We’re going to let you in on a little secret. There’s a science to picking out your engagement photo outfits. I know, know. That sounds a little crazy, right? It can’t possibly be that complicated. I’ll give it to you straight. Picking out your engagement outfit is not and should not be complicated, but it takes knowing a few key tips to get it right.
We’ve all seen the photos of the couple who has decided to go the matching route, both of them sporting the same color and pattern during their engagement photos. We’d be lying if we said it didn’t come off as cheesy and a little strange. Chances are, that’s not how the two of you typically dress anyways, so why would you look that way in your engagement photos?
Or you may have seen the couple who’s sporting workout sneakers and graphic tees during their engagements. Or the couple wearing bright neon colors that are practically visible from space. And while it’s super easy to point out what not to do, figuring out how to do things well can be a little more confusing. As adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographers, we make it a point to guide our couples into picking out engagement outfits that feel like them, and we’re here to help you do the same. With these three easy principles, you should be well on your way to rocking it during your engagement session.
Before you even begin searching for the perfect outfits for your engagement photos, you’ll want to give some thought to where the session will be taking place. If you’re having an adventure session in a national park, we’d highly recommend against wearing four inch heels with your dress. Instead you could opt for a pair of boots with decent traction to navigate the hiking trails during your photo session. That’s not to say you can’t dress formally when going on an adventure session, however. Many of our couples wear formal outfits in places like these. However, for example, most girls will opt for flowy dresses instead of ones that are fitted, because they’re so much easier to run, dance and hike in.
On the other hand, if your engagement session is happening on a classy city rooftop at sunset, you may opt for a slightly more formal look — something that’ll complement the location. You could totally wear that fitted dress and heels. Or you can go the full suit route if you’re feeling up to it. The rule of thumb we like to use? Imagine it’s a stranger getting their engagement photos taken at this spot instead of you. If they wore the outfits that you’ve selected would they look strange and out of place? Or do their outfit choices complement the location? Your engagement clothing selection can absolutely contrast the location you’ll be photographed at, but it needs to do so in a way that makes sense. Heels in a national park? That just doesn’t add up. Sneakers on a yacht? Nope.
This one has the ability to make or break your engagement outfit selection, but it’s the one that most couples don’t usually think of. You’ll want to take color temperature into consideration when selecting your engagement outfits. Warmer colors include red, yellow, and orange, and some shades of green. Cooler colors include blue, purple, and other shades of green.
This will help create a cohesive and consistent look between the two of you and your engagement location in the photos. You could choose a color palette that is exclusively made up of warm colors for a session that takes place in a cool color temperature location (e.g. a mountain lake during blue hour). On the other hand, you can go for cooler color temperature clothing for a session happening in a warm color temperature location (e.g. the deserts of Moab, Utah in a place like Canyonlands National Park or Arches National Park). Notice how the couple in the photo above are wearing blue (a cold temperature color) in a place that is very warm in tone?
Personally, we’re suckers for black and white clothes. They never detract from the subject of the photos (the two of you!), but they can make anyone look classy. Black and white engagement outfits can work for an outdoorsy engagement session or adventure session just as well as they work for a city session. This is the combination that literally never goes out of style, and it’s sure to flatter.
Oh and one last little thing. As adventure elopement and adventure wedding photographers, helping our couples navigate the waters of engagement session planning and wedding planning is our specialty. We pride ourselves on being the go-to resource for our couples while they plan their adventure weddings, so if that sounds like something you’d love, we’d love to be a part of your next adventure.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
Empowering You To Have Your Adventure Elopement, Your Way
Colorado Elopement Photographers + Adventure Wedding Photographers