Let’s talk engagement sessions. After the engagement session is booked, and the location is finalized, the number one question I am asked by my couples is “what should we wear?” Well, first, I want to start off by saying, my goal as a photographer is to capture your love story in a way that feels natural and realistic to your relationship. I want you to look at these photos years from now and be transported right back to where you are in life at this moment. As you read, think of the clothes you have in your closet right now that both feel like you and cover all the bases that we’ll cover through the guide. Without further ado let’s get into it!
First and foremost the single most important thing to consider when choosing what to wear for your session is your comfort level. There are two ways I like to think about this, the literal sense of being comfortable and the confidence that comes along with something you feel good in. As far as your actual comfort level this is very important for your session. Trust me if your shoes are uncomfortable and your feet are aching throughout the session it will show in your photos. Choose clothing that you know you’ll feel good in, and if you choose to wear something new for your session make sure to break them in as best you can before your session.
The second part of this is the comfort and in turn confidence that comes along with wearing something you feel good in. If you have a favorite sweater or pair of boots that make you feel like you’re on top of the world when you wear them you should try to incorporate them into your session. Just like how if you’re uncomfortable it shows in your photos, the same is true if you’re feeling CONFIDENT in your outfit. Wearing clothes that you’re both comfortable and confident in will make your session so much more fun and make your photos turn out even better.
The next thing to consider when choosing what to wear for your engagement session is the weather you’ll have to work with. This plays in HUGELY with your comfort level as well. The time of year and location of your session will determine the weather you’ll have to deal with so plan accordingly and make sure to watch the weather closely in the weeks leading up to your session. I have Pinterest boards for Spring/Summer outfits and Fall/Winter outfits for you to reference as you read along!
If you’ve got a favorite sweater or pair of jeans that you look amazing in, a Fall session may be the way to go for you. If your session is in the Midwest you may need to bundle up more for a fall session as temperatures fluctuate a bit. Typically though, Fall is a great time for a session as it’s not too hot or too cold. Plus the leaves changing color can add some amazing colors to work into your session. Be prepared to wear some extra layers for your session or at least between photos in case you end up with a colder day.
If you’re in a western state, this is prime time for photos as the temperatures are a little more on the mild side and a bit more predictable than springtime weather. Make sure to check the average temperatures of the state you decide to have your session in before booking to be sure you’re scheduling your session at the best time.
When deciding on what to wear for an engagement session in the spring you’ll want to prepare for a bit of variety similar to the fall. The weather can vary greatly so similar to the fall you’ll want some layers in case it’s on the colder side or if you happen to get some rain during your session. Your shoe choice is very important for a spring session since you’ll likely be dealing with some rain, whether it’s the day of or before your session. Wear or bring along some shoes that you’re not scared to get wet and can handle the mud if you’re session location will have you doing some hiking.
Summertime in the midwest is the safest when it comes to the weather that you’ll be dealing with, but has some of the least flexibility with options. Typically you’re not going to be able to wear any warmer clothes for your session without sweating up a storm. Having your session at sunrise or sunset can help with keeping things a little cooler for part of your session, while it’s up though you’ll want to wear light airy clothes to keep you from overheating.
When choosing what to wear for your engagement session in the summer, it’s important that you’re checking the weather regularly so that you can be prepared with some cute summer layers, an umbrella, or whatever you need to be comfortable the day of!
Summer for most desert states however can be on the more challenging side in terms of temperatures. If having your session over the summer is a MUST in a desert state, you’ll want to plan to stay up fairly early or have your session late in the evening.
Winter sessions are beautiful, but some of the most challenging due to the cold temperatures you’ll have to deal with, especially in the midwest. Layers are super important here. Even if you don’t want to wear extra layers during your session, wearing them between photos is a must to keep you comfortable throughout your session. Your shoe choice is also extremely important here as your feet will be getting cold first. Wearing warmer shoes or wool socks for your session is something I highly recommend.
When planning what to wear for your winter engagement session in a western state, temperatures will be on the cooler side. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on the weather as there is a WIDE variety of winter weather amongst western states.
So my first piece of advice for you when deciding what to wear for your engagement session is not to overthink it. I would much rather you two pull outfits from clothes that you have in your closet right now. Sweaters that you love so much that they spend more time on your body than on a hanger and your favorite pair of jeans that have gone on endless adventures. Like I mentioned earlier, being comfortable and confident in what you wear to your session will leave you feeling and looking great for your photos.
For feminine looks the first thing I like to recommend wearing is timeless and classic clothing for your session. Try to avoid clothing that’s trendy at the time as you may look back at your photos in a couple years and think “I can’t believe I used to wear that!” Layering and accessories your friends that will help give you some variety for your outfit. I love to recommend some loose fit clothing as well as the movement will create more visual interest and is a TON of fun to work with!
For more masculine looks, solid colors and more form fitting clothes will be your best friends. Layering and accessories can be fun to add as well, similar to the more feminine looks you’ll want to avoid trendy clothing so your photos don’t look dated in just a couple of years.
When choosing your colors you’ll both want to wear some clothing that goes together and compliments one another, but doesn’t match. Matching colors can make it look like you’re morphing together in your photos, so choose different colors that look good together. Neutrals and more muted colors are the way to go, unless loud and colorful clothes are really your style they typically take attention away from you in your photos. For finding colors that go well together I’ll reference Pinterest for some color palette ideas to help get the ball rolling.
When deciding on what to wear for your session you may think about wearing some patterned clothes. You have to be very careful with patterns as they can make or break a session. Too many patterns or an extreme/attention-grabbing pattern will draw attention away from you. Stick with a simple pattern for one partner while the other wears a solid and neutral complementary color. Lastly, if you plan to wear any plaid for your session I recommend only one piece of clothing being plaid. Often the different plaid patterns will clash and overwhelm your photos so it’s best to avoid too much!
As your photographer I’m not only here to take your photographs but also to help you through the entire process so that you end up with photos that you love and can look back on for years. When deciding what to wear, if you’re stuck or unsure, or if styling outfits really isn’t your thing do not hesitate to ask for some help. As photographer’s we photograph so many couples, we know what does and does not work in front of the camera. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. And even if you know that what you’re wearing will look good I’d still like to see and hype you up before our session!
Lastly, after you decide on what to wear for your session you should prepare everything so you’re ready to go once the day arrives. This means breaking in any new clothes you have that you’ll be wearing, monitoring the weather as your day approaches, and laying out your outfit or hanging it in your car the day before.
When it comes to cosmetic aspects of your outfit such as shaving, getting your eyebrows done, or getting your hair cut, you’ll want to do many of these at least a couple of days in advance. Haircuts and colors along with eyebrows should be done at LEAST a week in advance and by someone you’ve used at least once before. Shaving should be done at least 24 hours prior to make sure your skin has time to settle, and if you’re getting your hair or eyebrows colored, aim for closer to 10 days prior to your session so you have time to problem solve if things go awry!
As you can see there are a lot of things to keep in mind when choosing what you should wear for your engagement session. Always keep your comfort as your main priority though, you and your photos will thank you for it trust me! Check out my blog page for more session and wedding tips, and if you’re in need of a photographer for your session or wedding submit an inquiry through my contact page. I’d love to get to know you and plan out a session together!