Kelley Deal Photography | FAQ : What to Wear to your Engagement Photos
There are certain questions I get really frequently - like over and over and over - and it finally occurred to me to start a blog series, which I'll call my FAQ series, that starts to answer some of those questions!
The first, and by far most common question I get, is what to wear for an engagement shoot. I get it - it's probably the only other time you'll be photographed aside from your wedding, and you could wear ANYTHING.
The short answer is that it depends on time of year, location, and (most importantly, in my book) what makes you feel good.
The Long Answer
I recommend at least two outfits. Even if you spend the entire time in the same open field, having two outfits will help add some variety - these photos should feel like the best, most comfortable versions of yourself. A good go-to is an outfit that's a little on the dressy side (your groom might wear a button down with a blazer), or an outfit you feel like you NEVER get to wear (maybe it's a giant tulle skirt and sequins?), and saving the second outfit for something more casual. You could go with the boots / chunky sweater / fun scarf look for the fall or a fun sundress in the summer.
A lot of photographers recommend that girls wear a dress or skirt, thinking that it makes you more feminine, and avoid the risk of looking like a big pile of denim if you're both in jeans. However... a lot of people don't feel comfortable in skirts or dresses, and that's okay. If it's not for you, don't stress.
Colors + Patterns
I think solid colors are typically safer, which is why it's my fastest response. Look at the image above, and how well they pop against their surroundings. It's less of a risk to combine a few colors that work together than to start mixing in different patterns at different scales, etc. However... when it works, it works REALLY well. The families below mixed a few different colors by way of different accents that involve all kinds of patterns, and it works beautifully.
Think about your setting : if you're going to be downtown, in front of lots of textures (brick buildings, murals, signage, etc), you might want to keep your outfit on the simple side, otherwise you're just another texture in the image. If you're going to be in an open field somewhere, maybe mix it up with brighter colors or a fun pattern. The couple below handled it perfectly - she wore bright, bold colors when she was outside in a park (where there wouldn't be a ton of colors to compete with) and more subdued rich colors with a little bit of sparkle against some of the grittier textures and murals of downtown Raleigh.
His and Hers
At the risk of sounding sexist, girls are sometimes better at this stuff. Potentially pickier about the clothes they wear, potentially more expressive during the shoot itself, and typically they (we) have more to work with in terms of accessories. And please don't forget THE ring - another major focus...
All of that said, my advice is to typically start with her outfit(s) and plan the groom's attire around them. Find colors and patterns that compliment what the bride-to-be will wear, and keep it simple - sometimes it's a matter of changing his shirt and losing the jacket.
Just Be Yourself.
The biggest priority here is that you feel like yourself. Engagement photos don't really serve a purpose except to 1) celebrate your engagement and maybe 2) help with a Save-the-Date. If you guys are CRAZY about crossfit and are at the gym everyday, take some photos at the gym! If you love to get dressed-up, get fancy! Your wedding photos will be you, but at a wedding - chances are you'll be in a white gown (something you've never worn before and will never wear again) and your groom will be in a suit / tux. Your engagement photos are your chance to be you - dress like yourself, act like yourselves, go to a location that has meaning to you guys, etc. At the end of the day, you want those photos to capture the best versions of you being yourselves.