What to Wear for Engagement Photos

This is the question we are asked most often by couples planning their sessions – what to wear for engagement photos?

Your wardrobe plays a really big role in your photos. Everyone has their own personal style, but there are a few things that look better in photos that others. We strive to take photos that will remain classic decades down the road. If you look at photos of Gene Kelly, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn and other stars from the 40s and 50s, they still look great today, and there’s a good reason for that.

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CLASSIC IS KEY

As a starter, please leave anything with logos at home. When planning your outfit, anything too ‘on-trend’ will immediately date your photos (I’m looking at you, infinity scarf + tutu + fur vest + statement necklace combo). As will anything too casual or utilitarian. This is something we see a lot in colder weather sessions. The outfits the couple wears is great, but the jackets are puffy North Face parkas in an odd colour or silhouette – make sure the WHOLE outfit works.

Casual outfits are great, and can be really photogenic too!  If you’re not keen on dressing up, think about a casual outfit you love, but add a few photo-friendly accessories.  Whether it be a wide brim hat (to go with a plain white, fitted tee + black jeans), or some colourful shoes (to go with your dark denim skinny jeans and trench), a little extra effort goes a long way.  The only rule with a casual look is proper fit.  Make sure the clothing you choose fits you and your partner well, without too many folds, wrinkles or unnecessary bagginess.  For something a bit more casual, check out this Sandbanks Engagement session from last summer.

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STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Instead of looking at Pinterest and current fashion bloggers, look at old movie stars – if their outfits from the 40s and 50s could still pass today, you’ve got yourself a winning choice. Keep in mind that stepping out of your comfort zone, even just a bit, will help you get out of your day-to-day self and into a zone where you can feel comfortable enough to play a bit more to the camera. It may sound like a contradiction, but it works!

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DON’T FORGET YOUR GROOM

Once you figure out the style, the next most important thing is fit. Clothes that fit and fit well, can be the difference in having photos that look ‘OK’, and photos that look ‘Gah! Amazing!’ In this respect, gents can sometimes be forgotten, and wear their dated boot-leg jeans and some plain sweater their mom got them for Christmas. We urge you not to overlook your man. Make sure his pants fit his body type (not too long, loose or baggy). Make sure his shirt is tucked in (if he’s wearing a button up). Make sure he gets a hair-cut and trims facial hair accordingly. We love juxtaposition. If he has longer, scruffier hair, put him in something more formal. If he’s really clean cut, a more casual, James Dean style look would fit perfectly. This is where you can really play dress-up with your guy. Feel like having photos with James Bond’s illegitimate half-brother? Go for it.

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FABRICS THAT FLOW IN THE WIND

A lot of our sessions are based on movement. We don’t want the photos to feel too static or posed. In order to achieve that, we use the wind, and fabrics or hair flowing through it to evoke that dreamy sense. As such, for ladies we recommend choosing items that have volume or a strong silhouette. If your outfit is more fitted, wear your hair down so it can blow in the breeze. If you prefer fitted clothing, go for something dramatic in silhouette (extra long and form-fitting), or a bold pattern or a monochromatic theme. We don’t want you to look boring or too ‘everyday’. Drama and romance is what we’re after here.

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For inspiration, check out our pinboard with outfit ideas here: https://www.pinterest.com/JoelandJustyna/engagement-outfits/

Great outfits for photos are fitted properly, in a bold colour, and play with a bit of juxtaposing. We love messier hair in a ballgown or perfect chignons and bold make up with casual jeans and a tee. Something unexpected with flow or volume makes for the type of photos you see on our site.

If you’re only going to remember a few things from this post, keep the following rules in mind:

  • Don’t ignore your groom – ensure he has a fresh haircut, or has his hair properly styled. If he has facial hair, make sure it’s properly groomed – unruly neck hair on an untrimmed beard does not translate well in photos.
  • Pop of colour and dramatic silhouettes work best
  • Classic is key – leave logos, utilitarian clothing (parkas and hiking gear) and over the top trendy pieces at home.

For our full engagement session guide, send us an email, and we’d be happy to share the rest of our tips with you.  To see a few of our favourite engagement sessions, take a look at this Scarborough Bluffs Session, this at-home Manhattan Beach engagement session and this Wakefield, Quebec Houseboat engagement.  Take these points with a grain of salt, and happy planning!

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  • Braden said:

    Some good advice here, dress nice and have fun.