how to choose outfits for engagement pictures

Choosing your outfits for engagement photos doesn’t have to be a painful process. The ultimate goal is to look your best. All of the couples that I work with are regular people, not models or stylists, so with some helpful tips below you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling great during the session.

Select things that show off your style

I encourage couples to pick out items that show off their personal style. You don’t need to go shopping for the latest trends, though you certainly can, to feel like your best self. You probably already know what looks great on you, but I’m always happy to jump on a quick FaceTime call to raid your closet.

Denver fall colors engagement with red maple trees

Coordinate with contrast, but don’t match

You should try and wear pieces that compliment each other as opposed to matching. There are two types of coordination to think about:

1) color palette – select colors that will look great together. Working within a color family or specific hue is a solid way to make your outfits feel like they belong together. For example, a purple dress looks good next to a blue shirt.

2) level of formality or ‘dressiness’ – it’s also important to pair outfits that you would normally see together. For example, if one person is in a suit, a cocktail dress is a great compliment.

Joel kisses Katie in front of Denver's Union Station during their engagement photos during twilight

Bring four to six outfits

If you’re having trouble deciding on what to wear, bring extra options and I can help you decide. Often times the location or the light can affect what might look the best. We will probably shoot in three different outfits so I suggest you bring four to six. We’ll start with your most casual outfit and work our way up to more formal attire.

Accessorize and Layer

Adding accessories to your outfit creates variety and visual interest. Adding a colorful scarf or shoes can completely change your whole look. Layers add depth and style. Jackets, blazers, sweaters or cardigans are all great options to bring along. They’re easy to swap in and out to provide more variety.

Remember to iron/steam your clothes

There is nothing worse you can do than spend an evening with your partner selecting outfits and then stuff them in a giant duffle bag. Nothing defeats the point of a well fitted suit more than a wrinkled one. Take time to iron or steam your clothes. If you are short on time that week, take them to the cleaners. You’ll earn bonus points for giving your leather boots/shoes a quick polish.

Holly and Hayden walk in a grove of aspen trees near Meadow Creek Trailhead in Frisco during their engagement photos

Mountain outfit ideas

If your session is in the mountains select items that represent the environement. While you may love your favorite suit, it can look out of place in the high country. Try toning things down with jeans, brown boots and a flannel. A bold, flowy maxi dress or signature wool coat are some other great options. No matter what you bring, prepare for the weather. If you get cold, it can show in the photos so bring layers. Choose your footwear wisely as we’ll likely be on a trail or rugged terrain for most of the session.

Click through the gallery below for inspiration from past mountain sessions.

A couple poses in plaid flannel shirts during their fall Piney River Ranch engagement in front of the Gore mountain range near Vail Colorado
Jessica wears a red coat while embracing with Mike in the snow at Sapphire Point during their winter keystone engagement
A couple runs in the snow during their winter wonderland engagement in Breckenridge
Maggie holds her purple gown as the alpenglow hits the Gore Range during their engagement photos at Piney Lake
A couple shares a laugh at Maxwell Falls during their Evergreen engagement session
A couple embrace together for a moment as the sun set in Golden Gate Canyon State Park
The couple share a moment during their fall mountain engagmenet near a grove of colorful aspen trees in Frisco Colorado
Loveland Pass engagement at sunset in a red dress
Ryan and Laura embrace during their engagement session at Piney Lake near Vail, Colorado
A couple walk together during their Golden Gate Canyon State Park engagement photos
A couple is reflected in the water during their engagement photos at Officer's Gulch near Copper Mountain Colorado
Paige and Adam share a kiss in an aspen grove in Golden Gate Canyon State Park during their engagement session
Julia and Micah's Frisco Engagement
engagement
Yufan and Sunny share a moment together at Red Rocks amphitheatre during their engagement session
A couple poses in a grove of colorful aspen trees
Moypa picks up Kara on a rock in the pond at St. Mary's Glacier during their engagement session
A couple poses at the Maroon Bells near a grove of yellow aspen trees during their fall engagement session in Aspen, Colorado.
Shane and Cassidy embrace as the sunlight filters through the trees at Sawmill reservoir in Breckenridge during their winter engagement session

City outfit ideas

If you selected the city for your session, chances are that you love to get dressed up for a night on the town. This is your opportunity to show off your most stylish pieces like your favorite pair of jeans, high heels, custom suit or cocktail dress. We’ll be walking plenty so bring a pair of flats to wear between locations.

Click through the gallery below for inspiration from past sessions in the city.

Henry kisses Ewo during golden hour at the Wynkoop Street Bridge in downtown Denver's Lodo neighborhood during their engagement session
Denver couple snuggle during their engagement at Riverfront Park
Bridgeport Art Center Wedding
Danielle and Jordan share a kiss on the platform outside Union Station during their engagement photos in lower downtown Denver
Kelly and Willy walk together after their valentines day proposal in downtown Denver
Alex and Sierra embrace and celebrate their engagement in Denver
Joel kisses Katie in front of Denver's Union Station during their engagement photos during twilight
Danielle and Jordan walk together in lower downtown Denver during their engagement photos
A couple kisses during their downtown Littleton engagement photos
A couple walks together at Union Station in Denver during their engagement photos
16th street engagement photos in Denver
Couple shares a drink to celebrate their engagement in the LoDo neighborhood of Denver
Coza and Joel engoy a beer at Cannonball Creek Brewing Company during their fall Golden engagement
Couple walk and laugh on the Cherry Creek path near the Wynkoop Street Bridge in Denver
Denver Engagement
Katie and Matthew walk together in Civic Center Park
A couple share a moment

Hair & Makeup

This is the perfect opportunity to do a trial before the wedding. Remember that we’ll be outside for the engagement session so heat, humidity and wind can affect your look. Pack whatever you need for quick touch-ups throughout the session.

Things to avoid

You should avoid neon colors, loud patterns, and large logos or words – we’re not shooting an advertisement. Cargo shorts/pants, flip-flops, and baseball style hats should be left at home. If you’re self conscious about your body, make sure to avoid pieces that don’t inspire confidence. If we’re shooting around downtown Chicago, we usually take Lyft between locations and do a lot of walking. If we don’t have a car to stash things in, we’ll need to be able to carry everything. An extra piece or two is fine, but don’t bring the whole closet. Speaking of walking, it’s not uncommon to do 10,000 steps during an engagement session. Wear comfortable shoes, (unless we’re going to the beach). If you have a favorite pair of heels, but aren’t sure about walking across town in them, pack them in a bag and you can swap shoes when we get to a new location.