On almost every portrait session I’ve ever shot whether it’s an engagement session downtown, in the mountains, family sessions, seniors…you name it and you can bet I’ve been asked “what should I wear.” So I created this guide with 8 easy practical tips as a way to help alleviate some of the stress and ensure that you look your best in every photo!
Now before we get into it, the bulk of this is for ladies who will be choosing clothes for everyone (because let’s be real, most guys don’t know what looks good and what doesn’t.) So with that in mind, here are a few preliminary tips for the guys:
If you’re going to wear jeans, the darker the better.
A gentleman always wears a button-down shirt.
Your shoes and belt should match.
Unless it’s 100 degrees bring a blazer, it gives you options and makes you look like you own a Ferrari.
Iron your shirt and slacks.
Please don’t wear white socks with dark pants. On the note of footwear -no sandals unless we’re at the beach.
Hats should be left at home or in the car.
And lastly, remember to get a haircut a few days before so you won’t have that bit of hair on the back of your neck.
Now, on to the main event…
1. Be comfortable. If your clothes are too far outside your level of comfort you’ll look awkward and won’t be able to focus on each other. If jean’s and a T-shirt are your go-to, then find something closer to that style. But be sure to match the outfit to your shoot location. (A T-shirt would look really out of place in a hotel lobby or elegant space.)
2. Complimentary colors look better than flat out matching.
When deciding on outfits for your session, look for complementary colors and solid prints (no sailboat print shorts!) Try to stay away from anything too busy, it can be a distraction in the photos.
Check out this super informative blog on Ivy and Pearl to learn more about how to pair your outfits.
3. Choose pastels, cool colors, and neutral tones and avoid being too bright! Bright colors like orange and yellow are not only unflattering in photos, but they distract from your faces and often clash with the background colors. Try to stick with pastels, cool and neutral tones as much as possible but feel free to add in bright accessories or jewelry.
4. Try to create a timeless look and stay away from fads. I grew up in the 90’s so I know a thing or two about poor clothing choices. So let’s leave the track suit at home for this one.
5. Bring accessories to swap out with your outfits! A necklace or bracelet can change the look of an outfit for ladies and are easy to slip on and off to create variety in the album.
6. Keep it simple by sticking to no more than two outfits. It’s better to focus on each other and have genuine emotion and expressions in your photos than to have 7 different shirts with the same pose and smile.
7. Clothing looks best when it fits properly. Knowing your body type and choosing styles that accentuate your assets is the first step to designing a successful outfit. If you’re unsure, check out the descriptions below to see which look works best for you.
Pear-Shaped: To show off your curves, cinch the waist with an A-line silhouette that flares at the bottom.
Apple-Shaped: An A-line style with a gradual flow from the waist to the legs is always flattering. This shape is also great for a dress with texture and/or a deep V-neck.
Busty: Scoop and sweetheart necklines offer support and move the focus to the face rather than the bust.
Small Chest: Look for textured styles to create fullness in the chest area.
Plus Size: Engagement photos featuring an empire-waist dress are the go-to move. They’re super flattering and emphasize the smallest portion under the bust, creating the effect of a slender silhouette from top to bottom.
8. Think about the season and weather. Short sleeves and flip flops don’t work for Winter engagements (or really any engagement, just don’t do it), while scarves and flannel would be miserable in the Summer.
-Bundle up with lots of layers for Fall and Winter sessions. These cold weather accessories make for outstanding looks and are easily interchangeable to create versatility!
-For Spring and Summer, channel beach vibes by wearing a sundress and statement necklace (sorry guys, you’ll always need to wear pants!)
So now you have all the tools you need to create the perfect outfits for your engagement session. Be sure to plan ahead and put your own personalities into it! If you want to wear Hogwarts robes and have an epic wizarding battle for your engagement, we’ll rock that out too!