We always say the wedding planning feels even more *real* when you finally get to your engagement session.
It’s the season of love.
The moment when you get to capture all of the years together that are leading up to your wedding day.
But let’s face it… professional photos can feel intimidating. Your engagement session is often the first time you’ve been in front of a professional photographer as a couple. And every photographer works in different ways.
So, understandably, there can be a little stress around your engagement session and how you will look.
However, if there’s one thing to know to ease your minds… it’s that we LOVE engagement sessions.
Engagement photos are great for a few reasons:
While planning your engagement session there’s really only two things to think about — where you’re going to do them and how you’re going to look. We’ll take care of the posing and put you in the most beautiful light!
When it comes to what to wear for your engagement photos, it’s really going to depend on the couple. However, there are a few things to be mindful of so you and your fiancé are coordinating without being too distracting or matchy-matchy.
This engagement session outfit guide is here for you! You’ll find our best recommendations on what to wear, things we suggest avoiding, some of our favorite online stores and a few other tips to make the whole process a little easier.
So, let’s get started!
First thing: be yourself. Don’t try to wear something you’ll feel uncomfortable in, it will show on camera. But that’s not to say you can’t wear all the sequence and pull out your favorite tie, if that’s you! Whether you’re aiming for a more casual look or enjoy the occasional dressing up, we want you to feel like yourself and feel good during our time together.
When thinking about colors and how you two will look together, we recommend choosing outfits that aren’t too distracting that will take away from you! Because of this, we generally recommend selecting lighter colors and muted shades.
Brighter and bold colors like reds, neons, hot pinks, etc. can sometimes become the focal point and be a distraction in the image. That being said, it’s NOT a rule — especially for the bold, color-loving and extra type (you know who you are, and we love you)!
Whether you’re choosing more traditional muted tones or after that hot pink sequence mini dress, the ultimate “rule” that we DO recommend is trying to keep within the same color family:
Feeling stuck on colors? When it doubt, mix in some white pieces like a white dress for our ladies and a white shirt under a jacket for guys. Neutral footwear like nude heels for ladies and brown shoes for guys is always an easy go-to that can go with almost any color scheme.
Something to know: with our style of photography, yellows give us the most issues when editing and will end up looking more muted than in real life. We suggest avoiding them.
Focus on coordinating, complementing, and/or contrasting with each other, not matching. Think balance/darks and lights:
Patterns are another thing that can be distracting away from you in a photo. When it comes to patterns, less is more. Here’s a few things to note:
Our time together feels like it can disappear very quickly while we get lost in your love. So, making the most of the time you’ve given us outside of the restroom changing (or the backseat of a car) is important to us. Our photography style relies heavily on lighting at very specific times of the day (I’m sure you’ve heard of “golden hour”) so we try to be mindful of where we are and when, especially when multiple locations are involved.
One thing we like to mention is that you can always play with accessories to change it up a bit with hats, jackets, a fun pair of sunglasses, etc. that you can easily take on and off.
Can’t decide between going formal or keeping it cazh? When choosing two outfits, it can give you two different looks. One option can be cute and casual with jeans like you’re on a fun date night and the second option can be more formal (think sport jacket and flowy maxi dress). However, if you’re only wanting to go with one outfit option, we suggest going with the more formal option. It will make this time in your lives feel as special as the both of you are!
Think comfort but also something you’d wear going out for a date night at a wine bar or happy hour with the girls.
As mentioned above, if you’re only wanting to go with one outfit, go with the formal option. Your engagement photos are once-in-a-lifetime and they capture a special time in your lives — we want you to feel special in them!
You’re engaged (yay!) but only for a short season! Take advantage of all of the parties and white dresses you can wear for that extra bridal touch!
We encourage our ladies to wear white for one outfit but it’s definitely not required! Most importantly, we’ll just say it again, we just want you to feel and look comfortable in whatever outfit, color scheme and location you choose.
As mentioned above, incorporating smaller pieces and accessorizing with a hat, jacket, cardigan, a blanket for the beach or a fun pair of sunglasses can make for an easy visual change for variety.
Personally, we feel like having variety is more of a photographer’s want than our couples ever request so don’t sweat it if you don’t want to have these pieces! However, from a photographer’s perspective, having these items work similar to “props” and can give us some different poses to work with!
We love the opportunity any time we get to tell the story of your relationship through photos. Bring a bottle of champagne to pop with some flutes, your favorite beer, matching hats, etc.
Also, when it comes to accessories, like jewelry, less is more! In the famous words of Coco Chanel, “When putting on accessories, take off the last thing you’ve put on.” YOU (and your fiancé) are the focus and extra pieces can be distracting.
A trendy bridal staple right now is a fun pair of bride earrings that you can have for all of your showers and parties! We can put them on for a few photos and swap them into something more traditional, if you’d like!
We want you to come into your engagement session feeling prepared. Here are a few other things we’d love to pass along to help things go as smooth as possible!
When choosing to go with two outfits, we typically also choose two locations. And because we live in a coastal area, we have lots of options to work with! Begin thinking about places that are special to you and/or that you visually like.
Typically, we love when we can shoot your more formal look in a downtown area for classy city vibes. Then, head to the beach or pier for a more casual look. Our casual looks tend to have some sort of sitting, if possible, which is just generally easier in pants vs. a dress. However, this is NOT a rule! We love when we can go for a sexy/steamy session (especially at the beach) and a maxi with a long slit is perfect for that! It really works both ways so, again, no rules!
Whew! We know that’s a lot of information! Take a breath and talk it over with your fiancé on vision you’re both wanting for your engagement photos. You’re going to cherish them for a lifetime!
We always love sharing the story of our engagement photos and how special we felt that night! We made a whole date out of it, went to dinner, drank a bunch of wine on a Tuesday. It was one of our most special memories! Just enjoy this time, together!
As always, if you have questions about what to wear for your engagement photos, send us a message and we can walk you through it all!
If you’re really stuck on outfits, Pinterest can be a great resource for inspiration! Just simply type “engagement outfit inspiration” into the search and you’ll have endless ideas in just a few scrolls!
Can’t wait to celebrate you soon!
XOXO, The Johnsons
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