This is a common question when the topic of engagement photos comes up. I don’t like to tell people what to wear really, but I am glad to offer suggestions of what works well for photos and what may not work so well. You can also refer to my post about tips for looking your best which talks more about your nails, your ring, pets, locations, and what products you want to walk away with from your session.
Dressier or more casual?
Some of my clients lean toward dressier photos (dress pants and shirt, dresses), but I would say the majority of my clients opt to go the more casual route. Jeans always photograph well in my opinion, and as far as colors go, I usually tell people to avoid bright white (it doesn’t expose as well as colors or even off-white/cream), and oranges and reds which tend to reflect back onto your skin. Some patterns and stripes are ok, but just pay attention to how it looks both up close and far away.
The key is to COORDINATE but not MATCH.
Comfort is key
Above all, I tell people to make sure they’re comfortable in what they’re wearing. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t look comfortable — If you’re constantly adjusting the fabric or hiding bra straps, or tugging your skirt, you may not be fully comfortable. If you’re comfortable in a skirt, go for it! If jeans are your jam, wear them!
A good friend of mine likes to say “if you look good, you fell good.” So make sure you look good and the rest will fall into place!
Let your location guide you
Most of my engagement session clients opt to do 2 different outfits as well (which corresponds with generally 2 locations). If you’ve chosen an urban location like downtown Champaign, and then a more natural location like a park, two outfits maybe be perfect for you! And this gives you a chance to both dress up and dress down for your session and show your style with 2 different looks.
Above all, make sure your session reflects you. Choose outfits that represent you well, along with locations that are meaningful, and a photographer whose shooting and editing style compliments you.