February 19th, 2016 by Beth Baynum
Many of our wedding clients are unsure about what to wear for their engagement shoot. It’s an understandable and true concern. Even with the best photographer, the wrong outfit can ruin the entire shoot. If you don’t like how your clothes look in the photos, or how you look in the clothes, none of the shots will be pleasing. So getting your engagement shoot attire right is hugely important.
But you don’t need a stylist to nail the perfect outfit. Use the guidelines below to point you in the right direction, then bring in a trusted friend — one who’s not afraid to be honest and open with their opinions — and find a 3-way mirror to seriously evaluate your options.
- Dress for the season and location
This is the most important and over-arching rule, because you want to look natural and appropriate in your surroundings. Be sure your look is consistent with the environment of your shoot. Don’t wear a sleeveless dress for a winter shoot in the park, or a heavy beaded sweater for a summertime shoot on the beach. This kind of incongruence will make the photos seem strange. If some of the shots will be done outside, wear layers — the colder the season, the more layers you can wear — so you can change the outfit a bit from indoors to outside and still look appropriate to the season.
- Wear what feels good on you, but don’t be afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone
We all have our standard go-to styles and colors that we believe look good on us. Enlist your trusted friend to see if they agree, and ask for suggestions on how you might change it up a bit. You may wear sleeveless tops or turtlenecks a lot because they’re comfortable, but are they truly flattering for you? Ask your friend what he thinks. You want to feel comfortable and confident in your outfit, but you also want to look fantastic and ramp up your look from the usual norm. This leads to the next tip…
- Dress as you would for a special date
No matter what your style, you probably have occasions when you up the ante, such as a special dinner or an informal party. For the guys, that might mean a sports jacket with no tie. For the women, a fun dress or stylish jeans with high-heeled boots and a faux-fur vest. Aim to look like yourself — with added zing.
- Make sure your outfit complements what your partner wears
Your engagement photos will look more harmonious and visually pleasing when your outfit complements your partner’s. Don’t wear a flowered dress if he’s wearing a casual plaid shirt. Nor a muted, quietly colored suit with her brightly colored skinny jeans. Your overall styles (such as slightly dressy versus super-casual), colors and patterns should work together rather than compete with each other. Here’s another time when you should count on your friend and your mirror to give an objective opinion.
- Do test photos on your own
Ask your trusted advisor to use their smart phone and take some full length test shots from different vantage points. Your photographer will be shooting from the side, from behind and everywhere in between, so be sure you like how you look at all angles. Don’t worry about how your face looks in these shots, and try different poses so you get an idea of which ones make your body look best. Your engagement photographer should help you with this during shoot, as well. One of the reasons for doing an engagement shoot is to try out which poses work best for you, like a dress rehearsal for the wedding. But getting an idea of your best poses ahead of the engagement shoot will make your engagement photos even better.