What Should We Wear for Our Engagement Session?

engagement session outfit ideas

It is, by far, one of the most common questions I hear from both clients and friends, so I thought I'd put together a few tips and suggestions to help you prepare for a photo shoot.  These tips can apply to any kind of photo session - families, senior portraits, maternity, etc. - not just engagements!


Madonna's advice extends beyond just the music.  You and your Love take center stage in the photos so your clothing should be used to further express who you are.  If your favorite color is purple, then wear purple!  If you have a pair of boots you absolutely love, then by all means wear them!  But please don't dress up for the photos just because you feel you "have to."  You don't "have to" do anything other than be yourself!

engagement session outfit tips


Say it like Lady Gaga - "Layers, layers, layers, I want your layers."  Layers can be your very best friend, especially in an outdoor photo session.  Sweaters, jackets, boots, tights, scarves - layering pieces that are easy to remove / add on make it easy to deal with whatever weather Mother Nature may throw your way (especially in San Francisco!) and add versatility and variety to your shots.  Can you tell I like layers?

engagement session outfit tips


Rachel Zoe gave us this little gem once upon a time on The Rachel Zoe Project.  For some reason, The Husband really snatched that tidbit up and repeats it any time he's putting together a nice outfit.  It's a good one to remember for photo sessions, too.  You and your fiance don't have to wear outfits that match, you just have to make sense together.  Rather than trying to find shirts in the exact same shade of blue, experiment with complementary colors, neutrals, or different hues within a single color family.  Alternatively, if one of you really wants to go casual and the other really wants to dress up, plan for a wardrobe change to accommodate both!

engagement session outfit tips

4 | WHILE YOU'RE SAYING YES TO THE DRESS, SAY YES TO COLOR, TOO (but say No to loud patterns and logos)

Remember when I said you and your Love are the stars of the show?  Well, I meant it!  And sometimes really loud or busy patterns & logos get a little jealous and try to steal the show.  Simple or minimal patterns are okay - just as long as the focus stays on YOU!  Color, on the other hand, is a beautiful way to express yourself (see above) and add visual interest to your photos.  Stick with shades that flatter your features and make you feel confident and comfortable.  If you normally wear lots of darker neutrals, your engagement session might not be the best time to experiment with a neon yellow dress!

engagement session outfit tips


Trust me on this one.  If you're normally a jeans-and-tee-shirt kind of gal, you're not going to feel comfortable in a cocktail dress and heels.  But if you rock a cocktail dress and heels every weekend, why not show one off in your engagement photos, too?  You want to wear something that you're comfortable moving around in - whether that's platforms or flip-flops depends on your own personal style.

engagement session outfit tips

At the core of all of these tips is one simple idea - be yourself.  Use your clothing and accessories as a way to show not just what you look like but who you are.  And if you want to buy something new and special just for that shoot, don't feel guilty about treating yourself!  After all, you and your fiance will only be engaged once, right?

Happy planning :)




  1. I'm not actually planning any of this, but it's still a very good post to read which makes complete sense for any photo session. There's nothing worse than "dressing up" in something that isn't "you" and feel awkward and uncomfortable all along - it will show in the pictures... Have a lovely week xo

  2. Oh, this post is so timely! Our engagement shoot is next weekend in D.C., and I've been struggling with outfit choices because we won't be able to change. Layers are a must! I'm wearing a purple lace dress I bought special for the occasion, and my fiance found a dress shirt in complementary colors. I remembered the advice to choose something that complements but doesn't necessarily match, and I think we succeeded. I'm very excited!

  3. This post reminded me of a zombie attack engagement photo I saw on Pinterest and I just thought I don't know if you would approve!

    Such great tips! Maybe one day I'll need to look back here for some great ideas!! =)

    Ergo - Blog


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