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How to Dress for Engagement Photos

Ladies, if you’ve never had the occasion to rock that sequined gown, tulle skirt, or statement necklace you’ve been saving, your time has come! Remember: there is no such thing as being “too dressed up” at your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have fun! 

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Style Tips for Her

My first rule for how to dress for engagement photos is to avoid pants and shorts and say yes to a dress or two! Most of my brides choose two outfits: one “wow” dress, and a shorter sun dress or cocktail dress for a more casual “us-on-a-date” feel. You are not obligated to bring two looks if it’s too stressful or if you’d rather stick to one fabulous look. Sticking to one outfit you love will be much better than pairing it with another you’re not excited about. So, one or two? It’s up to you!

Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can bring some extra dimension to your images as you consider how to dress for engagement photos. Big-statement necklaces pop in photos, while smaller delicate ones are not as noticeable on camera. Belts, bracelets and earrings attract great visual interest, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention. Fresh florals in a crown or bouquet can also add a delightfully romantic touch. 

In my experience, every woman—regardless of her shape—has an area of her body she’s self-conscious about. You should always choose flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features, but it’s also important to recognize any areas you’re sensitive about and prepare for them well in advance. This will help ensure that you love the way you look in your photos! 

Arms, I’ve found, are a common point of insecurity for many women. Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer-length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer, or cardigan along. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so I recommend avoiding those if you’re self-conscious about your arms.

Some women can also feel embarrassed about their feet and legs. Heels elongate your legs, making them look fabulous no matter what. Closed-toe heels look particularly great on camera, because they carry the line of your leg all the way to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, consider scheduling a pedicure before your session so that your feet are looking their very best! 

Once you’ve identified and addressed the areas that concern you most, you’re free to do as much or as little additional prep as you like! Based on my experience, I can offer some really reliable tips and tricks for making your engagement photos look fabulous:

First, bring a pair of flats to wear when moving from place to place. Your feet will thank you later! Get a manicure, and have your ring cleaned. If you’re thinking of going in for a spray tan, skip it; for photos like these, natural is always the way to go. As a last note on clothes: avoid anything that might show bra straps or tags, as well as any large logos or branding.

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Finally, confidence is easily the most important element in creating a beautiful photograph. Be sure you’ve tried on your outfits beforehand and have seen them together, so you know they look great. Also, make sure you’re comfortable! You don’t want to be fidgeting through your session, so wear something you can move around in—but that still makes you feel fantastic!


Style Tips for Him

From James Bond to Don Draper, men look most striking in a well-tailored suit… But if you don’t own one, and you’re wondering how to dress for engagement photos, no worries; a classy sport coat and chinos will do the trick. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye.

If you feel like a suit doesn’t suit you (pun very much intended), aim for long pants and a nice button-down. Long pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on the face you fell in love with. For your session, it’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home.

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Once you’ve settled on the core outfit, the next step as we work through how to dress for engagement photos is to think details! Ties, bowties, cool socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp additions to any ensemble. You can still mix and match accessories to compliment both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. Either way, you win.

Finally, be sure to look your best with a fresh haircut and a good shave (or trim, if that’s your relationship with your beard). Avoid hats, clothes with large logos or branding, anything baggy, and—of course—white socks. 

Most Importantly… 

… Remember that the engagement session is a time for us to get to know each other and to work together, enjoying your love for each other and making memories along the way. Don’t worry too much about how to dress for engagement photos or looking like models—your only job is to love, laugh, and have fun together!

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