What to Wear for Engagement Photos

The Details

Our engagement photos where shot by: Carmen Evans

As I’m typed this Paul said, “Oh no! You’re using those photos! What are you thinking?! Why are you doing this to me?

Y’all always ask me where Maxi’s curls come from. The secret is out, they come from Paul! haha. He feels like he looks so young in our engagement photos because he hadn’t cut his hair yet, but I love them!

One of the top searches on COF is about what to wear for your engagement photos, so girlfriend, let’s talk about it! I’m no wedding photographer and I’ve only taken engagement photos once. Technically, I’m a novice in this department. 😉 But, my girlfriend, Madison Katlin, is a fabulous wedding and couple photographer, so we chatted and came up with our little tips to help you feel your best!

Complement One Another & Your Lifestyle

First things first, when you think about your shoot and location, think about your lifestyle. I know farmhouse weddings and more rustic engagement photos were huge, but if you are more of a city girl that may not reflect you both best. My favorite Save The Date cards are the ones that really reflect the couple. One of my girlfriends, Lindsey, is a phenomenal cook and host. If you tell her you are coming over, she makes you a 4-course THEMED dinner. In their engagement photos, they were making cinnamon rolls. It was the sweetest thing and true to their life on the weekends. You don’t have to be doing an activity, but I think it is important to stay true to yourself, not what you see on Pinterest. My engagement photos were bright and colorful at a time everyone took theirs in a field. That may not be Pinterest-worthy on my part, but it felt like us! Complement one another with a middle ground, too. My husband works in accounting and believes you only have two things in a wardrobe: suits and golf clothes. We took a lot of our engagement photos downtown at a historical building as a nod to him and I added color as a nod to me being a fashion blogger.

Be Comfortable

You don’t have to be in sandals or sweats, but be comfortable in what you are wearing. Certain dresses may look fabulous, but if you are always pulling it up or adjusting your straps, chances are you’ll hate half your photos because you’ll think you are about to have a wardrobe malfunction. Test your outfits out by taking some iPhone photos of each other in your looks. Pose, twirl, do the works. If you find yourself adjusting your look in 10 minutes time, nix that! Also, try to make sure your outfit has movement in it. Not only will you be more comfortable, you’ll get great shots with the wind.

Coordinate, Don’t Match

If you want to recreate a Calvin Klein ad, GO for it! Also, please send me a Save The Date with that because I’m sure it would look fabulous! But most of the time, you don’t want to match your partner, you want to coordinate. In order to do that, you first want to make sure that your level of dressiness is matched. Does it look like he’s going to work and you’re going to Target? I always say to try to look like you’re both going to a nice dinner! However, your level of formality will, of course, be dependent upon where your shoot location is. You also want to pull from the same color family when styling your looks. Another trick is to look up wedding color combinations and work around that! You don’t have to wear your wedding colors, it’s just an easy way to know what is already tried and true when it comes to photography.

Acknowledge the Time of Year

Are you wanting to shoot a spring look, but flowers haven’t bloomed yet? Are you wanting a holiday look at a farm, but it is only August? The time of year can definitely impact your comfort in clothing, but it’s also going to give you different lighting and landscape. I run into this situation all the time throughout the year! If I’m shooting a Lilly Pulitzer look in January, the colors are going to automatically look more muted based on the lighting. This is proof!

Shoot Two Looks

Talk to your photographer about how many outfit changes he or she may offer. I recommend getting two, no more than three. By three, you both could be really over it! It’s easy to think one look will be your absolute favorite, but then get it back and think the color totally clashes with your skin tone. You may also find your partner was way more relaxed in another look than they were in the first or vice versa. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket, and the best outcome is you get a lot of options you love!

Don’t be Loud, but Be You

This definitely isn’t the time to throw on 14 prints or 7 different logos. You don’t want anything to distract from your admiration for one another. However, you can easily pop a print in your shoes or wear a brighter color if your partner is in something more muted. Get a “Goldilocks” fit in your outfit {not too tight or too loose} and enhance the normal beauty routine you do. If you never do your makeup, I wouldn’t make today the day you wear a red lip and lashes.

Focus on Making Memories, Not Photos

I know this sounds so silly and honestly counterintuitive as engagement photos are an investment price wise. But depending on your marriage and life plans, you could only use your engagement photos out and about for a few years. Like all good newlyweds, we had a SHRINE of ourselves when you walked in our home. Now? Maxi. Maxi. Peaches and Maxi. Maxi. Maxi. Peaches. Our wedding. Is that to say I don’t love our engagement photos? No, I adore them! They were so special and represent such a sweet time in life. But if you do have children and explore new places and create new chapters in life, those memories might fill frames over your engagement photos. {Of course that may not always be the case, but you follow me!} However, I remember taking our engagement photos minute by minute! I remember stopping at Whataburger mid-shoot because I was STARVING. I remember, laughing at Paul over us gazing at each other. I remember chewing gum in one of the photos. I remember it all and am so thankful for that day. We never get to do that now! Like all things regarding your wedding, you are making memories and a family, not necessarily photos. However, you want to still spend time focusing on your shoot as these will be what you maybe show your grandchildren one day! So just enjoy the process!

Outfit Ideas

Madison is a fabulous photographer {she shot this for us!} and has a Pinterest inspiration board her clients can browse. You can see it here to get some ideas!

  • If you are more classic, I recommend this dress by Black Halo. It has a classic fit, but the hem has movement. Honestly, their entire line makes fabulous, photograph-worthy pieces. If you wanted one of your looks to be more of a downtown style, I think anything they make would be perfect.
  • If you want something ultra feminine, my recommendation is Needle & Thread. If I were doing my engagement photos today, that’s what I would do! Now the price is quite the investment, so you could 100% check Rent the Runway for something similar. However, this is a great similar option to Needle & Thread. I had a dress like this a few years back and everyone couldn’t believe the price! I love this, too!
  • Want something more for fall? This is my pick under $100
  • Shooting in warmer weather? Try this for a flirty look!
  • For jewelry, let your ring be the center of attention. I’d stick with statement earrings and nothing else. For your earrings, I would go with the Kendra Scott Kakis. However, I may be biased as they are what I wore on my wedding day. 😉
  • For more photo tips, don’t miss my post on family photos!

I hope this post gives you a little more confidence as you select your outfits for your engagement photos. No matter if you take photos, or if you don’t take photos, your engagement is such a sweet season in life and you should honor it however you see fit! The tradition of taking photos can sometimes seem stressful, but I’m so glad I have these to look back on. It’s fun to show Maxi and say, “Where is Dada? Where is Mama?” If you are in the DFW area, be sure to check out my friend Madison. She offers wedding, engagement, mini sessions {what we did in the field!}, and family photos.

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4 Comments

  1. I think the yellow dress you’re wearing is super cute! I’ve never thought of wearing bright dresses for shoots, but it’s a great idea! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 22 Aug 18Reply
  2. Annaliese wrote:

    Aww I remember your engagement photo blog post a few years ago- I thought they were the most beautiful pictures!! I’ll remember these tips for someday 🙂

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 22 Aug 18Reply
  3. Hillary wrote:

    Love that you posted this! i’m recently engaged and starting to try to decide what look and feel we want for engagement pictures. I asked my fiancé if we could take them at the Sprinkles cupcake ATM (our favorite weekend treat) and he said no haha

    Published 22 Aug 18Reply
  4. My husband and I are about to celebrate our one year anniversary, and it’s crazy to think back on all of the pre-bridal stuff like engagement photos! I remember us both being like, “uhhhhh what are we supposed to wear?!” haha

    BlondieintheCity.com

    Published 23 Aug 18Reply