We’ve heard over and over again how daunting it can be to try and choose an outfit for your engagement session, and we get it. You’ve never done this before! After nearly 10 years of making images of people, we thought it’d be best to gather up a few tips and guidelines to help alleviate some of the pressure and make this the fun and enjoyable experience it already is :)
Full truth — we don’t know much about fashion. We wear jeans & t-shirts 98% of our life so you there’s a solid chance you have better style than us… but regardless… here’s what we’ve found to work best from our years behind the camera.
Take these in stride as they are merely just guidelines (not rules).
Most importantly, we want you to look and feel like YOU! A lot of folks have used this excuse to go shopping for new clothes (which is awesome — and if there is an amazing wardrobe piece that feels like you and you’ve been waiting to splurge on it, go for it!), but believe it or not, we typically recommend bringing clothes you normally wear – those items in your closet you love and feel yourself in. An old t-shirt and worn in jeans? Hell yes. Your favorite sweater and jeans. Yup!
Your engagement session isn’t meant to satisfy Grandma’s fridge. It’s meant to celebrate who you are, right now, together. So, if you’re not used to wearing a dress & heels, or he’s not used to ironing a button up with loafers… don’t force it… you’ll both be happier when you feel like YOU and the images will reflect it.
We always recommend bringing a few options. To make sure we’re making the best possible images, we’ll help pick & pull for the best combo. This will make sure your outfits compliment each other and the environment so that the focus is on you two, not any distractions (which can be your outfits).
All you have to do is make sure you’re bringing items that you’ll feel like Queen B in.
Bring 2-3 pairs of bottoms and 4-5 tops each and we’ll go from there. Then, of course, any accessories, jackets, etc.
Remember – you’ll most likely be changing in the back of the car. If you’re not down with that, we completely understand, and showing up with one outfit will be fine.
CONSIDER THE LOCATION
Like the location, your outfits should be a reflection of you. Think about the conditions and locations we’re going to shooting in and plan around it! If we’re shooting outside in a rural field or hiking through a wooded area, wearing a dress & heals probably won’t make the most sense. If it’s a brisk day, wear layers with warm socks. If it’s Tennessee HOT, bring clothes that you can breath and move in (say no to pit stains!). You get the idea. Be as comfortable as you can!
Hats, sunglasses, scarves, and jewelry are all welcome and add dynamic elements to any shoot. If watches are REALLY your thing, your welcome to wear them, but we like leaving those at home as they can distract from your faces on up-close images. (We’ve found Apple watches to be especially distracting due to the bulkiness of the watch face)
Choose materials that you’ll be comfortable in…not just when considering the temperature, but being able to move around with one another! If you’re wearing your new stiff salvaged denim, sitting and being present with one another will be difficult if your circulation is getting cut off :)
We recommend bringing clothes that are broken in…your go to shirt that you feel most YOU in…after all, the goal is to feel as comfortable as possible.
We recommend sticking with neutrals & earthy tones. Neutrals don’t just mean shades of gray. You can find neutrals of most colors (navy blue, mustard yellow, forest green, etc). Our only request is to stay away from pinks, bright oranges, and reds as it can result in really strange reflections on your skin tones!
Big, loud, chunky patterns or logos can be distracting in your images and we highly recommend avoiding them at all costs.
That said – patterns can be super fun in smaller or subtle ways and there are definitely exceptions. Microdots, heathered t-shirts, and flannels are always OK in our book, but be careful not to mix pairing too many patterns. Ex: if HE is wearing flannel, you might want to wear something solid and neutral.
Let’s get straight to the point – we’re not talking about the cringe-worthy Pinterest photos filled with hobby-lobby props, chalkboards, and railroad tracks. We’re talking motorcycles, blankets, craft beers, an old truck or car, campfires, canoes, etc. If you have props or activities you love doing together, let’s chat about ways to incorporate them into your session!
IN HOME SESSIONS
Consider everything above, but for our in home sessions we’ve found that the more skin showing, the better! This does NOT mean you’re borderline naked…but you’ll look a lot more comfortable and natural in a tank/tee/camisole/etc indoors than if you were in dressed like you’re about to go out for a nice dinner & cocktails or wearing outdoor layers while hanging in your bedroom. We recommend tanks, shorts, sweaters, and jeans to mix and match.
HAIR & MAKE UP
Whatever will make you feel the very best and most like yourself, do that.
We will say this – we’ve had many girls show up to shoots wiping off the caked on makeup and taking out 500 bobby pins a new-to-them makeup and hair artist did because it just doesn’t look like them. But, if you want your hair and makeup done, then definitely do it, because the most important thing is that you feel confident like Beyonce always. If you’re getting hair and makeup done, I recommend you schedule to be done at least an hour before you have to leave for the shoot so you aren’t late. If your session is taking place in/around Nashville, Amanda Paige Gros is AH-MAZING at doing very subtle, natural hair & makeup looks. Lastly, if you’re whiter than toothpaste like me and want a spray tan, be sure to get a suuuuper natural airbrushed spray tan rather than one from a salon/tanning place. We don’t want you looking like an oompa loompa!