Engagement Session Tips & Outfit Recommendations

Now that you have picked a date, a photographer, and probably a venue as well, you can celebrate! Those are some of the toughest decisions in wedding planning and you can cross them off your list! Hooray!! Now on to the fun stuff...like your engagement session! I include engagement sessions in my wedding packages because I truly believe that they are a vital part of the entire process.

During your engagement session, you'll have the chance to get to know me, experience how I shoot and handle posing, prompting, and lighting. This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. I'll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are and how to photograph you in a genuine way! What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel like such a pro on your big day because of the great practice you had during your engagement session and that's how it should be!

As you start to plan your engagement shoot, you will need to start brainstorming about location ideas. I love it when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way! If you can't think of anywhere specific that you would like to shoot, I can help you decide on a location! As long as the light is great, I can make ANY location look awesome! I've shot at farms, campuses, downtown alleys, and even racquetball courts! 

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Choosing your outfits

It's always a little intimidating to have your picture taken...even if it's just a photo on an iphone that is taken by a friend, we still want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth and that our hair is behaving! I realize that preparing for your engagement session can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips for outfits and accessories that will make the engagement shoot preparation a little more manageable.

Colors and Palettes

In my time as a photographer I have seen and photographed many, many families and couples with every color scheme imaginable. Over the years I've found that certain colors consistently photograph and edit better than others with my style of photography. So, here they are!


I'm a big fan of pastels and soft earth tone colors. Sage green, pastel blues, tans, blush, cream, etc. Basically a soft tone of any color. I prefer to stay away from bright pinks and reds because they can bring out red hues in your skin.

In the picture above, you'll see that the bride chose a bright green dress for her engagements and it was STUNNING! So you can go bold if you want. If you do, I recommend just one person wearing the bold color (preferably the bride, because...let's face it, YOU are the star of the show ;)) and then the other person wearing more pulled back simple neutral colors. I do recommend avoiding bright pinks as reds as that can reflect on your skin and make it difficult to edit.

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Color palettes are one of my best kept secrets. And there's a specific way I recommend using them. First, I recommend not sticking to a particular palette as you start your search for the perfect outfit but to rather follow my general outfit tips and searching for your dream outfit first! His outfit is important too, but I want you to feel incredible in what you're wearing, so that means you get first dibs on outfit choices ;) 

After you've found your dream outfit, that's when you can pop over to Pinterest and search "[dress color] color palette". You should see a bunch of beautiful options like the ones above pop up. Pick one or two palettes that you love and then start searching for your man's options! Don't stress if it doesn't match the palette perfectly. It's just my little cheat to give me ideas for what he should wear, or point me in a better direction than what I was originally thinking! 

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Texture & Patterns & Fabrics

I love texture. Texture can help take your look to the next level. Whether it's the sleeve style on your shirt/dress (I LOVE an interesting sleeve!), ruffles or layers in dress, embroidery, etc. Patterns are okay, but you do them, you want something that's not too busy or distracting! You are what we want our focus on, not a wild pattern!

I'm not usually too picky with fabrics, but I will recommend one thing--try to avoid clingy fabrics/knits. Instead go for more cotton or flowy, non stretchy materials. These tend to hang much nicer and photograph very well.

Dressy  Vs.  Casual

So first off, I should say that most of my couples choose to do two outfits for their engagement sessions. What I usually recommend my couples doing is one dressy outfit and one more casual outfit. But keep in mind, casual outfits don't always have to mean jeans! One of my favorite more casual looks was a relaxed sun dress! 

 

 

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I do, however, usually recommend a dress for your formal outfit. Dresses tend to be the most flattering on a women's figure, and always tend to photograph nicely! Skirts and dresses that are more full also make for some really magical photos! 

I also recommend heels for most dressy outfits! There's just something about wearing them that helps your posture out in photos! If we choose somewhere kind of rugged, you are definitely welcome to bring some shoes to hike around in!

Hair & Makeup

If possible, I would recommend having your makeup professionally done for these! This is a good time to do a trial run with your makeup artist for your wedding makeup! If this is simply not possible, I recommend doing your makeup a little bolder, wearing fake lashes, and even watching/practicing several wedding makeup tutorials on youtube. The camera doesn't always pick up on the lightest makeup, so even if you feel overdone some, it'll probably do better on camera!

Men's Outfits

So hopefully by now, you've made it through the hardest part! But if your fiance is even a bit like my husband, then he's probably a little picky too about what he wears too! But really, their outfits are so much easier than ours!

 

Here's a few general rules I like to follow when picking out men's outfits:

-Slim cut is almost always, usually, just about every time....better. It might be hard to convince them, but slim cut shirts and pants are usually the way to go. I'm not talking skinny jean tight, but definitely jeans that are more fitted. That goes for shirts too. Fitted shirts (not too tight), the kind that aren't baggy photograph the best. Baggy clothes tend to look a bit slouchy in photos.

 

-When in doubt, go neutral. Almost always, you'll be trying to coordinate his outfit with the outfit you've already picked out for yourself. Neutrals are always, always a winner! 

-Make any sort of pattern small if you're going to do them. Bold patterns/prints will steal the show from the most important subjects in the photos----YOU! :)
 

-Don't feel like you guys have to be matchy-matchy! Coordinating is the way to go!

-This probably goes without saying, but really try to avoid graphic tees and text on shirts! 

-Lastly, when in doubt, Pinterest it out :)

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General Session Tips

Here's a few general tips to help your session be the best it can be!

-Empty your pockets! Let's take all the keys and wallets out of your fiance's pockets before we start photographing! 

-Be on time! The sun is only out for so long! The later you arrive, the less time we have to shoot! And nobody wants that!

-Clean the ring! I love to shoot a few ring shots while you change outfits! The cleaner the better!

-Relax! You don't have to be a pro at this! I'm going to help you along the way and it's going to be a blast! The first 20 minutes will always feel awkward, but by the end you'll be pros! Enjoy this time together and make a date out of it! Plan a dinner out afterwards and celebrate! 

Where to Shop

The perfect dress can be a challenge to find! A few of my favorite websites to look at are Amazon (Yes! I love Amazon and they do have good stuff!) Lulus.com, and  wrenandivory.com . These are the big ones, but there are so, so many good ones out there, from big stores, to Instagram shops! If you're looking for a brick and mortar store to go try things on at, TJ Maxx and Target are killing it these days. But I'm not as familiar with in store shopping....online shopping is my jam ;)
 

Inspiration

If you're looking for ideas and have no clue where to even start for the look you want, Pinterest is always a great option! But just in case you're super overwhelmed and need more concrete ideas, below are some types of outfits that I think would be fun to photograph at engagement sessions! (All images taken from Pinterest.)
 

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