Hello again lovely brides, This isn't just a fluffy "don't wear X" type of guide. Part of my "planning" series, I've searched to make you aware of the best topics sure to give you pleasing and timeless results every time... Presenting 10 helpful things to consider while selecting outfits for your engagement session.
1. Plan two outfits.... and a back up!
I tell my couples to plan for two outfits, the first half of the session will be a bit more dress up attire while the other half would be more relaxed and casual. Spring can bring sunshine or showers, or both. It's a good thought to also have a back up outfit or interchangeable pieces planned incase your first two choices wouldn't necessarily go well with a sudden change in weather, or if for some reason a shoe strap broke or you discover a hole/stain while away from home. This leaves you with options and prevents additional stress should something troublesome arise.
*For couples that choose an overlook location in nature where a hike's required, I recommend arriving the day of in comfortable clothes and sneakers to walk in and then changing on location so that you aren't getting all sweaty in your good clothes. Another good idea is to have a travel pack ready to touch up hair and make up once we arrive to the shooting spot. For shorter walks only a change of footwear from sneakers would be necessary.
2. Keep it Equal.
When choosing your outfit for the shoot it's important to keep the formality of each outfit equal between the two of you. One shouldn't have on an evening gown /suite while the other looks like they just came from the gym. This could also apply to one wearing more summer attire while the other has on more winter attire. Let us define what I meant by dressier vs casual in the last section. If you enjoy wearing a black tie suite, though I can certainly relate that it's a good look, not everyone has the ability, so that is not my definition of dressier here. You can consider this to mean something you would wear to church or a family Christmas gathering, a family reunion or birthday party.. A dress or silky blouse would be perfect for the ladies while the men could wear a button up or collared sweater. Causal is more universally on point with your favorite daily wear. This is typically Jeans, a summer dress, solid T-shirt, flannel, ect. If you really only own jeans, consider wearing a blazer or polo shirt for the dressier portion and go for more of a business casual look.
3. Think about the season.
Take advantage of the season you're in by styling a look that's in tune with the climate and location. This also means dressing appropriately for the hot or cold weather so you remain comfortable during the session.
Fall/Winter: Don't be afraid to bundle up with a sweater. My favorite tip is to wear fleece-lined tights under jeans or pants to remain unaffected by cold temperatures. Winter accessories can be really cute too with a scarf or fur/down feather vest with boots. Plus, it makes more sense visually to be dressed for winter if you're being photographed in the snow. Definitely try to layer your outfit!
Spring/Summer: Channel summertime vibes by going barefoot on the beach/lake or sharing an ice cream cone on the streets in sandals and shorts. With flowers in bloom, you can't go wrong with a flowy dress to compliment the organic shape of the petals. Select thin materials to allow air flow and if possible try not to wear skin tight clothing. Sometimes a skirt or dress is a better choice than shorts.
4. Choose a style that is flattering.
Opt for classic styles rather than trendy looks as classic is more flattering and named as such for a reason. Your images will seem timeless this way and prevent you from looking back many years and thinking "why did I ever wear that"! Choosing a style that bests accentuates your body shape can really work wonders as well. Even though as a photographer I know a few poses that help in making everyone look thinner, you will love your images even more when you remember how great you felt in an outfit that totally made you look like a goddess and felt amazing in it. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to give up a certain favorite outfit, when you love something you definitely think of that as first choice in photos, but trust me when I say that the feeling of seeing yourself and knowing how great you LOOK in another style verses one that you LIKE on the hanger trumps my love for that other unflattering style any day.
5. Feel comfortable and like "YOU".
Don't be afraid to show your own personality and let your outfit reflect you as a couple. Remember to focus on your best assets. So you have nice legs? Show them off! Is red lipstick your ? Do it! If you have a four legged family member this is your time to show them off. Remember the propsA lot of couples like to incorporate an element unique to them as well, an example is you both share a love of boating or met/grew up near a marina - they "tied" the knot. Be creative but not "cheesy".
6. Tie the look together with coordination.
The most important thing to remember here is "Coordinating is not matching!" Just like your home, everything shouldn't be the same color. Mix it up with various shades and colors that work well together. If you both love blue then have one of you wear navy while the other wears a baby blue. Add touches of a neutrals for pants, a dress, or shoes to even out the layers. Love colors shoes? Wear a neuteral as to not over shadow what you want to highlight about your outfit. I typically recommend planning your colors like a diagonal when standing next to each other. To explain this a little better, think your shirt should complement his bottoms and vise versa. His outfit would consist of a Navy top with tan chinos. Therefore your top would be a light cream or off-white with blue Jeans. Pick one color and one neutral and stay within the tones of those two colors. Additionally for plaids, pick a color in the shirt and have the other wear a solid of that color.
7. Seasonal colors that photograph the best...
It's important to consider your color choice because you don't want to match the background completely by having on the same color, but you also don't want to look out of place either. Orange is the least photogenic color, while red is the color your eye is drawn to immediately. You don't necessarily want your clothing to be the focus of your photograph when showing friends and family; You want your faces and the love between you to stand out above all. In general, you can typically count on solid neutrals, earth toned, and jewel toned colors will work in most settings. Below are some color recommendations per season.
Spring: Think easter colors, pastels and muted tones. A light peach, mint, or baby green. Tan and white are good neutrals. Avoid too dark of colors (excluding navy- that's good anytime!)
Summer: This is your time for the bright bold colors. An aquamarine, Teal, magenta, bright red, or even yellow. White and a sandy cream are good neutrals. Stay away from orange and grays. The great thing about summer is that the spring color palette also work well for beach scenes or at sunset when the sky is vibrant with multiple colors.
Fall: Fall is my favorite! Dark colors in jewel tones are a perfect pair for this season. Think "Dessert" colors but you don't want to match the changing leaves colors. Deep red and forest or army green with navy blue are great choices. Depending on your scenery definitely consider orange! Avoid yellow and baby colors. Black, white, gray, brown, and tans are all good neutrals.
Winter: Similar to fall and spring we take a few good choices from each. Deep reds and greens, purple, a baby pink, or any blue but baby blue are the best color choices. For neutrals obviously due to the snow, avoid white like its the plague. I'd also avoid black because it will cause too much contrast, but if its all you have you can get away with it using other accessories or layers. Navy and Gray is better than black here!
8. Patterns. How much is too much?
When wearing plaid you should opt to select the larger scaled plaid as the smaller print creates what is called "Moire" in the images and ends up distorting the pattern. The same thing can also occur with some visually woven materials and smaller dotted shirts. Consider incorporating textured fabrics verses patterns so that the pattern is not the focus of the image that the viewers eye is immediately drawn to (think: lace, fur, leather, ruffles, etc.). These elements add a ton of visual texture, which in turn brings more appeal to your images, plus they work well with whatever scenery you decide on.
9. Accessories, Accessories, Accessories - The do's and don'ts.
Choose at least one accessory. Pair a maxi dress with a statement necklace or a sundress with a denim jacket for a sweet look. Accessories, such as a stylish scarf or chunky necklace, can lend oomph to any engagement look. Plus, they're easy to slip on and off, which means you'll be able to style a variety of looks. Adding in at least one accessory per outfit for the ladies, and wearing layers of clothing for the guys, are two things that photograph well because it adds more visual interest to their looks and, as a result, to the images. Accessories is another good way to show off your personal style and/or incorporate elements that are unique and important to you.
10. Don't overthink your makeup...
I CANNOT stress this enough, keep it naturally toned and light and refrain from glitter. This is the perfect opportunity to have your trial with your make up artist for the wedding day. Professionally done makeup makes a huge difference in pictures. Contouring and a little bit of fake lashes goes a long way. Consequently, you will get to see your professional makeup in the final gallery to make sure that you love it. There is no time for a re-do on your wedding day so this is an opportunity you won't want to skip.