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9 Tips on What to Wear to an Engagement Session

I love photographing engagement sessions because it gives me a chance to see how my couples interact with each other before the wedding day. Not to mention, there is an obvious benefit that you get to practice being in front of the camera, and walk away from it with amazing photos of you as a couple.

Trying to sort out what to wear to an engagement session can be overwhelming and perhaps even a little stressful; this blog post is for you! I’m packing this full of tips so you know how to choose outfits that are flattering, interesting, and look great on camera.

9 Tips on What to Wear to an Engagement Session

Shea McGrath Photography, Colorado Wedding Photographer

Engagement session in Golden, CO

It’s all about FIT

If you aren’t comfortable in the outfit you are wearing, your discomfort will look awkward in your engagement photos.

Fit is everything. Properly fit clothes can make the difference between looking good on camera, and looking GREAT! It doesn’t matter what size the clothes are, what matters is that you are choosing flattering pieces that feel amazing to wear.

If you have to pull, tug, adjust, or safety-pin your clothing, it’s not a great fit. Find pieces that allow you to move, breath, bend, and dance. Have a friend help you choose pieces that fit your figure and flatter your best features too!

Ladies, I highly recommend going to Nordstrom’s for a proper bra fitting before your engagement session with me. They will measure you and show you options that fit beautifully; this can make all the difference under clothes!

When you are thinking about what to wear for an engagement session, fit really is key.

what to wear to an engagement session

Choose outfits for your location

Think about the location you have chosen for your engagement session. Is it full of vibrant fall colors, glossy city glass and gritty textures, or the soft blues and greens of a more natural forest or mountain location?

Consider how your outfits might coordinate with the location!

An unexpected flowy dress in the mountains is always a winner.  Just because you are going outdoors doesn’t mean you have to wear North Face and tennis shoes (although, for more casual photos that is great too!). For city photos, city-chic is always a sure thing.

sand dunes engagement photos

Choose outfits for your season

If you are choosing a winter engagement session, it doesn’t make sense to pull out the bright floral summer dress.

Think about the season and how you can beautifully coordinate with the colors, feel, and weather. I absolutely love this plaid shirt and chunky knit beanie for this outdoor engagement session in the photo below.

mountain engagement photographer colorado

Choose colors that coordinate

I don’t necessarily mean get matchy-matchy here, but I should also add that the beautiful thing about color is that it’s really flexible.

Color theory is fairly simple.

For coordinating together, the same principles apply.

This is the best article I have found on color as it applies to fashion, and it’s worth a look!

Click Here!


A few basic tips:

Choose colors that coordinate because they are warm or cool. Example, coral and beach yellow (WARM) or blue and sea green (COOL).

Choose colors that coordinate because they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, Example, blue and red.

Choose colors that coordinate because one of the colors is a neutral such as ivory, gray, or even navy. The beautiful thing about this is that one of you can choose a neutral, and the other can choose a color, and it’s one of the easier ways to coordinate. In harmony with the environment of the location this can be really beautiful!

Don’t limit yourself to two colors either. Done correctly, you can showcase and entire palette of color in one set of coordinated outfits (example, gray, burgundy, ivory, and blue).

how to dress for an engagement session

Pattern Mixing

Patterns can add a really unique and personal element to your photos. When thinking about what to wear for an engagement session, it’s important that you stay true to yourself. If you love patterns, bring them in!

There are a few ground rules, though. Patterns can look very busy on camera, and at times they end up stealing the show in a photo. On the flip side, they can add a lot of interest and texture to a session location that has a monotone color scheme.

Break busy patterns up with solids – a crisp pair of chinos, a blazer in a beautiful neutral tone, or by having your partner in a pattern and you in a solid.

If you mix and match patterns, choose a small scale pattern and a large scale pattern together.

A bow tie or a scarf with a fun pattern is another great addition to coordinated outfits!
mountain engagement photos

Texture & Fabrics

Texture is an amazing way to flatter your figure and add interest to your outfits!

Avoid stretch jersey t-shirts – while it may be great for everyday wear, it’s a simple fabric that also happens to show every lump and bump. On the contrary, think about how textured fabrics have a unique ability to hold their shape!

Ideas for textured fabrics: lacy, chunky cable knits, a great pair of denim, chiffon, boots, tulle, leather, linen, a statement necklace, ruffles and other textural details, and other structured fabrics with some weight to them.

Mix up your textures too! A chiffon tank top with skinny denim and chunky boots can be perfect, or soft lace with linen pants.

Make sure your outfits are freshly laundered and wrinkle free; if I have any advice for you on what to wear to an engagement session, it’s this! I can’t hide wrinkles in a shirt.

choosing outfits for an engagement session

Dressing HIM

Avoid ball caps – they hide your eyes and cause ‘hat hair’. If you are known for your ball cap, cowboy hat, or otherwise let me know and we will make sure to work it into the session. Start without it, however.

Avoid logos and sports gear (save for a fun bonus photo). Nothing detracts from a beautiful engagement photo more than a giant NIKE plastered across your chest!

You can’t go wrong with a great pair of denim and a crisp button down. To that you can add a blazer or bow tie, or dress it down by leaving it unbuttoned over a nice solid t-shirt.

Don’t get your hair cut the day before your session (or wedding!). Give your fresh cut a week to settle in.

Don’t discount the idea of also bringing a well-fit suit to your engagement session!

Dressing HER

Consider having your hair and makeup done professionally before your session (just make sure to schedule it so that there is no way it can cause a delay!).

Go for that bra fitting at Nordstrom’s that I mentioned!

Drink lots of water leading up to your session and avoid drastically changing your skincare routine beforehand.

Choose scarfs and statement jewelry to mix up your outfits and add additional texture and variety.

flowy dress engagement session

Where to Shop

These are a few great places to shop for unique pieces for your engagement session:

Free People
Baltic Born
Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack

maroon bells engagement photos

5 quick tips for preparing for your engagement session

1. Bring shoes that work for your outfit, but also bring a pair of comfy shoes. We may be doing a lot of walking between locations.

2. Bring a snack and some water; nothing is worse than feeling hungry or thirsty and then also having to be on camera and happy!

3. Choose three outfits; any more than this and your gallery starts to become chaotic, as do the constant outfit changes! Don’t fuss over this too much, pick the three you feel best in that overall make sense for you as a couple and look coordinated together.

I recommend doing a casual everyday look, something nicer that you might wear to your engagement party, and then a wild card. Unexpected formal wear, a flowy dress, etc. Something unique and personal and FUN!

Also, there is a huge chance we don’t have access to a private indoor space for changing. Anticipate changing outfits in the car and plan accordingly.

4. Don’t fake it. Your love isn’t fake, and your smile doesn’t have to be either. Plan to enjoy each other and be close, to love each other and be real to who you are.

5. Don’t stress either. You’re going to do great and I cannot wait to photograph you together!

Denver Engagement Photographer


So there you have it. I hope this really helps you with what to wear to your engagement session!

If you have any questions, or are looking to hire a Colorado wedding photographer, I’d love to hear from you.

You can contact me by clicking HERE. I’m happy to help and would love to hear about you and your wedding!

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