What to Wear Guide
The biggest question we get regarding engagement sessions, senior portraits and family portraits is “What should we wear?!” That is why we have created this little guide to help you style your session.
- Coordinate colors. Start out with a basic color palette and go from there. It can help to have one special shirt or clothing item in the photos who carries a pattern in their outfit that the rest of the group’s clothing or accessories pulls from, while keeping everyone else’s outfits more simple. You can do this with a neutral and a few colorful brights, or try a softer palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shades. Pick out a few color pops to coordinate between subjects when working with a palette of softer tones or neutrals.
- Coordinate styles. We want the same lever of dressy. If one person is in jeans and a tee, the other person will look silly in a cocktail dress.
- Wear solids or simple patterns. Don’t over do it with the patterns. Solid dark colors are the most flattering.
- Stick to more fitted clothing. Anything hanging off your body (baggy) will make you look bigger than you are and look messy.
- Accessorize … and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first … the accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage.
- Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers … unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session.
- Talk with me (Stephanie) about the locations you will be shooting at so they can give specific recommendations. You could ask Kevin his opinion on your outfits, and I know from personal experience he will tell you, “Nice!”
- Variety is the spice of life! It is always best to bring a few different outfits so that you can change for your specific location. Our couples typically bring an outfit change depending on the locations and how much time we have.
- Remember details! Your hands and feet will also be in photos, so make sure you have a fresh coat of polish on and guys have clean hands.
- Make sure you chose outfits that you won’t mind looking at for years. Choose clothing that is timeless and make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends).
- Be Comfortable. We have all done it. Bought a dress or shirt that you love but the whole time you wear it you can’t stop thinking about how it rides up or you can’t sit down. If you feel uncomfortable, you will look uncomfortable. No matter what you choose, make sure you can cross your arms comfortably without the shoulders riding up.
What Not to Wear
- Bright white matching shirts and Khakis
- Tops with big logos or writing on them – keep it clean and classy.
- Shirts with short hemlines and mid-drifts. Dress for your shape.
- Super Short skirts.
- Exact matching outfits. Look coordinated, not matching. White shirts and jeans don’t have much personality and your session is your time to let your personality shine.
- Avoid cowl-necks and other floppy necklines
Another fun way to make your session unique and fun is to bring props. For example, some fun props are:
- A “Thank You” or “Save the Date” sign on a poster-board for personalized thank you and save the date cards.
- Instruments you play
- Balloons (or one big balloon!)
- Anything else that makes your relationship unique or that is special to you.
Makeup and Hair
- Go slightly brighter/heavier on your cheeks, eyes, and lips than you normally would. Make-up tends to look much more toned down in photos so in order for it to look like you are wearing any at all you need to go slightly heavier and colors that have a tiny bit more pop. You may even want to have it professionally done for engagement photos. It is a great time to test out how you will wear it for your wedding day!
- Stick to matte make-ups unless you really know what you are doing. It is super easy for shiny/glittery/shimmery makeup to reflect light and make you look oily (or spotty) in a photo. So stick to a nice matte finish powders and eye shadows for flawless looking skin