In a previous post we talked about why having an engagement session is so important. Your engagement session should be a less formal introduction to who you are as a couple. You can use these photos in so many ways, so of course you want them to look stylish and fun. If you are like most couples, the most stressful part about your engagement session is probably figuring out what to wear. Don’t worry! We have you covered. Below are the tips we tell all our couples who ask the question, “what should we wear?” It will help you pick the perfect outfit to style your engagement session. 

{Tip 1} Mood Board

I learned this from the amazing folks at Lin and Jirsa, and it makes a huge impact when getting on the same page with your photographer. Before we even get to the session, we always have our couples pin about 20 images to a “mood board”. These images are meant to be photo inspiration that they just LOVE. Then we have them comment with a few words or sentences on why they love that particular photo. Is it the light, the pose, the overall mood of the photo? This will ultimately help more than just saying, “here I want my session to look like this”.

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{Tip 2} Be Prepared

Having your photo taken is stressful enough, so pick your outfit(s) the night before. This way you aren’t scrambling the day of to find something you like.

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{Tip 3} Be Yourself!

Its so cliché, but who else knows your style better than you? I know that when couples ask “what should we wear?”, they aren’t asking it literally, they are just looking for some guidance and inspiration. So when picking out your outfits, make sure its something you are comfortable and confident in.

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{Tip 4} Props

Adding props into you photos can be a fun way to provide some personal insight into a relationship. When used simply, and in moderation, props can add an engaging, storytelling element to your session. Think of props as an element of design used to bring the shoot together, by tying together a theme and/or complimenting the story of who you are as a couple. There are different types of props that can be used during an engagement photography shoot. Personal props generally have special significance (like a family heirloom) or reflect the couple’s lives together, like a vintage car or Vespa scooter. Creative or cute props are used with the intention of adding whimsy and flair to the shoot. For instance, a large colorful balloon or handmade banner adds a pop of color and a graphic element. Finally, location-based props, like a rowboat on a lake, come with your chosen location.

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{Tip 5} Be Practical 

Make sure to consider the locations you will be going when making outfit choices. I know, those stilettos look incredible! But if you are doing a session in Old City Philadelphia where cobblestone is everywhere, you aren’t going to have a lot of fun. So if you really want them for the session, make sure to bring a backup pair of walking around shoes (They will be in shots too).

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{Tip 6} Don’t be afraid of prints, patterns, or bold colors. 

Black might be slimming, but I generally advise couples not to wear it since it leads to every speck of dust and hair being easily caught on camera. Wearing white should be saved for your wedding day, so go with bright hues that will pop from the background. To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue. If you’re planning on wearing prints or patterns (polka dots, argyle, ombre), make sure they’re big enough to show up on camera, because things like tiny lines or dots do not photograph well, but also not too big, because you don’t want to get lost in an oversize print.

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{Tip 7} Play off the location.

Think of your surroundings when picking out colors for your outfit. If your photos are in a park, a green dress might camouflage you with the grass and trees. A complimentary color, like a red dress, would pop against the green if you want to stand out. For a more subdued look, try a cool color like a blue, to differentiate from your surroundings. If you’ll be in more of an urban setting — let’s say in front of an abandoned brick building — try bold hues to contrast with the gritty background.

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{Tip 8} Dress for the season.

Remember, this session is all about being comfortable and relaxed, so make sure your outfit matches the weather. For spring, consider pastels, and sweaters. In summer, consider sun dresses, shorts, and polos. For fall, muted colors, layers (scarves, sweaters, etc…), jeans and slacks. In winter, consider pants with a stylish jacket, or a suit for the guys. This is a perfect time of year to get festive with prints or glittery accents. Just because it’s chilly isn’t a reason to not look good.

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{Tip 9} Switch things up.

If you can’t decide between casual and formal, go for both. Bringing 2 outfits never hurts, as long as you don’t have to haul a bag of clothes around everywhere you go. Wardrobe changes are always welcome and help as transition pieces when changing locations.

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