When choosing colors for your outfits, it is recommended to select lighter tones and more muted shades. 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, and especially the city architecture.
DRESS IT UP
Because You’ve Been Waiting Your Whole Life For This…
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 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!
There’s No Such Thing As Too Dressed Up
Long, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like a garden, forest, 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 very many pantsuits! It is recommended that you avoid pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress or two!
Every woman, regardless of her shape, has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about. 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.
Quick Tip: Bring a pair of flats to wear when moving from place to place. Your feet will thank you later!
Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images. Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings can bring a lot of pop to the photos. Belts not only bring great visual interest, but can also add a slimming effect to flatter your silhouette! Fresh florals in a crown or bouquet can be a really romantic touch as well.
Professional hair and makeup is on most brides’ checklists because it looks amazing and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. From lash extensions to blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light I’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera. Most brides feel like their makeup is “too much” at first, since it’s more than you would wear on a normal day, especially when it comes to false lashes, so if you feel that way at the beginning, don’t worry! Good makeup artists know how to get it just right for the camera!
A LITTLE EXTRA POLISH
Don’t forget, your ring will be center stage, so give yourself permission to get it cleaned and your nails done, too!
SKIP THE SPRAY TAN
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully and naturally.
AS LONG AS HE’S GOT THAT SUIT AND TIE
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 complement to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye.
Many grooms love to mix a suit coat, blazer, or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and can be more fun than wearing two full suits in a row. I’m a huge fan of this fresh take on a timeless classic.
Next time you walk by a store like J. Crew, you’ll notice the male mannequins and models are always wearing several layers at once. Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust us when we say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!
Long pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on the face you fell in love with. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too. Suit pants, dress pants or colored pants work best, especially when paired with closed-toe shoes. Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit or a blazer and colored pants.
Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp complements to any suit. If you bring two suits to the session, you can start with a traditional necktie and belt, then switch to suspenders and a bow tie for your second look. If two suits are too stressful, no problem! One look will do the trick! You can still mix and match accessories to complement both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, you win.
As you’re coordinating your outfit with your fiancé’s, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palettes coordinate, but don’t 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 brides choose their dress first, and then put together their fiance’s outfit based on that.
Want your engagement images to look more editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! A freshly-picked bouquet for you to hold, or fresh flowers to put on something else, like a picnic basket, is a fun way bring a little extra romance to everyday objects. Whether it’s larger items like classic cars, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, could be a fun way to make your session more unique. Bringing a bottle of champagne can be fun to capture, but also a great way to let loose during the shoot!
Don’t forget to plan a dinner date! You’re already going to be all dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? I know the wedding planning process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together. You deserve it!
All of this information is definitely a lot to think about. This guide was created to help make your engagement session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future marriage is the most important thing, and I want your engagement session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. I’ll take care of the rest!
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