Why does an engagement session matter? Your engagement photos will likely be some of the first professional photos that you take with your partner to share with the world (and generally are included with your Save the Dates!). An engagement session is also often the best way to get to know the photographer who is going to be working with you on your big day (as most wedding packages will include an engagement session). While you might think that part of it doesn't matter, trust me, it absolutely does! Working with the same photographer for your engagement session that you're hiring for your wedding day will allow you to get to know the person behind the lens, their personality, and how they capture photos. Every photographer does this slightly differently, and it's really important that you click with your photographer- after all, they will be your paparazzi for potentially 8-12 hours of one of the most important days of your life!
Choosing a photographer to start with can be stressful, after all, there are a lot of options out there, but that's not what this post is about; this is about the next highest stressor for my couples- what the heck do I wear!? Every photographer is different in terms of the amount of outfits that they would recommend for an engagement session, but my greatest piece of advice to my couples is to stick to 2-3 outfits for a session. This ensures that the flow of your engagement session isn't compromised by too many outfit changes, but also that your session is focused on your connection as a couple rather than the clothes that you're wearing.
outfits- base them on your personality!
If you're not used to wearing a piece of clothing and it makes you uncomfortable in general, this can definitely come across in your pictures. If you're not comfortable and don't typically wear dresses, then don't wear a dress to your engagement session! Choose clothing that fits your personality and is comfortable to you- but elevate it- what that means is that if you're thinking of wearing jeans and a top, think about buying a dressier top and accessorizing it with a leather jacket or some beautiful classic jewelry. If someone described your personality- how would they describe you in three words? This is often a great place to start in building your look for your engagement session!
Below are some ideas and suggestions for clothing items based off of personality traits descriptions that I would recommend you check out for your session:
ClassiC and natural
eclectic and creative
Adventurous and edgy
Casual and comfortable
romantic and feminine
Complementary button downs, shoes, and jackets
some additional things to keep in mind for your session
Your Body Type
There are a lot of articles/blogs out there that share some great information relating to dressing for your body type- if you're not sure what clothes look best on your body type, go ahead and do some research in advance of purchasing any clothing for your session so you're not stuck in an endless buy and return cycle like I often end up stuck in! One helpful article is: https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/right-clothes-for-body-type/
Avoid baggy clothing when possible- anything that hangs off of your body will make you look larger than you are and can look messy on camera. Properly fitted clothes are the best and may even warrant a trip to the tailor if you're worried about the fit of a garment.
how do i make sure i coordinate with my partner?
The best advice I can provide for making sure that you really pop on camera is to choose solid colors that don't distract from you and your partner. Wearing solid and simple patterns ensures that the eye isn't pulled away from your connection to your clothing- avoid small and complex patterns and stripes as much as possible. Typically, solid dark or light colors (depending on the engagement session location) are the most complementary for your engagement session.
Make sure to also coordinate your level of style. What this means is that your partner should match the overall "feel" and level of dress as what you're planning on wearing- it would look a little weird if you were wearing a dress and your partner were wearing a sweatshirt and jeans for example.
Combinations of Clothing colors
The following information on color combinations and what colors complement each other best in clothing comes from Brightside (https://brightside.me/article/the-ultimate-color-combinations-cheat-sheet-92405/), a wonderful resource that provides information on color combinations and complementary colors on the color wheel:
- White: combines with everything, especially blue, red and black.
- Beige: combines with blue, brown, emerald, black, red, white.
- Gray: combines with fuchsia, red, violet, pink, blue.
- Pink: combines with brown, white, mint green, olive, gray, turquoise, light blue.
- Fuchsia (dark pink): combines with gray, yellow-brown, lime, mint green, brown.
- Red: combines with yellow, white, green, blue, black.
- Tomato-red: combines with cyan, mint green, sand, creamy-white, gray.
- Cherry-red: combines with azure, gray, light-orange, sandy, pale-yellow, beige.
- Raspberry-red: combines with white, black, damask rose.
- Brown: combines with bright-cyan, cream, pink, fawn, green, beige.
- Dark-brown: combines with lime-yellow, cyan, mint green, purple-pink, lime.
- Orange: combines with cyan, blue, lilac, violet, white, black.
- Light-orange: combines with gray, brown, olive.
- Dark-orange: combines with pale-yellow, olive, brown, cherry.
- Yellow: combines with blue, lilac, light-cyan, violet, gray, black.
- Pale-yellow: combines with fuchsia, gray, brown, shades of red, yellowish brown, blue, purple.
- Olive: combines with orange, light-brown, brown.
- Green: combines with golden-brown, orange, salad green, yellow, brown, gray, cream, black, creamy-white.
- Turquoise: combines with fuchsia, cherry-red, yellow, brown, cream, dark-violet.
- Electric colors: combines with golden-yellow, brown, light brown, gray, or silver.
- Cyan: combines with red, gray, brown, orange, pink, white, yellow.
- Dark-blue: combines with light-lilac, cyan, yellowish-green, brown, gray, pale-yellow, orange, green, red, white.
- Lilac: combines with orange, pink, dark-violet, olive, gray, yellow, white.
- Dark-violet: combines with golden-brown, pale-yellow, gray, turquoise, mint green, light-orange.
- Black is a universal color - it looks elegant in any combination, especially with orange, pink, salad green, white, red, mauvish, or yellow.
Makeup and hair
If you're not confident in doing your own hair and makeup for engagement photos, have you thought about scheduling your hair and makeup artist (HMUA) trial for your wedding for the day of your engagement pictures? If not, this is something I would suggest! Just make sure to leave yourself enough time that if you weren't to like the look that HMUA does that you would be able to change it and fix what you'd like. Another option which is great is going to a makeup store and scheduling an appointment with a professional to speak with them about what will pop the most on camera and what products will be best for you- one thing that professionals know is that for photo sessions, you do need to go slightly heavier on your makeup to have it come across well in images.
Some tips for makeup:
- Stay away from glitter, shine, and shimmer (with a few exceptions)! Unless you really know what you're doing in applying eyeshadows, shimmer blushes, etc. it's very easy for those types of products to come across as looking oily, spotty, or shiny in images. To capture that flawless skin look, stick with matte products that will keep your skin looking clean and clear.
- Try to always use a setting powder or spray to ensure that your matte look stays that way for your whole session. This is incredibly important in the summer when things get humid!
- Heavier/brighter makeup on your eyes, cheeks, and lips may feel weird, but it's going to look amazing! While you may not be comfortable going out in heavier makeup during your every day life, really punching up your look will come across better in photos. Makeup can look more toned down in photos so it's important to remember to go just lightly heavier/more colorful than you normally would. Again, if you're not comfortable with this, think about consulting a professional to make sure that your makeup is perfect for your session! Fake eyelashes are also something to think about- whether it's magnetic lashes, glued on lashes, or even lash extensions, adding in some fake eyelashes can really elevate your overall look.