What to Wear for Your Engagement Session | Style Guide | Chesapeake Wedding Photographer

Hey friends!

One of the most common texts I get from my brides right before their session is a panicked “What should we wear!?”  “How does this look?”  And girl, I get it.  You haven’t had professional photos taken of you since senior year of high school and you’re dying to have some real images to post of you and your man and suddenly you realize that dress you thought was cute went and shrunk in the wash!  I was in the same boat 2 years ago.  So I wrote this article just for you to take some of the guess work out of it!

I love to give my couples variety and tell the whole of their story.  For that reason I structure my engagement sessions to allow for two outfit changes.  I usually recommend one casual and one formal outfit to give you two different looks and essentially two galleries of images in just one session!  And this is why engagement photos are so special!  They’re more *you* than any other images you’ll have- they’re taken in a relaxed environment, with those freshly engaged smiles, and they’re the images you’ll reminisce over fondly for years to come.  My husband and I have more engagement photos printed in our home than wedding photos simply because they feel more like us!

Ladies First:

Ladies, choose your outfit first.  Skip the dress that always shows your bra strap and the one that’s looking a little worn and take this opportunity to treat yo self!  As you shop, keep these tips in mind:  Wear things you love, things you feel good in in the weird lighting of the dressing room (if it looks good there, it’s going to look fabulous in some golden hour light!).  That outfit you always get compliments on that’s just so *you*.  Choose styles that are flattering to you, not just the latest trend.  Remember, classy never goes out of style.

For casual: think your favorite jeans and that shirt that always makes you feel pretty.  Coupled with some cute boots or sandals and a pair of fun earrings and you’re good to go!

For formal:  this is your chance to buy that gorgeous maxi dress you’ve been eyeing or to whip out that fancy jumpsuit you love.  Choose patterns and colors that match your personalities- we’re not trying to make you look like everyone else!  I want your style as a couple to shine through.  So if you love bright red- don’t be afraid to rock it!  But if you’re more of a neutral girl, that’s fine too!  Both can look amazing!  















Don’t be afraid of patterns!  My one recommendation here is that if you have one outfit with bold patterns, let your second outfit be more clean.  That way you’ll have more variety in your images.

Take a look at those nails.  I’m not saying go out and get a manicure, but if you’ve got cracked nail polish, go ahead and pull out the remover and don’t forget about your toes! 

The camera has a way of washing out your normal makeup, making it look like you’re wearing no makeup. So go a little beyond your normal makeup look. For example, my everyday makeup is mascara, eye liner and concealer. But for a shoot, I double up on mascara and add in some eye shadow, blush and lip color for a more complete look! Trust me, it may feel like “a lot” but when you get your photos back you’ll be amazed at how natural it looks!

If you have time, get your ring cleaned before the shoot!  I’m going to be zooming in on that baby to show it off to the world and if you just run into Jared beforehand and take advantage of the complimentary ring cleanings (I love Jared, they even offer you tea!), it’ll shine and sparkle even brighter!



For casual:  think jeans and a button down, or that fitted tee that looks real nice.  Avoid big logos or graphics.  Feel free to pull out the Chacos or Tevas! 

For formal:  A nice button down and khakis OR take it to the next level and do a suit, no tie (your girl will love you for that!).  Sorry guys, dress shoes all the way here.  No tennis shoes with your blazers please! 

Choose prints that aren’t too small.   So if you’re doing plaid, go for a larger print plaid.  It’s hard to explain, but cameras do wonky things with small prints and it’ll look kind of like a computer screen from the 90s in the final image if the print is too small.

A few final words…

If there’s an accessory that’s a part of your story; whether it’s his guitar, your grandma’s quilt, or the earrings he gave you for Valentine’s Day, bring them!  I love including these special details!  It helps your images to tell your story.

Please iron your clothes!  Or buy outfits that won’t wrinkle if they sit in your backseat till the second half of the session.  As much as I’d love to, wrinkles can’t be Photoshopped out!

Choose clothes that you can move in!  You’ll be sitting and standing, twirling and maybe even running so skip the dress that’s too tight to walk in and opt for a flowy, flattering look that will compliment you well as you cuddle and goof off with your honey.

Keep your location in mind.  You’re thinking a colorful downtown area with awesome murals and lots of fun details?  Maybe avoid patterns and stick to solids so there won’t be too much going on and you can remain the focus.  We’re meeting at a park first and then headed to a garden?  Wear the casual outfit first and the formal outfit second. 

As you plan how your outfits will look together, aim to compliment each other.  Gone are the days of awkward 90s engagement photos- where you both wear white button downs and jeans.  You don’t have to wear the same color or patterns to look good together.  Matchy-matchy is not the goal here.  Just follow the steps above and aim to compliment each other- not match!














If you’re my bride, don’t be afraid to reach out!  I love helping my brides think through their outfits and getting a sneak peek of what they’ll wear before a session!  I’m here to help you every step of the way- unflattering dressing room pics and all!

Ugh, you’re going to look fabulous!

Can’t wait to see you!


PS- This post was so fun to write!  Let me know what else you want to hear from me in terms of engagement or wedding advice!

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