Not only are they a great way to capture your love sans formal wedding attire , they also serve as a practice round with your wedding photographer before the big day!
As photographers we, of course, want our couples to look their best in their photos. The biggest question we get regarding engagement sessions is “What should we wear for our engagement session?” we have created this little guide to help you on your path to the perfect outfit(s)
The most important thing during your engagement shoot is to be yourself! The whole purpose of the shoot is to capture exactly who you are and show your personalities. If you pick an outfit that just isn’t ‘you’, you’ll feel uncomfortable, and trust me, it’ll show in the photos. Whether you want to wear jeans and a t-shirt or a matching pyjama set, your happiness will show through and influence the overall mood in the photos.
An engagement shoot is an opportunity to enhance your natural beauty. If you plan to wear makeup for your wedding day, this is a great time to coordinate a trial with your makeup artist. Getting your makeup done is a small investment that helps you feel confident — which definitely shows up in your pictures. Even if you don’t normally wear makeup, cameras have a sneaky way of picking up uneven tones on our faces. A little foundation and mascara will go a long way toward making your pictures reflect how you look every day.
Colors should be complimentary, but not matchy-matchy.
If your fiancé(e) is wearing a checked shirt, pick one color from the pattern and opt for a solid dress in that color. If they’re wearing a solid color, try incorporating that shade into your shoes, belt, or neckwear. The goal here is not to over-coordinate, but still look like a cohesive unit.
Go for timeless over trendy.
Engagement photos are like proto-wedding photos—you’ll want them to feel relevant even when your grandkids are looking at them. Stick with outfits that feel less of-the-moment and more authentically you—that way you won’t distract from the subject of the day (your love) and there will be less what-the-heck-were-they-wearing moments down the line.
Keep things fitted.
Fun fact of clothing on camera: everyone looks skinnier (and taller) when they’re wearing something that’s properly tailored. Opt for clothes that follow the natural shape of your body without feeling too tight and you’re guaranteed to look your best.
Flatter Your Body Type
Clothing looks best if it fits properly and accentuates your assets. „When selecting outfits for clients, I first and foremost pay attention to their body type,” explains Martini, „then I check their questionnaire to figure out what areas of their body they like to accentuate.” Her go-to tips are below:
Pear-Shaped: To show off your curves, focus on cinching the waist with an A-line design that flares at the bottom.
Apple-Shaped: An A-line style with a gradual flow from the waist to the legs is always flattering. This shape is also great for a dress with texture and/or a deep V-neck.
Busty: Scoop and sweetheart necklines offer support and open up the décolletage so the focus is on the face rather than the bust.
Small Chest: Look for textured or rushed styles to create fullness in the chest area.
Plus Size: Engagement photos featuring an empire-waist dress are Martini’s go-to. They’re super flattering and emphasize the smallest portion under the bust, creating the effect of a slender silhouette from top to bottom
Consider wearing heels.
Even if your a die-hard flats kind of gal, consider donning heels for a few of your standing portraits. They’ll temporarily realign your posture so that your shoulders are more thrown back, which will make for better portraits
Your backdrop matters less than you think.
Yes, a sundress will feel out of place on a snowy tundra, and a down parka has no business being at the beach. For the majority of engagement sessions, however, your background environment is just that: a background environment. Most of the focus will be on you and your fiancé(e), so don’t stress too much if your favorite dress is a tad too dressy for a stroll in the country.
Avoid coats if you can.
Most people’s coats are black or dark brown, and they often sacrifice shape for warmth. We are in no way judging that! They just don’t make for the most stylish engagement sessions. If you still plan to be outside during a brisker month, try adding a scarf or layering a blazer or sweater over your ensemble. You can always jump back into your parka between takes.
Don’t go overboard with jewelry.
Bunches of bangles will get in the way of those tender shots where you raise your hands to your fiancé(e)’s face. Don a statement necklace and statement earrings and it will distract from the loving gazes you’ll throw in each other’s directions. If you feel better while bejeweled, opt for just one statement piece.You’ll feel glamorous without detracting from the occasion.
Bring a change of clothes.
We recommend one dressy set of outfits (dresses and ties) and one more casual set of outfits (jeans and sweaters; something creative). Clothes can change the way you interact with one another on camera, and you won’t regret having both reactions on film.
Try the flower crown NOW.
Floral crowns are a bold look, and can be distracting if you’re not used to wearing one. If you’re thinking about a floral crow for your wedding day, we strongly recommend trying the look during your engagement session first. That will help you determine if you like the look and if you are comfortable posing and interacting in one. If you decide to forgo it for your wedding day, you’ll always have these shots to fall back on!
Make Use of the Season
Bikinis don’t work for a winter engagement shoot, and vice versa, of course. Take advantage of the season you’re in and create an on-theme outfit.
Winter and Fall: Don’t be afraid to bundle up. Living in Maine, photographer Emily Delamater knows this firsthand. „My favorite tip is to wear fleece-lined tights under jeans or pants!” she says. She advises her clients to layer cozy knits, like a sweater or a cowl scarf, grab a bright winter coat, and put on a pair of fingerless gloves. „Winter accessories can be really cute. Plus, it makes more sense visually to be dressed for winter if you’re being photographed in the snow!” Not in the Rockies or Adirondacks? Winter sessions downtown can be just as stunning. „City and holiday lights will add some beautiful bokeh [out-of-focus, blurry light spots] in the background. Paired with a chic winter outfit, an urban setting can really highlight the season,” says Rachel Nielsen, a Utah-based wedding photographer.
Summer and Spring: Wondering what to wear for engagement pictures in warmer weather? Bring summer vibes to life by going barefoot on the beach or sharing a cone on the pier in sandals and shorts with your sweetie! Pair a maxidress with a statement necklace, or a summer dress with a denim jacket for a sweet look. As for spring, you’ve got flowers in bloom and love in the air; you can’t go wrong with subtle floral prints and pastel hues.