If you’re in the middle of planning your engagement session and are looking for help & guidance on engagement photo outfits, look no further! You’ve come to the right place.
Engagement sessions are one of my favorite things to photograph - they’re a time for me to meet my couples, get to know them, and learn all about their relationship before the wedding day comes. Plus they’re a chance for you to get dreamy photos of the two of you during this special season of your life, and an excuse for you to go out on an adventure.
But it’s easy to get stressed as soon as you start planning your engagement session: Where do we go? How do we pose? What the hell do we wear?!
So today I’m giving you my 10 top tips to help you put together killer engagement session outfits that don’t just look awesome, but make you feel awesome. Let’s get into it!
10 Outfit Tips for Killer Engagement Photos
1. Stray away from crazy patterns
I love me a good, colorful flannel (can you tell I live in the Pacific Northwest?) - but when it comes to being in front of the camera, you’ve gotta be a little more wary about patterns in your clothing.
There’s this thing that can happen in cameras where if you wear a flannel or outfit with super thin lines/stripes/patterns, they can come out looking super wonky in photos. It can be hard to distinguish tiny lines from each other, and the pattern & colors might end up blending together weirdly.
Plus, crazy patterns (we’re talking wild leopard print, rainbow polka dots, you name it) can easily distract from the main subject of the photos: you two!
This is why I recommend straying away from patterns that are too crazy, and if you do want to wear a pattern, keep it to one minimal pattern. Avoid having one of you wear stripes while the other wears polka dots - the clothes you’re wearing will end up being the main focus of the photos!
A great example of a pattern that worked really well in photos: Sydnee’s dress during her & Ryan’s Fall Mountain Maternity Session. The floral patterns all over her dress were just small enough to not distract from the rest of the photo, but big enough to be easily recognizable and not blend in weirdly with the rest of her dress. She killed it with this outfit choice!
2. Earth tones are always a yes
If you’ve ever worked with any type of photography, I’ll bet they told you something about earth tones being the way to go - and they were right.
Earth tones are pretty self-explanatory: they’re colors & tones that you’d naturally find somewhere in nature. For example, the deep greens of rainforests, shades of brown you’d see in trees, and blue hues you’d find in the ocean.
The reason these earthy colors work so well in photographs is because they look great against pretty much any color of background, and they work super beautifully together, too. If one of you wears an emerald green dress and the other wears a burgundy suit, these deep earth tones will likely look amazing together! Versus if you tried to coordinate a neon pink dress with a bright yellow suit - that probably wouldn’t look too great side-by-side.
Hannah & Cole did a killer job coordinating their earth tones during their Olympic Peninsula Engagement. She rocked a simple white tee with light blue jeans, while Cole wore an olive-colored shirt and black pants. None of these colors clashed whatsoever and they looked beautiful with the trees, rocks, & water in the background!
Avoid wearing earth tones that will blend in with the background. For example, if you’re at the beach, try to avoid wearing a dress the exact same shade of beige as the sand so that you don’t blend in with your surroundings!
3. Get creative with dresses
I love suggesting dresses to my clients because of how versatile they can be in photos! Since I shoot mainly outdoors with my clients, sessions usually involve some degree of wind or a breeze. And dresses are the perfect way to take advantage of a little wind.
Flowy dresses are always a killer choice for outdoor engagement sessions. They allow you to move freely and not be restricted by your clothing, so you can do all the running/skipping/sitting that you want to (or that I ask you to) 😉 Plus, they look amazing when a gust of wind hits - who doesn’t want an epic shot of them standing on top of a cliff with their dress blowing behind them?!
Take a look at Sarah + Daniel’s Lake Powell Engagement if you want some real-life inspiration. Because Sarah absolutely nailed it with her ruffled, terracotta-colored, hella flowy dress!! She was able to easily walk around the cliffs in it and we got some pretty stunning shots of her playing around with the material.
Danielle also wore the most incredible sparkly dress for her & Vic’s session - talk about an epic gown to twirl around in while exploring the California Redwoods!!
Dresses with slits are another fun option if you want to give your outfit a little bit of an edge. Alex wore a gorgeous emerald dress with leg slits for her & Fletch’s Dead Horse Point Engagment that allowed her to comfortably sit down on the cliffs, and added a unique touch to her outfit as a whole.
4. Throw in a bridal look to get in the wedding mood
Want to get into the wedding mood a little early? Why not throw a bridal look into your engagement photos?
Whether you want to go all white, rock a classy black & white look, or take it to another level with all black (because who says wedding dresses have to be white?), wearing a fancy bridal look can be a super fun way to add variety to your engagement photos.
For Jess + Ben’s Mountain Vista Colorado Engagement, Jess wore a stunning white dress that totally could pass for a wedding dress. Accented with patterns of floral lace & a casual touch with off-the-shoulder sleeves, this dress totally upleveled their photos with a fun bridal vibe.
Samii did something similar for her & Evan’s Golden Point Reyes Engagement, rocking a short white gown while Evan wore a beige ensemble. Talk about a classy-looking duo!!
5. Mix it up with multiple looks
There’s no rule that dictates how many outfits you can wear in your engagement photos - so I always suggest you bring a few!!
Having multiple outfits adds a ton of variety to your photos, and can affect the mood of the photos too. If you’re a pretty casual couple, bring a few different casual outfits that you can swap between at our location (we’ll find a bathroom if we can, or we always have our cars). And if you both feel your best when you’re dressed up, pack a few fancier outfits! I recommend bringing outfits of different colors, styles, & patterns to create the most variations in your engagement gallery.
My favorite way to vary your outfits is to bring both casual and fancy looks. This way, you can get photos that fit different sides of you and bring out different moods + emotions. It’s fun having a couple casual outfits to run around & snuggle up in, and then also 1-2 dressy outfits to make you the best-looking couple wherever we’re at.
Alex + Fletch did a great job of this too - they wore t-shirts and jeans for one part of their session, then switched to a classy dress & suit pairing! Who says you can’t do both??
6. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box
Engagement sessions are the perfect opportunity to showcase the unique parts of your relationships and to think outside of the box.
Try to think of things you haven’t seen in engagement photos before: if you like swimming together, what about hitting up a hot spring & wearing your fave bathing suits? Or maybe you love floating down the river in your hometown - bring a raft and gear up in your go-to river ‘fits!!
For Annalyce + Ben’s Surprise Alabama Hills Proposal shoot, we explored a super cool hot springs and they wore simple black swimsuits. What a fun way to capture an adventure between the two of them!
7. Have fun with pops of color
Now just because deep, more neutral earth tones are always an easy way to go, doesn’t mean you can’t wear pops of color! Having one person wear a pop of a fun color can look great in engagement photos.
Take a look at Sarah + Daniel’s engagement session again - Sarah’s red dress looked incredible against the neutral color palette of the landscape behind them as well as Daniel’s beige sweater!
8. Layers, layers, & more layers
Layers are an easy way to add variety to your engagement photos without having to change outfits 10 times, especially if it’s cold outside.
You can easily layer different pieces of clothing and then take them off one by one to create different looks within a few seconds!! For example, if it’s spring or fall, your bottom layer could be a simple tank top tucked into jeans, with a crop top over it and a fun jacket over that. This way, you can take the jacket off to create a new look or drape it over your shoulder, then take off the crop top for a casual summer-y look. Easy peasy!!
9. Think practically
As much as it’s important to pick beautiful outfits, it’s also important to think practically about the clothes (& shoes) you pick.
Avoid wearing anything that’s going to restrict your movement, especially if we’ll be walking a lot or hiking at all. You don’t want to barely be able to move because the dress you picked is too tight, or your jeans aren’t comfy!!
And this hopefully goes without saying, but you probably don’t want to wear 6-inch heels if we’re hiking through the forest - bring those heels with you in a backpack and opt for good hiking shoes for the way there. We want you to look & feel amazing, but to also be comfortable the whole time!
10. Make your outfits feel like you
And finally, we want to make sure your outfits feel like you!! Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t normally wear, because chances are you won’t feel like your truest self in them. It’s impossible to have a relaxed, authentic engagement session if you’re not feelin’ like your best self in front of the camera!
If that means wearing a graphic tee from your favorite TV show, bring it along, and let’s have some fun with it. If that means going barefoot in the sand dunes or wearing a full ball gown on top of a cliff, go for it. I’m here to encourage you & make sure you look and feel amazing during your session!
Ready to book your adventure engagement session with me? Reach out here and let’s start plannin!
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