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What to Wear For Engagement Photos

YAY, you’re engaged and getting some pretty pictures to mark the occasion! Usually the biggest concern while prepping is deciding what to wear for your engagement photos! Engagements are probably my favourite part of the photography experience with our clients.  We get to goof around, I make you kiss in front of me and I’ll probably trip over myself about 10 times. We have done loads of engagement sessions so here are a few things that can really help so you get those candid and gorgeous shots. The biggest factor is wardrobe!

I know it can feel daunting to pick outfits for your photos. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide what to wear for your engagement photos! They are some simple ideas and tricks so you can be sure to look great and be all over each other, while still making sure the images are focused on your love, not on what you’re wearing. Full disclaimer, I am by no means a fashion guru, I don’t really follow fashion trends and I’m also a mum who works mostly from home which means I get away with sweats and a dirty top for most of the week! This is just what I’ve found to work best from trial and error in past shoots. They’re only guidelines, not rules! And if you choose not to follow these I guarantee your pictures will still look great!

couple with blanket and props for engagement session and what to wear ideas

First and foremost, I want you guys to look like yourselves, which means dressing how you normally dress so you can be as comfortable as possible! A lot of people try to go shopping for new clothes just before the shoot but sometimes this can work against you – especially if what you buy it’s just not ‘you’ but you buy it because you think it will look good in photos. Feeling good and loving what you’re wearing is the most important. If you’re planning on an outfit change, I always suggest one formal outfit and one more casual outfit so don’t feel like you shouldn’t bring stuff you normally wear. I recommend wearing clothes that are already in your closet that you love and feel like yourselves in. An old band t shirt and ripped jeans? Perfect.  An oversized sweater and shorts – excellent! A lot of our couples will go shopping for “nicer” looking clothes which is totally fine, but sometimes they regret not just wearing something that they feel like themselves in. Who cares if you look back at the photos in 20 years and laugh about what you’re wearing? As long as it represented what you as a couple are like right now, thats all that matters. Plus, guys are usually not that stoked about putting on a collared, ironed button up with dress shoes if they’re used to wearing flannels and ripped jeans every day.

Here’s a few guidelines to help you decide what to wear for engagement photos:

I always recommend to bring options. To get the best results, I’ll pick and pull from the options you bring for you guys to change into for each location we shoot at. This way I can make sure the outfits compliment the environment so that the focus is on you two, not on any distractions, which yes, can be your outfits. All you have to do is make sure you bring stuff that you feel like a million bucks in that we can pick and pull from!

Don’t bring your whole closet though. It will take too much time for me to go through everything and will take time away from your session. Most people bring about 2-3 pairs of bottoms and 3 or 4 tops each, then you can bring accessories, jackets and what not as well. Also, just know that depending on where we are shooting, you’ll most likely be changing in the back of the car on the side of the road. If you aren’t down with that, that’s totally fine and you can just bring one outfit.

COLOURS

The most important factor in what to wear for your engagement photos is colour. I typically recommend sticking with neutrals and earthy tones. Neutrals doesn’t mean just greys and browns, there’s neutrals of every colour (mustard yellow, forest green, navy blue, burnt orange, etc.) Stay away from bright, fluorescent distracting colours. The only specific colours I typically recommend to stay away from are pinks, any fluorescent colours and bright oranges as they have a tendency to reflect onto your skin. If you have dark or olive toned skin it might be an exception with the light conditions, but a lot of the time it results in people looking really pink … 

So just try and stay away from those colours if you can, but if you really want to wear something that is red, especially a darker red this this can be really striking against a neutral background. 

sample for what to wear to engagement photos in neautrals
what to wear to your engagement session example of retro colours

PATTERNS

Avoid big, loud, chunky, crazy patterns. The smaller or more subtle, the better! If the pattern is too loud, it will distract from your faces. Flannels are always a yes and florals are fantastic also long as the colours aren’t too bright. I usually try to avoid pairing too many patterns together because it can make the photos feel a little hectic and distracting from your faces and the location. Also, be sure to iron your clothes before so there’s not huge wrinkles distracting from your faces either!

I love when people bring hats, sunglasses, scarves, jewelry, etc because it’s nice to pair them with different outfit options. Just avoid wearing watches so they don’t distract from your faces when I’m getting close up shots!

PROPS

Something else to think about when deciding what to wear for engagement photos is props! When I think “props”, my mind flashes through all of the cringe-worthy Pinterest photos I’ve seen of cheesy chalkboards and hobby lobby props brought to shoots that really tired and overdone. But props don’t have to be cheesy! Props could be a dominos pizza picnic, a motorcycle, your naked cats (dogs of any breed make my heart happy so YES to bringing them), blankets, a truck/car, a campfire, a bouquet, a paddle board, etc. If you have props you wanna incorporate, let me know and we can make sure to incorporate them in a non-cheesy way! I am a total craft nerd and I have crocheted a few blankets and also collect blankets for our shoots so I can definitely bring what we have if you don’t have access to one.

couple in neautral colours drinking beer for what to wear for engagement photos
stylish couple with wild bouquet for what to wear to engagement session example

HAIR + MAKEUP

A lot of people ask me whether or not they should get your hair and makeup done by a pro. My answer is always “whatever will make you feel best, do that.” I absolutely don’t think it’s necessary whatsoever, because in my personal opinion, I would rather look like MYSELF rather than a super glammed up version of myself; especially because I wear pretty minimal makeup with a messy top knot anyways. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had girls show up to shoots wiping off the caked on makeup and taking out 500 bobby-pins their makeup and hair artist did because it just doesn’t look like them. But, if you want your hair and makeup done, then definitely do it, because the most important thing is that you feel confident just make sure your make up is true to who you are, your session isn’t the best time to trial a bold red lip if you don’t usually do your make up that way! 

winter engagement session with what to wear for your engagement photo samples

If you’re getting hair and makeup done, I recommend you schedule to be done at least an hour before you have to leave for the shoot so you aren’t late. Also, if you’re skin is bright white (especially for us in the Canadian winter am I right?!)  and want a spray tan, be sure to get a suuuuper natural airbrushed spray tan rather than one from a salon/tanning place. We don’t want you looking like orange!

WHAT TO WEAR FOR IN HOME SESSIONS

All of the above applies, but for in home sessions I say the more skin showing the better! No that doesn’t mean you need to be borderline naked, but if you’re in lots of heavy layers the photos won’t look very intimate and comfortable! And if we’re completely honest most of us walk around without pants on at home anyways. I recommend bringing options of tank tops, shorts, sweaters, and jeans to mix and match! Anything that will show some skin is perfect! If we are doing the session in our home studio then I also keep several items which are perfect for these sessions so you can also pick and choose from those options.

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Phew, ok that was a lot! I hope those have been some helpful tips for deciding what to wear to your engagement session!

You can check out a session with multiple outfits for a more relaxed session here –> Juliette + Jean’s session here and an outdoor sample session

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