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What should I wear for engagement pictures?

Engagement sessions ... I love them SO much!

I love that they give me a chance to get to really know my couples, and the way they allow my couples to get to know me before their wedding day. I love the way they allow a bride and groom to get comfortable in front of my camera and lens long before their big day. I love the freedom they offer so that my clients can really have fun on a photo shoot, away from the pressures of their wedding day.

For many years, I have heard the same thing from numerous couples. They have told me that the one thing that makes them nervous and that gets in the way of their excitement about their engagement photos. They simply don't know what to wear. Since many couples have plans to use their engagement portraits on their save-the-date cards, guest book, wedding website and more, not knowing what to wear can lead to serious stressing out!

Have no fear! I may not be able to dig through your closet with you to find the perfect outfits, but I can offer some tried-and-true guidelines that will help you find your engagement shoot style!


Coordinating doesn't mean you have to wear matching outfits, and in fact I don't recommend. Looking overly matchy-matchy is unnatural and and is a really outdated trend. (Think bad 80s photos) But your looks should fit together. There are two main ingredients to coordinating:

A. Level of formality. If he's in a tux, she shouldn't be in a tee-shirt. And if she's dressed to the nines, he shouldn't be in a sports jersey or jeans.

B. Color Palette. (Imagine a color wheel) Selecting from the same color palette is a great way to coordinate! Check out the photos from an engagement shoot I did at Empire Mine in Grass Valley. I love the way Shannon and Davis pulled these outfits together to create a cohesive look. There's no question that these two belong together!

2. Embrace color and pattern!

I know, I know, you've been told for years that black is slimming and white is classic. But free your mind and your wardrobe from these constraints! I already mentioned the way color can be used to help coordinate. Well, pattern is a perfect way to FIND these colors. Choose an item of clothing with a pattern and then draw colors from within it to create the palette for your outfits. Or try picking complementary colors, these are the color pairs that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. Such as green and red or orange and blue. I love the way Kristine and Jeff are wearing the perfect complimentary colors for their engagement session in photos below, the colors in BOTH outfits compliment each other.

One word of warning! Small, tight patterns, like very narrow stripes, aren't the best for photos.

3. Layer and accessorize!

Layers and accessories can add so much depth and interest to your photos. They can also turn a decent outfit into a stunning one. In Becca & Joe's outdoor portrait shoot below, both outfits are great on their own, but by adding a leather jacked it changed to look entirely! Adding extra level of style, personality, and texture!

Besides adding interest, accessories are also a great way to bring your personal sense of style into your engagement photos. Even the sweet put can be used as a accessory to change up the look and feel of your images! (You would hardly know that these were the same outfits) at this amazing Bear River engagement session.

4. Get fancy!

Engagement photos are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pull out all the stops for your portraits. Why waste it on an outfit you wore to the grocery store last weekend? I love the idea of choosing a dream dress from Rent the Runway for your session. Most engagement shoots offer time to change your outfit, so you can have one fancy-schmancy outfit and one more casual.

The most important suggestion I can offer is this: Be yourself, but be the BEST VERSION of yourself. Elevate your outfits beyond the everyday so that you'll have engagement photos that you'll want to show off for years to come!

And Karin and Jeff absolutely nailed it during their Yosemite National Park Engagement Session. Look how amazing this mixture of nature and elegance works together!

Still not sure what to wear? Give me a ring, I would love to help you pick out the perfect outfit, so you feel confident, comfortable and beautiful for your engagement session. And if you don't know where you want to have your pictures taken, I have soooo many ideas for that too!!

Check out more of our work at

or give me a call at 209-304-9235

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