What to wear to your Engagement Session

February 27, 2021
Jack and I by White Sails Creative, shot in London

I know what it’s like planning an outfit… I can’t even plan one on a daily basis, let alone for a special occasion like your engagement or pre-wedding session photos! As a result, I’ve decided to put together a bit of a guide, featuring my top five go-to tips of what you could wear, what you should avoid, and how to feel your best self! This guide is based not only on what my past clients have worn to sessions, but what I’ve worn to my own couple sessions with my boyfriend. I’ll include photos of how we co-ordinated our wardrobes for the sessions we booked, so I totally know how you feel, trust me!

1: Dress to Impress

You heard me! Now is the time to dress up - think of your photo session like a date! When I searched for what to wear for Jack and I’s couple photos, I knew I wanted to wear a flowy, boho dress, and I knew that black is usually my go to, which made sure I'd feel comfortable. I paired a denim jacket with my dress to tone it down, whilst Jack opted for a faux leather jacket. I actually ended up getting my dress second hand but it was brand new (I am a savvy bargain hunter!) on depop, so definitely check out auction and second hand sites.

My best advice is to dress up as if you’re going to a wedding, or for dinner. You want to have your hair and makeup all done (whether you do it yourself of have someone do it, if you’re feeling extra fancy!) so that you feel your best. When we dress well, we feel confident, even if we don’t feel like we know what we are doing in front of the camera (but don’t worry about that part, you’ll soon feel comfortable enough to forget I am even there!) So definitely search out the loveliest outfits you can. This might be a beautiful flowy dress (flowy dresses always look beautiful, Laurel and Heidi are sporting them above!), or it might be something as casual as black jeans (as Olly did above) and a shirt, or you could even go as far as wearing a relaxed suit or a tailored jacket (like Lewis did!) for that ‘casual-formal’ look!

Jack and I in Suffolk by Emily Tyler Photography

2: Let your personality shine through (with colours and details!)

Jack and I don't take life too seriously, and our photos reflect that... otherwise I wouldn't be on his shoulders pretending I'm Bjorn, would I? ;)

For our couple’s session, we co-ordinated everything with red as the main theme, because it’s a colour that looks great on both of us, and worked with our sunny midday shoot time. It always looks super co-ordinated when you wear colours and patterns that work together, or shades of the same colour. I wore a black and red floral print maxi dress, with matching nail polish, made sure I’d re-dyed my hair pastel pink, and donned my Doc Martens (as if I would wear any other shoes!) Meanwhile Jack wore a red shirt with smart black jeans and clean trainers, and he wouldn’t be himself without his Great Frog London rings. We wanted to go for a smart but casual look, so this balanced us out super well! I did also originally have red lipstick on, but I took it off because it didn’t feel quite ‘me’… Which leads to my next point…

3: Make sure you feel comfortable - both looks and warmth!

I know, I know. We all have that pair of shoes we LOVE but they’re SO painful to walk in, right? Please don’t wear those shoes to your shoot, no matter how beautiful they are! Make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable enough for exploring around, and ideally isn't SO posh that you’ll regret wearing it if it gets a bit sandy / muddy / dirty.  My Doc’s are always COVERED in mud and sand after a shoot, but nothing a little wash wouldn’t get off! Please make sure you can walk and have fun without worrying about tripping, or feeling uncomfortable so that you can just have fun instead!

Victoria and Liam above opted for trainers and Doc Martens, and made sure to layer up with jumpers and jackets that they could easily remove, since their session was in autumn. I always suggest bringing things that you can add into your photos too, like little handbags, scarves, or umbrellas if it might rain, and a chunky knit cardigan or coat to switch up your look is always good too. Please just make sure you’ve got an alternative so that you can be warm enough if it’s going to be chilly!

4: Dress for your location and the season!

Most of my couples opt for neutral tones, think dark blues, blacks, greys, whites, blush pinks, or earthy tones, like rusts and dark reds, because these are the colours that tend to be the most timeless. Don't opt for anything trendy or fashionable at the time, you want the photos to still look good in years to come! Also think about the season, chunky boots, layers, tights and scarves are perfect on the beach in winter, whilst flowy dresses, natural makeup and sunkissed skin look great in the summer!

5: Colours, contrasts, patterns and logos

Remember the photos of the 90s, in matching blue wash jeans and white t shirts? You don’t want to look like that, do you?! (If you do I may not be the photographer for you!) Most of my couples either opt for neutral tones (which always look lovely at the beach!) or colour that are slightly muted with a pop of colour (think a blue dress with bright yellow flowers). Think primary colours for the most part, as these always photograph well, and never ever anything fluorescent. Matching too much can look a bit odd, so try to stick to alternatives - by which I mean don’t both turn up in black and white stripes garments. However, a blue and black jumpsuit (as worn by Emily) and a grey shirt and blue and white striped shorts (as worn by Chris) can look smart. Similar colours, different pattern, but not so matchy that you look like siblings!

You also don’t want to opt for tops with branding, logos or slogans on. Plain is best, and ages much better too! You’re welcome to wear patterns too, but ideally don’t both turn up in checkered garments. Florals always look lovely, and you can usually pull out some of the colours in them to accessorise or co-ordinate with each other.

BONUS TIP: Four legged friends are welcome!

I am always happy to have your furry friends at your session with you, in fact, I wholeheartedly encourage it. Bonus points (and puppy snuggles) if you bring your pup along!

If you have any further questions, or even if you want me to check your outfit ideas ahead of your session, just let me know!