Picking your outfits for an engagement session can be stressful! It’s very likely you have been waiting and looking forward to this session for a long time, and you have very high expectations to absolutely love your photos but also feel your best! So thoughtfully crafting each look for your session is absolutely essential, and something you should take your time doing.
Your engagement session is so much more than just photos of you and your fiance before the wedding. It is an experience. It is a special date night. It is a time to relish time together. It is an engagement memory you’ll always cherish. So I always encourage my couples to put adequate planning into their session, because it’s not just an ordinary day! It’s a big deal! And I want them to get the absolute most out of it. For me, that means that they:
1) Absolutely loooooove the photos they get back because they love the way they look aesthetically from scenery to outfits to poses and also how the images tell their unique story!
2) Remember the day as a fun, special memory of their engagement season!
3) Leave with the biggest smile on their face. This isn’t something to add stress to you during engagement! You’re stressed enough! You just have fun during your session and let me worry about making you look lovely on camera!
So to ensure my couples achieve those 3 very important things, I always guide them as they craft the art direction for their engagement session. We discuss clothing, location options to achieve the look they want, and so much more! But since this blog post is specifically about outfit selection, here are the main tips I always share with my couples!
Have at least one outfit that is neutral! Neutrals are not only completely timeless (Hello, will white ever go out of style?), but neutrals are almost always super flattering to all skin tones. And because my style is very dreamy, organic, timeless and true to life (meaning I want your photos to reflect the colors the grass, flowers, your outfits, your skin etc. actually looked so that years from now your photos haven’t aged) light colored neutrals always look better than dark ones. 10 out of 10 times I will recommend a white top over a black top. A long flowing black dress paired with another outfit with lighter neutrals is another story, but if your neutral of choice is between a light one (camel, white, taupe, cloud, etc.) versus a dark one (black, dark grey, dark navy, etc.) I’ll opt for the soft neutral. And the below photos are why: talk about dreamy, dreamy, dreamy! A lot of time people worry that neutrals blend too much and want to wear bright colors to pop off the background. I actually much prefer a monochrome look. I think it looks so classic and timeless and is much more pleasing to the eye!
Next, I always encourage my couples to plan two outfits, one that they’d wear to a cute brunch with friends and one that they’d wear out to a dreamy dinner together. This usually translates to jeans/slacks + a button up and then a nice suit for the guys. For the ladies, this usually looks like a jeans and a flirty top or a casual cotton sundress + a midi dress (flowy or shapely) with a pair of fancy heels for some sass.
Here’s the deal: I love a good bright color now and again. My closet is 80% soft neutrals/pastels with about 20% fun color pops for the days when I just want to be as bright as the sunshine outside. I’m all for fun color. However, not generally when it comes to your engagement session. Bright colors have a way of shouting so loud that they can make skin tones look a little lackluster. And who wants to look pale because the dress they chose is so bright that it’s actually drowning them out?! Also, those bright colors have a tendency to bounce back onto the skin. No lie. Bright red, bright green, bright pink… all those brights can actually do what we in the industry call color casting, and it’s very hard to correct in post and almost impossible to avoid when bright colors are in the mix. Especially if you like photos outside in the sun, its best to stick to softer tones of colors you love like: sage vs green, lavender vs purple, blush vs pink, dusty blue vs royal blue, rust vs orange, etc. These light tones photograph so romantically and will flatter your skin tones and also almost any setting you shoot at!
The more isn’t necessarily the merrier when it comes to accessories. You don’t want to weigh yourself down with too many moving pieces to your look, when most of the time one or two thoughtfully selected accessories will do the trick! Sometimes that’s a slick hat (like the one Austin chose in the images above) and sometimes it’s a really beautiful pair of heels (see below) that steal the show! Other ideas include statement earrings, a scarf that ties your looks together, hats (a fun option because you can always take them off for some photos as well), etc.
And there you have it! My best tips for selecting the perfect outfits for your engagement session! Looking for a photographer to shoot your engagements and wedding? Connect with me here! I’d love to work with you and make your engagement and wedding dreams come true!