What to wear for your engagement photos!!


“What am I going to wear!?!” You’re getting ready for your engagement photos and you start to freak out. Many future brides are not only deciding their own outfit but their groom’s as well. Have no fear we are here with helpful tips on what to wear… or what not to wear.

Matching or contrasting? Matching can mean matching your future spouse or your environment. Contrasting is (obviously) the opposite. From a photographer perspective it’s the base of the photos and an important decision you and your future hubby need to decide.

Matching your fiancée:

I give you some words of caution when choosing to match. Don’t end up on the awkward family photos list this year, strive for the best dressed. Yes, I agree, there are some couples that are genuinely really goofy and want cheesy photo and that’s completely fine. Cheesy is wearing ugly Christmas sweaters or wearing the same exact khaki pants and red shirt… awwwwkward. Think before you buy matching outfits, is this going to be an engagement shoot or do you both just work at Target? Just trying to help you put it in perspective! As a photographer though I say - let your personality shine!

But in my experience, the majority of engaged couples don’t wear ugly Christmas sweaters. If you really want to ‘match’ your fiancée (I’m using this loosely of course) try building one cohesive outfit instead of two individual outfits. Think in same color palette, just not the exact same thing so you don’t look like Target employees, does that make sense?! Ok so I guess there is one major exception to this rule. It’s pretty safe to say that almost every woman will look good in a little black dress standing next to a man in a black suit.

Matching your location or surroundings too closely:

Too much matching - You almost never want to match your environment.  For example, you want decide you want to do an outdoor wintertime shoot. All the beautiful white snow makes it look like a winter wonderland. DON’T wear your new full length beautiful white peacoat, why you ask? From the other end of the lens, you end up looking like you have a floating head and a couple random hands and twig legs.

As we know, there are always exceptions. For an outdoor springtime shoot it is ok to wear colors that match flowers just make sure there is enough green foliage to contrast you and your clothing. This brings us to contrasting.

Contrasting your fiancée: 

What do you mean contrasting your fiancée? Well, you can contrast your fiancé, your environment or surroundings or both! Contrasting is typically a good thing, but there is such thing as too much of a ‘good thing’. For example, wearing your same white peacoat, if you are wearing a white coat and standing against a dark background your coat will become so beamingly white and it may distract the eye from your photograph. The same if true if you are standing with someone wearing very dark clothing keep in mind you don’t want too much distraction to the eye. Wearing shades (not colors) that are close to your surroundings and your fiancée is much easier on the eye and helps your photographer capture the best of side of you and your future hubby. Contrast doesn’t always have to mean dark and light though.

The Blend:

There is a way to blend contrasting and matching to get what you had in mind. You typically see this best displayed with sports jerseys. One person will wear the home jersey and the other the away jersey. You could also get creative with styles having a beautiful girl paired with a guy with a more rugged appearance. A beauty and the beast if you follow…

One final thing to think about is wearing complimentary colors like a red shirt while sitting on the green grass or a navy blue sweater against a brick wall. They are opposite on the color wheel but complimentary at the same time. It’s ok to stand out, just do it in a tasteful way! Just communicate with your photographer, that’s the best way to get what you want out of your session.

Wardrobe Changes:

The next question you may have is “should I change my clothes”? Most photographers don’t mind if you change your outfit during a session.  It’s actually great because it gives you variety and gives a different feel to some of your photos almost, like it were multiple engagement sessions.

When you’re choosing your location think about where you may (or may not) be able to change your clothes. You may not have a changing room available but ask your photographer if they have a portable changing room. Believe it or not some photographers have a portable changing room, it’s not glamorous but it’s still somewhere you can change.  

Don’t forget about Mother Nature, she may have a lot to do with your clothing choices. If it is going to be chilly you definitely want to choose someplace with a public restroom nearby. If you don’t have access to change somewhere indoors or your photographer doesn’t have a portable changing space, I recommend wearing a thin white tighter fitting tank top and white spandex shorts so you can change in a discrete area without feeling too uncomfortable.

Let’s also talk about shoes. It is very important to wear proper shoes. By proper, I don’t mean necessarily matching your outfit. Don’t go hiking in your heels ladies. If you’re taking pictures in the mountains, a photograph isn’t worth a broken ankle, I promise. Carry your matching strappy shoes and wait to put them on when you get to your location so you don’t hurt yourself please. If it has been raining and the grass is wet, your heels WILL get stuck, I’m a guy and I know this. Try to wear flat shoes or at least have them as a back up to heels just in case. Wearing open toed shoes in the snow, another example please don’t risk frostbitten toes for photographs. Be reasonable ladies.

Really short skirts or dresses: now most of the time this is not an issue, but there may be a photo of you sitting down and the photographer may get an accidental up-the-dress shot that’s so minor that you or your photographer may look over it but it can happen. What if you accidentally posted it online and before you know it you’re going viral. I recommend crossing your ankles, not only does it make a pretty pose but it also helps prevent potentially embarrassing photographs.

So in general ladies, be smart, bring proper clothing for the weather and temperature. Even if it is just a jacket to wear as you travel location to location. Again, no one wants you ill or hurt during your engagement session.

Just remember that no matter how you choose to dress your fianceé chose you and showing your happiness is the best part of your ensemble.

Justin Duff

Other End Of The Lens