Your engagement photo session is a memorable experience during your engagement. You get to spend time with your soon-to-be spouse, get to know your photographer, and wear something really special and fun. But sometimes picking out what to wear to your engagement session can be a bit overwhelming, so I thought it would be helpful to give you some of my top advice on choosing your outfits.

If you haven’t read How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session yet, be sure to check it out.


Consider the Setting

Talk to your wedding photographer about where you’re going to take the photos. Is it going to be downtown? Inside? Outside? In a field? At a lake? In the mountains? The beach? The clothes you wear should reflect the location to at least some degree… If you’re having your photos taken in a downtown-city location, it could be cool to get dressed up in semi-formal attire. Or… if you’re having your photos taken at a lake, something a little more casual would be a better choice. The textures of your clothes play off the textures of whatever is in the background of the photo. For example, something with lace would play off a hard, rocky exterior wall.

Setting is more than the location. Setting also includes the time. So when is your engagement session taking place—in the summer? Winter? You don’t want to be wearing a sweater and boots if all of the plants and trees around you are green because it’s summer time.

Choose Something That You WANT to Wear

Have you thought about rocking a gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, you could always check out Rent the Runway because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks. Plus, you can send the outfits back when the session is over. But you may also love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) to your closet!

Or… if you don’t have a dream outfit like that… wear something that you feel comfortable in and that makes you feel like yourself when you’re in front of the camera, especially if you’re not used to it.

Biltmore Engagement Session 141

Coordinate Your Colors Carefully

One of the things couples struggle the most with is how to choose outfits that complement each other well without being too matchy-matchy. I recommend choosing lighter tones and muted shades. The camera loves these shades. So does nature. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, the attention will be on the two of you and the way you feel about each other. 

As you choose outfits, keep in mind that you don’t want to be wearing the exact same colors. Choose colors that fall in the same color family. You could each choose a different dominant color but then all other colors are within the same family.

Hair and Makeup

We think it’s a GREAT idea to schedule your hair and makeup trial for the same day as your engagement session…but there are a few things to consider. First, know that your hair and makeup trial is not the same service that you’ll receive on your wedding day. Second, be sure to ask yourself if you really want to wear the same hair/makeup on your wedding day as you did in your engagement photos. Third, your trial is just an in-depth practice for different looks and you may not leave looking picture-perfect. 

If you do opt to have your hair and makeup trial on the same day as your engagement photos, definitely schedule it earlier. And make sure that the hair and makeup look fit your outfits. For example, if you want a super glam look for your wedding day and that’s what your Hair and Makeup Artist tries for you… you don’t want to have that same look if you’re opting for a super casual look for the engagement session. So just talk to your Hair and Makeup Artist before you leave, and ask her to dial it down a little bit before you walk out… she can easily take your hair down and tousel it just right for you… and probably tone down the makeup a bit. 

And if you don’t want to get your hair and makeup trial done that day, no problem! Do your own! Maybe that’s an excuse to buy some of those makeup products you’ve been eyeing.

Don’t Forget About Your Nails

Don’t forget to get a manicure. I would also recommend having your ring cleaned before the scheduled session. Your hands will be photographed an awful lot during this time.

Guys: this goes for you, too. Make sure your nails are groomed and in tip-top shape.


Again… engagement shoots are so much fun, provide such a great chance for you feel comfortable in front of the camera and in front of your photographers, and the photos are going to last a lifetime (use them on your wedding website, Save the Dates… frame them in your house… post them on social media…). Choose your outfits carefully, but don’t stress about it, either.

You might also be interested in reading When to Schedule Your Engagement Session.

A Photographer’s Insight About What to Wear to Your Engagement Session

April 27, 2022