Marcela Pulido is a Portland Oregon wedding photographer capturing the candid, emotional, and playful moments of your wedding day. Serving the Pacific Northwest and the surrounding areas, and available for travel worldwide. You deserve damn good photos.
What To Wear for Engagement Photos
You got proposed to, you’re planning a sick wedding and now you need some photos to send out your Save the Dates. But now comes the question that I know I personally both enjoy and simultaneously pains me, “What do I wear for engagement photos?!” Well, don’t you worry, babe. Because I gotchu.
Engagement sessions are a super fun way for you to spend some time with your photographer so you’re not absolute strangers on your wedding day. It also gives you a chance to get to see what their process is like. This shoot is entirely about YOU.
So I’ve compiled a list of some helpful little tips to get you set up for success.
Here we go!
01. Wear clothes that you feel like yourself in.
When it comes to what to wear for engagement photos, this one’s a doozy and I think the most important. You don’t want to feel like you’re wearing a costume during the session. The easiest way to do this is simply to pick out clothes from your own closet, duh. Pick out some of your favorite items that you feel fabulous in and that are worn in. You don’t want to pick out something new only to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious the whole shoot. That being said, I also personally love shopping so I mean if this is your excuse to go and treat yourself to something you’ve been eyeing then by all means, you do you boo.
Some great places to check out are:
ThredUp (for secondhand items of your favorite brands!)
02. Make sure it makes sense
Take into consideration the environment we’ll be shooting in and the season. If it’s cold out you’ll definitely want to be bundled up in layers to keep warm and if it’s hot out then put on your bathing suits and let’s go swimming! Seriously, doesn’t that sound like so much fun?
But if we’re going hiking for your session, wear your most fashionable hiking gear! Are we staying around town? Keep it casual and natural.
03. Bring multiple outfits!
I always like to tell my clients to bring two outfits: something more casual but cute, something you might wear to a lowkey date night and then a more elegant outfit. Does this make sense in the environment? Nah. Does this negate my previous tip? Totally, but let’s ignore that for a minute. Doesn’t matter where we are, a long and flowy or tulle skirt is going to look extremely badass billowing in the wind and gives us something to play with. Which leads me to my next tip…
04. Bring some props
Now, I don’t mean sign boards or anything like that. Props can be hit or miss because we don’t necessarily want to go too cheesy. Props can mean like bringing a champagne bottle to pop for that super fun “we’re celebrating!” shot or even setting up a picnic on location.
If you want to do a fancy picnic I would HIGHLY recommend hiring Arinda from Luxe Picnics PDX! I cannot recommend her enough! She helped style a Parisian Style Picnic in Portland recently and thrifted specialty pieces to fit the scene AND brought all the fancy charcuterie snacks and macarons. It was such a delightful way to spend the shoot!
But props can also mean accessories! Personally, I’m a big fan of hats. Seriously, ask to see my hat collection sometime. So if you are too then please bring your hat! People never know what to do with their hands (*ahem* Ricky Bobby) and besides using them to love all up on your significant other sometimes it helps to have a prop to play with as well, whether they be a hat, a picnic scene, your motorcycle, sunglasses, a scarf, or heck, even your dog!
(Please bring your puppers, I’m all about it).
05. What colors to wear and to avoid
Colors are a big thing! Generally speaking you want to avoid neon because it can be too distracting and doesn’t photograph quite so well. Orange is the least photogenic color so avoid that, and red of course draws in your attention. Mustard yellow looks beautiful against a lush, green backdrop! Overall, pastels and neutral, earthy tones work beautifully.
06. Coordinate, don’t match
You want your outfits to make sense and complement one another, but that doesn’t mean it has to be super matchy matchy. Look for complimentary colors and patterns, try to avoid anything that’s too busy as it can be distracting. That being said, if you’re super into fashion and personally love wearing bright prints and colors on the daily then EMBRACE IT! Sometimes rules are meant to be broken!
Avoid wearing anything too loud and abrasive as it’ll distract from your face. Smaller and more subtle patterns tend to work nicely. That being said, if you’ve got a loud sense of style and that’s entirely you then by all means, go off. I love to see it!
08. Hair and make up
Sometimes people wonder if they should have their hair and make up professionally done and there’s really no right or wrong answer to this. But what it does come down to is you feeling comfortable. If you’re not used to wearing a lot of makeup you might end up feeling a little uncomfortable, and that’s not ideal. But if you love to glam it up then go for it! Really you just want to make sure you feel the most like yourself, at your most elevated and confident.
09. in-home sessions
Wanting to do an in-home session? Then let’s do it! But the wardrobe again has to fit the scene. That means, let’s show a little skin and get intimate with it! No, ya don’t have to get naked ya pervs. (Unless you want those super steamy photos in which case then YES!) But I do mean get cozy and feel comfortable, whether that’s in some mixture of shorts, jeans, or sweaters, or an oversized tee shirt with undies and high socks with your shirtless bae. Get cute with it!
10. Get inspired by the classics
If all else fails, keep it simple, classic and elegant. The photos above and below are from a session with a couple who was inspired by French Cinema, so they kept their outfits monochromatic, timeless, with a pop of red for emphasis!
The beauty of an engagement session is that it’s all about YOU, and you can truly make it your own! Do you love surfing and want to do a surf session on the coast? Done. An avid mountaineer who wants a mountain backdrop? Let’s do it. Or are you a sneakerhead who loves streetwear and prefers the city? Anything goes, it’s YOUR day!
Please let me know if you’ve got any questions!
Still not sure about what to wear for your engagement photos? Just reach out to me, silly! Feel free to send me some outfit pics and choices and I’ll help you make a decision based on where we’re going. As always, I’m happy to be a resource to you and I look forward to our engagement session together! 🙂