I love stylish folks! I am absolutely not the most stylish, but I sure do admire the style of others. And what’s more, there are so many different kinds of cool styles out there. I know it’s tough to figure out what to wear for your engagement photos. Whatever your style is, I’m on board if it’s you. Don’t try to be a hipster if you’re not. Don’t try to go boho if it makes you go boohoo. Wearing the things you love is my greatest tip for looking good. Aside from checking out my Portrait Styling Ideas Pinterest board, you may want to check out the following tips when fretting over what to wear. TLDR? Wear what you dig.
01. Wear clothing that makes you feel good about yourself
You’d think this is a no-brainer, but time and time again, people contact me, worried about what will clash, what will photograph well, what is most flattering. The truth? You are overlooking the most important question. What makes you feel good about yourself? Only you can decide what is most flattering on you, and that almost always comes from what you like in the mirror. Because when you like how you look, you feel good. And when you feel good, you look great! The truth is that WAY too much emphasis is often put onto the clothing people wear for their shoot. It’s so much better when you focus on the fun you are going to have and come up with a great activity to do in order to have a great time.
02. Prints and patterns are rad, over-coordination is not
I’ve heard people say avoid prints, and in my very experienced eyes, that’s silly. People look GREAT in prints! If you have a print you love, flaunt it. Mixing patterns is awesome, too! Don’t worry too much about trying to match. The days of the Sears catalog are long gone, my friends (I hope). Families and couples look most natural and like themselves when NOT elaborately matching. While looking loosely coordinated is great, unless there is a specific color clash, I encourage you to let each member of your group wear something that makes them happy. Lead kids toward something that YOU will be happy to hang on your wall, of course, but don’t require a blue jeans and white shirt dress code. Neutrals are always a great bet, too, but as seen above, even when choosing simple or plain items, it looks great when you’re not overly matchy-matchy.
03. Black and white aren’t miraculous
I photograph couples in white or in black ALL the time, so please take this with a grain of salt: black is not the magical perfect solution everyone seems to swoon over. I’m not saying it’s unflattering, but where you have been led to believe it’s slimming, it’s actually just so dark people can’t really see light and shade, and your shape essentially disappears. Black and white both read somewhat flatly: without dimension. So I tend to recommend that if black or white are your faves, choose clothing with texture or details that give them dimension (in the photos above, all outfits use texture, pattern, or layers to create interest so that it’s not a flat block of bright white or dark black). Don’t get me wrong, black is great and you are definitely welcome to wear whatever makes you feel faboo! Choose pieces that you feel flatter you, of course. But do focus on choosing colors that are personality-flattering—wear the things that define your style!
04. Watch out for your underthings
Yup, I mentioned your unmentionables. Nuisances to your photos that you might not consider in advance? Bra straps and pantylines. Not to mention textured bras—those are trouble. When you pick your outfit, makes sure to coordinate your unders with your overs!
05. Old is the new black
I’ve had clients buy new outfits on the same day of our shoot, and you can bet they weren’t too comfortable in those outfits yet. Something you’ve never worn is unfamiliar and highly likely to make you uncomfortable. If you buy something new for a shoot, be sure to wear it in first, so it feels familiar and comfy. Yep, wear it, wash it, get used to that sucker. That said, I encourage you to raid your closet for what you already have. Picking something you’ve worn before, felt good in, and have been complimented on is a sure way to feel good for our shoot!
06. Wear something you can move in
If it’s too tight, too short, too wobbly, or too anything, you might want to rethink it. Choosing something comfortable enough for you to move around in is a top priority. Something that only looks good from one angle is not going to do you any favors from all the other angles we shoot!
07. Accessories are your friend
They can turn a simple outfit into a snazzy one, dress jeans up, dress a dress down… accessories help tell a story about your style. In the above image, both members of this couple brought their own charming style forward, particularly thanks to their accessories. I encourage people to get playful with their details, especially if they help to bring a pop of color or intrigue to an otherwise simple look.
08. Wear Sunscreen (in the weeks before the session)
Having too much fun in the sun within the week or two of your session is a risk. Showing up with a sunburn or tan lines might really affect your style and certainly may affect your outfit choices. If you want your look to be flawless, a good place to start is ensuring your skin isn’t getting into tomato territory!
If this article helped to power you up so you can totally dig your photoshoot, please let me know in the comments below, or better yet, share it with others!