  


What type of outfits do you think look great for engagement sessions?