What to Wear for Your Engagement Photo Shoot

The thought of having professional photos taken of you and your partner probably either sparks excitement or dread - there's no in-between. One of the main reasons couples feel nervous about having their photos taken is that they have no idea what to wear. If that's the case for you, you've come to the right place.


Rule #1: Wear what makes YOU feel the best

I'm about to list a bunch of things you should or shouldn't do, but when it comes down to it, these are YOUR photos. You should have the freedom to wear whatever makes you feel the most confident and the most like yourself. Take all of my recommendations with a grain of salt - these are just guidelines and suggestions. You should absolutely not feel like you must follow these rules, okay? And if you're unsure or have questions, always just reach out to your photographer. They'd be more than happy to chat with you and work through outfit options! Ultimately, if you don't feel comfortable and confident, it will show in your photos. That's why this is the #1 rule!

Rule #2: No logos, slogans, graphic tees, or lettering

Logos and lettering can be really distracting. You don't want "Lifeguard" or some goofy slogan across your chest because people will be too busy trying to read it rather than look at you. Even just a Nike logo on a t-shirt is distracting. It just doesn't look polished.


There are a FEW exceptions to this rule:

  • If you're a die-hard fan of, say, Metallica or a particular band, and their t-shirt is somewhat stylish and designed and goes with the overall aesthetic of the shoot (like if you're both into rock 'n roll and dress accordingly)

  • If you're both wearing matching team gear. I've done a few shoots where people are in matching baseball jerseys or college swag. That's totally fine as long as it means something special to both of you.

  • A tinyyyyyy fashion brand logo is okay if it's on a dress shirt

The Mariners are a big part of Dane and Maddie's lives, so they wanted to include them somehow in their engagement photos. They had three outfits in total, and this was the last one!

See how Larry has a tiny little logo on his pocket? That's totally fine!


Rule #3: No crazy, wild patterns

We want the focus to be on you, not your clothes. By sticking to classic styles and patterns, it won't distract from the main show: you!


Rule #4: No baseball hats

We want to see your face! Photographers are lighting wizards, but there's not much we can do when your face is totally hidden by the bill of a baseball hat. The reason why this rule doesn't say "no hats" is because some hats can work. Wide-brim hats can always be tilted up to reveal more of the face, and beanies can look super cute. But there's something about the shape and curvature of a baseball hat that just obstructs faces no matter what.


I'm going to pick on my best friend's fiance here for a second (please don't hate me, Sam, I love you!). We did more of a fashion shoot before they were engaged, so a baseball cap was totally fine in this instance. But if these were engagement pictures, I'd definitely have Sam take his hat off for a few shots. See how his face is hidden in shadows? It totally matches the high-fashion vibe, but probably wouldn't be the best look for timeless engagement photos.

On the other hand, Renee rocked a super cute, wide-brimmed hat in their other photos. This totally worked because we could tilt it back a bit to show off her beautiful face. Do you see the difference between the two styles?

Rule #5: Complement each other's outfits, but don't be too matchy-matchy

This one is hard to define, but essentially, you want your outfits to "go" together but not exactly match. For example, if you both want to wear a blue top, I recommend them being slightly different shades. If you both want to wear a plain t-shirt and jeans, perhaps one of you can wear a different color or accessorize with a scarf, jacket, necklace, etc. to add a bit of variety and interest.

See how Tabitha and Hunter are both rockin' a dark blue? They've paired it with different neutrals to make it seem less overly matching. This look is *kisses fingers* perfection.


Rule #6: Go for a classic look, rather than something trendy

You're investing money in photos, so I'm assuming you're going to want to look back on this memory for years to come. Sticking to a more classic outfit will help your photos stand the test of time. You'll be able to look back without cringing. Personally, I take this same mantra with my photo editing myself. Timeless styles will always look good!

A floral dress and a simple button-down will always be in style!


Rule #7: Don't be afraid to be bold with colors

I've done two super snowy engagement shoots recently, and both women decided to wear a bright red dress. It looked absolutely STUNNING in contrast to the stark winter backdrop. 10/10, would highly recommend.

Rule #8: Bring at least two outfits

Options, options, options! Seriously, I highly recommend bringing at least two alternative outfits. Even if you don't have time to wear all of them, it's so nice to have some variety. Most of my couples will do a more formal look and then a casual look. In the example of Dane and Maddie, they did three: a formal look, a casual everyday look, and then a matching sports jersey look. I loved it!

Rule #9: Don't forget shoes you can walk in

If we're trekking through the snow or walking from spot to spot, you don't want to be wearing stilettos. Trust me. Bring a pair of slippers or comfy shoes you can quickly slip on as we travel to each destination. You'll thank me later!


Or you can be like Jordyn and just ask your partner to carry you, which I have to admit, actually resulted in some freakin' adorable photos.

Rule #10: Get your nails done

You'll want some close-up photos of that nice new bling you've got on your hand! Make sure your nails are either manicured or at least clean and well-groomed.


Ready to schedule your engagement photos? Let's talk!

Madeleine Wilson is a Seattle, WA based natural light wedding and engagement photographer.

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