Engagement sessions are always so much fun! They’re an opportunity to get to know our couples and help them get accustomed to our shooting style. Of course, every engagement session comes with a lot of preparation, so today I thought I’d share some of my tips for the most important task of all: picking out what to wear!
The first decision you’ll need to make when you schedule your engagement session is where to do it. Once you’ve figured that part out, try to keep it in mind. If you’ve chosen a beach you might not want to wear your stilettos.
As you are coordinating your outfit with your fiance’s, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palettes coordinate, but do not necessarily “match.” You should each aim to wear a different dominant color, but stay within a similar color palette family. So if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could wear a navy coat with gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square. Now he has his own dominant color (navy) while still incorporating a few touches of your color palette. Most of our brides choose their dress first, and then put together their fiancé’s outfit based on that.
In our experience, every woman, regardless of her shape has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about, so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.
Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so we recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms.
Heels elongate women’s legs making them look fabulous. Closed-toes heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, you might want to schedule a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your feet show. These little tricks make all the difference!
For your groom-to-be, fitted articles of clothing are always nicer and more flattering than baggy clothes. Make sure that his clothing fits the way it should.
From James Bond to Don Draper, men look most striking in a well-tailored suit. If he doesn’t have one, now’s the perfect time to invest in something he’ll wear for the rest of his life! The best part? It’s a lot less expensive than you might think! While custom suits can cost thousands of dollars, some of the most well-known brands have off-the-rack suits in their stores for a fraction of the price. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye.
You don’t want your photos to look like an advertisement for your favorite clothing store so stay away from graphics. Also, if you are going to choose a pattern, let the pattern be big! The camera can’t pick up super tiny patterns – try to avoid them whenever possible!
By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments. Please try to stay away from reds and oranges, as these colors reflect on skin.
You likely have lots of photos and selfies of you and your fiancé wearing jeans, so please don’t wear jeans to your engagement session. Instead, make this a unique experience and dress it up! Remember that you’ll be passing down these images to future generations and your children and grandchildren will love seeing you all dressed up and looking your best.
Have you thought about rocking a sequined gown, tulle skirt, or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember, there is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our brides love Rent the Runway for their engagement photos because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks. Plus, you can send the outfits back when the session is over. Other brides just love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) into their closet!
Long, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like a field, vineyard, lake, or beach. Cute, shorter-length dresses photograph beautifully as well. Dresses and skirts tend to look most stunning on camera because they really flatter the female body — which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not many pantsuits! For the ladies, we recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress or two. Also, remember to accessorize and make your outfits your own! Scarves and bold necklaces are always welcome!
Engagement sessions require quite a bit of walking so make sure you feel comfortable in your shoes. Ladies, if you choose to wear heels, bring a pair of flats to change into while moving from one location to another.
If you’ve booked a long enough session, make sure you bring a second outfit. It’s a great idea to start the session out in a dressy outfit and then change into a casual one mid-way through the session. This will give you so much more variety in your photos!
Wear clothing that highlights the real you and your personalities, too! The more comfortable you’re in what you are wearing, the more comfortable you will look in your photos and the more fun you’ll have!
I hope these tips were helpful to you as your plan your session! If you’re still deciding where to do your session click here for some ideas: NJ Engagement Photo Locations. And if you’re an Idalia Photography client and haven’t scheduled your engagement session yet be sure to email us for more information.
Did you find this post useful? Fill out the form below to get our free Engagement Session Planning Guide along with tips and tricks for planning your wedding, too!
Hi! I’m Alex, lead photographer and owner of Idalia Photography. I've been photographing weddings for over nine years and I'm passionate about discovering beautiful stories, documenting genuine moments, and capturing timeless images along the way.
Together, with the rest of my team, I specialize in capturing classic and romantic weddings for elegant couples who are joyfully in love. Click here to contact me for availability and pricing.
Serving NJ, NY, PA, and beyond.