Picking the Perfect Engagement Session Outfits

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned over the years about clothing combinations, color pallets, and engagement session photography and compiled it into this helpful article. Read on to discover how to pick your engagement session outfits in 6 easy steps.

A couple stands together on a rock outcropping during their engagement session in Ponderosa State Park. There are pine trees behind them. This couple wore green and blue toned engagement oufits.

Here are 6 tips to help you pick your engagement session outfits!

Tip 1: Wear Clothing You’re Comfortable In

What you choose to wear for your photos will have a big influence on your mood. You want to pick clothing that makes you feel beautiful and that you can move in easily. What you wear for your engagement session should also be something you would wear outside of a photo session because you will feel more confident in it. For example, don’t go buy a romper for your photos, unless you wear rompers or jumpsuits in your everyday life. You will feel most beautiful in clothing that is true to your vibe and lifestyle.

A couple sits together on the edge of the Salmon River at dusk.

If you do go shopping for a new outfit for your engagement photos, take it for a test drive before your session. Wash it, make sure it fits comfortably and wear it for a few hours. If you love how it makes you feel, then wear it for your session!

Tip 2: Start with Your Outfit & Then Build Your Partners

Unless matchy-matchy is something that represents your relationship, you want to avoid matching each other. Instead you want to complement each other. Start by choosing your outfit then take a color or two from your outfit and include it in your partner’s. The image here is an example of this. Her dress was the starting point for their outfit. The green from her dress was brought into his outfit with a green over shirt. His blue jeans also complement the blue strips in her dress. The goal is to use colors to bring your outfits together.

A couple walks together holding hands in a snowy courtyard at Shore Lodge in McCall. They are wearing blue toned outfits and laughing as they walk. There is snow on the ground and on the trees in the background.

Pendleton blankets are a great resource to use when picking out outfits and colors. Pendleton knows how to combine colors! Look through their website and notice what colors they pair together and what type of pattern those colors are in. I often use Pendleton inspiration when I’m pick out outfits for my own family photos.

Accessories are an easy way to bring colors across outfits. Shawls, hats, cardigans, earrings, and necklaces are all items that can be used to make a couples outfit feel cohesive. In the photo below, she wore a yellow shirt to match the yellow in the lantern light. This is a good example of how you can incorporate photo props into your outfit colors.

A couple stands together holding lanterns at dusk. This couple had engagement photos taken in Riggins, Idaho.

Hanging up your outfits and looking at them from a distance is helpful too. Do the colors go together? Does the outfit as a whole feel cohesive? Are there any colors or patterns that are distracting?

Tip 3: Keep Patterns & Prints to One Person

Patterns and prints should be kept to one person. When two people are wearing different patterns in the same frame, your eye doesn’t know what to look at first and the result is a distracting subject in a pretty image. The image here is an example of a good way to use a pattern. He wore a patterned shirt with jeans. She wore a solid colored dress in a color that was in his patterned shirt. Her stonewash jean jacket also brings out the blues and whites in his shirt.

A woman leans on her partner and makes eye contact with the camera. The couple is wearing blue toned clothing for their engagement session in cascade, Idaho.

Larger patterns tend to photograph better than small, tight patterns. The above example is a larger print pattern. This is an example of a small print pattern that doesn’t photograph well.

Tip 4: Think Shades of Primary Colors

When you are choosing outfits try to keep your color palate in the shadows of primary colors. Think burnt orange, instead of pumpkin orange. Navy blue, instead of sky blue. Burgundy, instead of brick red. Black and grays always photograph nicely. If you want a little extra help choosing colors that work well together, go to the paint section of a hardware store and look at paint samples or look at wool blankets. Most wool blankets are printed in a complementary color palate.

A couple stands in the Village at Tamarack Lodge during their engagement session in McCall. He is kissing her cheek and she is smiling.

It’s also a good idea to think about how your color palate will mesh with your location. Earthy tones photograph nicely in nature because they fit into almost any background. Shades of blue are another nice color tone that does well with nature because there are a lot of blues present in the sky, water, and trees. If you are having your session on a beach or in the snow bold colors will contract nicely against a monotone background.

Tip 5: Dress for Your Engagement Session Activity

Dressing to match your engagement session activity is kind of a no brainer but you want to make sure you are dressed appropriately for whatever you are planning to do. If you are hiking make sure you have hiking boots, weather appropriate outerwear and a backpack. Choosing adventure appropriate clothing that is photogenic is important too! Avoid neon and bright colored activewear. Try to choose shirts and jackets that aren’t branded with words or logos.

A couple stands together on a ridge with mountains behind them. This couple wore nice looking hiking cloths for their engagement session in the mountains of Stanley, Idaho.

If you are adventuring for your activity, dress in nice looking activewear for hiking and then change into your engagement session outfits when you arrive at your location. Doing this will give you nice looking hiking photos and keep your session outfit clean for photos at your location. You can then hike back in your engagement outfit and stop along the way for photos on the trail.

Tip 6: Choose Weather Appropriately Clothing

Always dress to be warm and dry first! Weather appropriate clothing can be taken off for photos and put back on to warm up or to stay dry. Layers are your best friend if you’re photographing in freezing temperatures! Wear leggings. Get those peel and stick body warmers and hand warmers. Bring raincoats and umbrellas if its raining. Be prepared and your time outdoors will be way more enjoyable!

Closing Thoughts on Engagement Session Outfits

I think the key here is to not over think it! Pick 1-2 outfits you like and just go have fun hanging out with each other and having your photos taken.

Interested in other engagement session resources?