WHAT TO WEAR GUIDE
Here we are, it’s time to plan out your engagement session! I know from personal experience that choosing the outfits can be the hardest part of this process, so I’m here to help you! I hope this guide helps you pick out the best outfits that will create really dynamic images that you’ll love to display around your home. If you’re still lost by the end of this, please reach out before your session! You are always welcome to send me photos of outfits you’re considering and I can help you decide. Take a deep breath, and LET’S DIVE IN.
WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT?
At the end of the day, the absolute most important part of your engagement photos (and where the focus should be!) is your cute faces and your connection together. Any outfit that you bring shouldn’t detract from that overall goal of letting you guys shine and be the most important part. They should enhance and flatter you, and draw the eye right to your faces. Clothing should also be chosen based on the location so as to match the overall vibe and coloring of where we are going.
When in doubt… a black or white plain dress for her, and some neutral chino pants and button up for him is always a good go to! Do not overthink outfits, they are not the most important piece of this session - you are!
Most couples choose to wear two outfits - usually one more casual and one more dressy. OPTIONS are a GOOD THING… so if you aren’t sure what to bring, bring a few options and I can help you! Sometimes you get to a location and you end up liking certain colors or textures way better than what you originally thought. If you can be quick changers, we can also make time to do a third outfit. Just plan on wearing undershirts or spanx that will make the changing process faster!
The image on the left is a bit of a color rule breaker, but it really works because the background is so simple and neutral. It really pops and draws your eye right to the cute couple. I also love how it screams happiness and summer time, especially with the bare feet and the water splashing.
The couple on the right wore very basic jeans and solid colored button ups in colors that really compliment the desert scene. The blue in her denim pulls in the mountains, and his neutral pants and shirt blend in with the ground and bushes. They look classy and well put together, without being over the top. I think the first think you notice here are their faces and how happy they look. That’s the goal!
Soft, neutral and earthy tones are usually best to pick for your outfits because they won't distract from the location or the two of you.There is a neutral for basically every color - think sage green, navy blue, mustard yellow, copper orange, burgundy red, pale pink, etc. If you don’t want to overthink the colors, you can’t ever go wrong with wearing the basic neutrals : black, cream, white or tans.
If you love color (like I do!) and want to play around a bit with it, think about the location we are shooting at and pull colors based around that. You want to be intentional with your color choice and look like you belong in the scene! In this image, the couple is sitting in a field of orange wildflowers, so her bright dress pops out of it, but also looks like it belongs in there. It’s also complimented by his olive green shirt which matches the stems.
Stay away from super bright, neon colors and look for softer shades of color. These colors will really help to compliment your skin tones and the background!
Solids and small, delicate patterns look best! These will help make sure you don’t draw all the attention to your clothes. BIG patterns will make you look big… and most people don’t want that! :) Subtle prints add dimension and interest without being overbearing.
Don't be afraid to play with simple, small patterns. I know those pretty floral print maxis are big right now, but if it's a BIG, BOLD pattern, it probably isn't the best. We want to see YOU first, not your outfits.
Macey’s floral printed dress was adorable and worked perfectly for their photos - it had a cute print without being too big and bold. I loved it best against a “solid” looking background though. If she had worn this in a location with tons of small rocks and detailing in the background, it would’ve been way too busy and your eye wouldn’t know where to look. If you want to play with a more bold pattern like this, we will want to stick with more simple backgrounds.
I LOVE when people bring clothing that shows movement in photos by catching wind - a beautiful light, flowy material dress is seriously unbeatable for photos. You should also be able to comfortably MOVE during the session - don't wear something that is so tight or short that you're going to be stuck in one spot, or constantly pulling it down and adjusting it. We move and play a lot during engagement sessions, so make sure you can do that! The SHOES you wear should also allow easy walking and movement.
This dress was everything and more for Kylie & Kevin’s Sedona Engagement Session. I loved how the color melted into the background (while still popping out of it!), they stuck with solids since the background had a lot of detailing, and there was tons of flowy material to play with and get some dynamic movement. We had so much fun with this dress!
I think this image would’ve gone next level if we had put him in a light tan chino style pant, and a solid white button up. I think his black suit is a little bit harsh feeling next to the rest of the colors, but it still looks great and I loved how it turned out.
LOCATION & SEASON
We’ve already mentioned this a few times, but the location should play a big role in what will look best with your outfits. If the background is going to be busy with lots of trees, boulders, etc - then you'll want to choose something more simple that will help you pop out of the background. If we're shooting on a simple concrete grey wall, or the beach, or sand dunes, then you could play up the colors and patterns a bit more to stand out in a plain background.
Keep the season in mind as well and obviously dress accordingly - I've done swimsuits around the lake in summer, and I've done heavier jackets, beanies and boots in the winter in snow. Trying to wear a short sleeve dress when it’s freezing out is just going to make you look cold. Make sure your clothing will be comfortable in the temperature of the season.
I loved this couples choice of wearing swimsuits for their anniversary session, it was so playful and offered the opportunity to cool down a bit in our Arizona summer! Again, the background is really simple so Macey’s animal print suit looks great and fun!
Here’s a ton more photos of sessions that I absolutely loved their outfit choices! These outfits followed the four main rules above and it really helped with enhancing the backgrounds and leaving the focus onto the couple, our whole goal!
Chalk boards and Giant Letters of your new last name were super popular about 5 years ago thanks to Pinterest…. but if we’re all being honest they make everyone feel cringy now. Please leave these at home and save them for your decorations at the wedding! Feel free to bring some natural props to use at your session - I love a good blanket with texture and a neutral color to compliment your outfits. We can use this to sit or lay down on, and cuddle up with if it’s cold. I've had some couples bring wine or champagne, smoke bombs, a special car, instruments, pizza picnics... etc. Don't feel any pressure to bring anything, but I love to infuse items that will make the session feel more like you if there's something that comes to mind! Josh & Brittany chose to bring an American Flag to their Horseshoe Bend Engagement session because Josh is in the military and it plays a large part in their lives and relationship. This image means a lot to them and really helped infuse a bit of who they were at this time in their lives.
Pets &/or Children are always welcome to come along! I love making the session all about you guys, and including your fur babies or real babies can sometimes be the best way to do that. IF you plan on doing this, make sure you let me know ahead of time so I can be prepared, and BRING SOMEONE along that can take care of them while we are focusing on the two of you. DON’T FORGET water/snacks/toys to keep them occupied and happy without you. Leaving your dog in the car for the first half of the session is NOT a good plan. We usually are doing some walking away from the parking lot and your vehicle will not be in view the whole time, plus it gets super hot in a car in Arizona… just bring an extra set of hands to help!
Layers such as jackets, hats, sweaters, jewelry, etc add a lot to your session so it's always a good idea to bring some of that as well to mix things up.
For the love of everything…. please stop wearing 5 inch heels that you can’t walk in to your engagement session. If you’re on top of a mountain, think about what kind of shoe you’d be naturally wearing there and go with something that at least somewhat belongs in the environment! You wouldn’t run around the desert in stilleto heels, and it’s going to look weird (and be next to impossible) if you try and fake it for the photos. Being able to walk around and move comfortably is probably the most important part about your outfit. If you’re in pain, it’s going to show on your face. So PLEASE - go for comfortable shoes that allow you to move. If you MUST wear heels, go for a wedge or bootie that’s super comfortable and easy to walk in. Make sure they are easy to take on and off quickly, and bring a second pair of shoes to walk around in if needed. You'll thank me later!
IN HOME SESSIONS
If we’re doing your session at home, we definitely want the vibe to be relaxed and cozy - just like you would look if you really were just hanging out around your house. I loved all of these jean and solid colored tee shirts shown below. It looks cozy, comfy and intimate. It would also be really cute to go even more casual with sweat pants and cozy pjs! The simpler the better, so we can really show off your home and the memories you have there.
EXTRA TIPS & TRICKS
The number one most important thing is that you are both in good, happy moods and feeling a little extra lovey with each other during the session. Plan a fun date the night before, or spend a little extra time cuddling the morning of the session. Get that quality time in with each other!
Try to RELAX the day of and plan plenty of time to get ready. The last thing you need is to be frazzled, running around trying to hurry and get into an argument on the way to the session. It's happened, and it doesn't make for a super affectionate session!
Bring some water bottles, and eat before you come. No one likes to cuddle when they are hangry!
I'll be getting some close up shots showing off your new blingy ring, so make sure your nails are looking nice and not chipped.
Hiring a hair and makeup artist can make a huge difference in photos! I recommend Sarah with Sarah Stidham Beauty, because she does an amazing job at keeping you natural while still amping up your look for photos. Overall, I want you to feel like YOU, but also kind of like Beyonce. Don't get your makeup done if you're going to feel like a clown because you never wear makeup, but if you enjoy getting a little more glammed up, then go for it! Let me know if you need other referrals.
THAT’S ALL FOR NOW!
Please let me know if you need any more help!