One of the things that my couples are most nervous about is choosing outfits for engagement photos! I think, since there are no hard & fast rules on engagement shoot outfits, it can be even more overwhelming to try and narrow down the options! Lucky for you, I’m an engagement outfit expert and I created a guide to teach you how to become an expert too! The original version of this guide is actually in my Bride Guide, which I send to all my brides when they book with me, but I thought I’d re-release it in blog form as well! Let’s get right into it!

While there aren’t any specific rules, there are definitely some rules of thumb I came up with to help you start to narrow down your engagement photo outfits. After reading through these, you’ll have a better understanding of your preferences so you can get right to outfit planning! Keep in mind that I created these “rules” myself, and they can DEFINITELY be broken!

Things to Avoid

Colors- Bright Red, Bright Orange, Neons

Bright colors can be fun, but if you don’t choose the right ones, they reflect onto your skin and can leave a color cast. Trust me, you don’t want a color cast. They’re super hard to edit, and can totally change the entire vibe of your engagement session. Instead of the colors above, I’d suggest crimson, plum, rust, or other similar colors!

outfits for engagement photos

Patterns- Nothing smaller than a quarter

Another rule that you probably wouldn’t know unless you’re a photographer, any patterns that are smaller than a quarter will create “Chromatic Aberration”. It basically means there will be these awkward rainbow-type hazes on clothes in the digital photo. One exception to the rule- men’s checkered shirts are acceptable if the checks are larger!

outfits for engagement photos

Similar Clothing “Weight”

Alternating the “heaviness” of your outfit pieces can help the images look more balanced. So, if one of you wears super dark jeans, then the other may want to wear lighter pants. If one of you is wearing a navy-colored top, the other shouldn’t wear a dark/heavy-colored top!

outfits for engagement photos

Different Dressed-Up Levels

This one might go without saying, but avoid having one person dressed casually while the other is dressy. It’ll look pretty awkward in photos!

outfits for engagement photos

Other Things to Avoid

Here are some other clothing items that don’t need to be present for the engagement photoshoot: tennis shoes, graphic tees, bold logos on shirts, sunglasses & baseball hats. Side note- if you’re huge sports fans, then bring some fun accessories and let’s have fun with it!!

outfits for engagement photos

Style Recipes

Now that you know some of the things to avoid when choosing outfits for engagement photos, let’s talk about some “style recipes” I’ve come up with! These should help you get an idea of actual clothing you can shop (or shop your closet) for to achieve a certain look.

Romantic

If you’re looking for an engagement shoot outfit that includes romantic, light and airy vibes, you can choose certain outfits that will help your images turn out brighter and softer! Here are some ingredients that go into creating a romantic styled engagement shoot! It’s important to note that you do not need to choose all of these ingredients in order to have a light and airy style, but the more ingredients you include, the more romantic it will be:

  • Neutral Colors: Go for shades of blush, tan, light pink, pale blue and light minty teal, cream, gray and white. They’ll always result in a more light and airy look for your engagement session.
  • Long, Flowy Skirts/Dresses: Dresses and skirts with feminine ruffles, multiple layers of fabric and the ability to move when the wind blows will always be extra romantic! You would be amazed at how impactful moving fabric can be to soften an image.
  • Khakis vs. Jeans: If you really want your images to be as bright as possible, consider having your groom wear lighter pants instead of dark dress pants/jeans.
Outfits for engagement photos couple kissing outdoors under tree in Southern Illinois
Outfits for engagement photos couple hugging with rusting engagement photo outfits
outfits for engagement photos

Bright & Bold

Feel like you want to showcase your own personalities, or have a strong sense of style? Bright and bold engagement outfits are right up your alley! Remember, you don’t have to apply ALL of these ingredients to get a bright and bold look for your engagement photos!

  • Pattern: Only one of you should wear a bold pattern! If you’re wearing a bold pattern, the other person should wear something more neutral. The bolder the pattern, the more important this rule is!
  • Bold Backgrounds: Many times, when my couples want the bright and bold look, we’ll take some of their engagement photos in front of a solid, brightly-colored background to bring out the pops of color! Double-win if the background coordinates with their outfits!
  • One Bold Color: If you really want the bold and bright look, but want to make sure you’re doing it tastefully, I suggest only having one person dress in a bold-colored outfit while the other person is in solid neutrals. That way, your outfits aren’t competing with one another and you won’t over-do it!
  • Large Patterns: If you’re desperate to wear a pattern, please make sure it’s larger than a quarter! Patterns that are smaller than a quarter can be pretty tricky to capture in digital photography.
outfits for engagement photos

Looking for an engagement photographer in Southern Illinois?

Did you just get engaged? Congratulations!! Now, it’s time to announce your engagement to your family and friends with some gorgeous engagement photos! Click here to fill out my inquiry form with your dates, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. While you’re here, I think you’ll love my guide to planning your engagement photo session here!

XO, Courtney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.