There are so many guides out there on perfect engagement shoot options. Here are a handful of my tried-and-true quick tips for selecting your looks!
First things first: pick some thing comfortable and that you feel beautiful in. The more confident you feel in your outfit, the better your pictures will be!
Need more guidance than that on what you should wear for your engagement shoot? Don't worry, I've got you covered.
When you and your partner are making your selections, consider the following:
What Colors Should You Wear for your Engagement Shoot?
Your outfits don't have to match, but they should look good together. Borrow a tip from the Hollywood costume departments (where star-crossed lovers end up in similar colors) and pick outfits that are harmonious with one another. When choosing a color scheme, pick something that complements what your partner is wearing.
You don’t have to match, but shades of blue, or green and blue are a safer bet together than say, orange with purple.
If you want to play with different colors, then consider matching the quality of color, instead. Whether that is muted autumnal shades, or rich jewel tones, picking something in the same color category will lend a harmonious feel to your looks.
When in doubt, lean into soft neutrals, which are timeless, elegant, and photograph beautifully.
Check out your photographers website/Instagram to see what their couples have worn in the past. This can give you some inspiration, and also help you see how different patterns and fabrics look through your photographer's lens.
Anything to Avoid?
Clashing patterns! It's one thing to go bold with your outfit, but another thing entirely if that bold choice is in visual conflict with your partner's look. For these portraits, the focus will be on the two of you; bright, incongruous patterns will be distracting.
Solid colors are always a safe bet, but you can absolutely play with some patterns...just make sure both outfits work well together (and if one person goes for a pattern, consider pairing that with a solid for the other's outfit).
Consider also your location – will what you've chosen work for the environment of your shots?
Finally, make sure your nails and hands are camera ready. Make sure you both have tidy and clean nails, as hands will appear in close ups of your engagement ring. If you have time, schedule a ring steaming to maximize sparkle! (Or, at the very least, give your ring a gentle scrub with Dawn dish detergent. For more tips on maximizing sparkle, check out this blog.)
What Textures Work Best for Engagement Photos?
While the conventional wisdom is to stay away from busy patterns, textures are a fun way to add intrigue to your look.
When trying on your outfits, pay attention to how the fabric hangs and moves. In a dress? Give it a twirl! That "spin factor" will come in handy. Soft, flowy fabrics like silk, chiffon, or organza can add beautiful movement when you walk, which can make for more interesting photos.
Stiffer fabrics will look inherently more formal, and you may find that certain fabrics create sharp lines when walking or sitting. If you like that more formal portrait look, go for it! There isn't a rule here; it's more what feels best to you and what sort of look you want for your pictures.
Wearing Comfortable Shoes to Your Engagement Shoot is a Must
Comfortable shoes is key! You’ll be on your feet and walking a lot. While you can always bring a second pair of shoes for swapping in between shots, some of the most natural pictures are snapped mid-walk between locations, so the best option is to have comfortable shoes you can leave on throughout the shoot, if at all possible.
Do You Have to Buy Something New for Your Engagement Shoot?
A whole new look is completely optional. In fact, your engagement shoot is an opportunity to your closet!
There can be a ton of pressure across social media and with targeted ads to purchase a complete bridal wardrobe for each and every wedding event, including your engagement shoot. While of course you can use this photoshoot as an excuse to pick out a little white dress, consider also the re-wearability of certain choices. If you are getting something new, pick something you'd be excited to wear again.
For many couples, the engagement shoot is one of the first (if not THE first) time in front of a professional lens. Any ways to add comfort and familiarity to the experience (like that favorite summer sundress, or go-to fall sweater) can help you feel more relaxed in front of the camera. The shopping trip is optional!
A Quick-Tips Checklist for Finding the Perfect Engagement Shoot Outfit
So, in summary:
Choose Your Colors Wisely: Soft neutrals are timeless, shades of blue are popular, too! Make sure your outfit and your partners have colors that complement one another, are a matching shade, or are in the same family.
Pick Your Patterns: Delicate patterns like floral or chinoiserie are popular for a reason. A loud, bold pattern can make for a fun accent but may not photograph as well. Avoid clashing patterns with your partner's look!
Movement is a Must! Dresses or skirts with flowy fabrics make for more dynamic photos than stiffer, more structured textures.
Find Inspiration: Check out your photographer's website or social media accounts. What looks best through their lens?
Choose Comfort: Pick something in which you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful!
Get Good Shoes: You'll be on your feet a lot! Make sure your shoes are comfortable and that you can walk in them for 60+ minutes.
Make Sure Nails are Neat: Make sure your nails are tidy. Both partners hands will end up in zoomed-in photos with the ring!
Get Your Ring a Glow-Up: Schedule a ring steaming or give your ring an at-home scrub to ensure maximum sparkle for your photoshoot.
As you pick out your outfits, you may have too much of a good thing. The good news is...you don't have to choose! If you can't choose among two great options, you can do two looks during your session.
This can also add variety to your pictures. For these looks, you can opt for the same level of formal, or you can wear something more formal in one, and more everyday for the other. For example, you might choose a dress in one and something more causal, like a favorite pair of jeans, for the other. The options are endless. Just make sure you're working in time to change and a place to swap outfits into the logistics of your shoot day.
Pro Tip: If possible, schedule your hair and makeup trial for the same day as your shoot. Your HMUA can give you a second hair look for your shoot, and you'll get a chance to see how your makeup photographs professionally. This is not a must-do, but can be especially helpful for those who don't typically wear a lot of makeup.
So, my dear engaged couples, happy outfit hunting, enjoy your shoot, and let's get planning your wedding, whether here or abroad!
Header image by MaMa Photo