What do I wear for an engagement shoot? | Outfit Tips

By, October 26, 2017

It’s a question many couples ponder as they prepare for their engagement photo session. What do we wear? Bright colors or muted tones? To match or not to match? Should we go casual, elegant or creative? All it really takes are three simple principles! Here are our suggestions:

  1. Stay true to you. Your shoot is a great opportunity to express your shared interests, personality and style. Wear outfits that reflect who you are as individuals, and also as a couple.
  2. Coordinate (not match). Whether your outfit choice reflects a love of the outdoors, going out for cocktails, or chilling at the beach, your mate should be wearing something with a similar vibe. We suggest though to not wear matchy outfits though. Most people don’t go out together wearing the exact same thing. If you want the shoot to be more believable, find commonality within your outfits, but don’t duplicate them.
  3. Keep it clean. Overly casual choices, like t-shirts with a lot of graphics, are not the most aesthetically pleasing. If patterns and prints are your thing, it is recommended that you opt for clean and consistent patterns.

Join us as we explore a few couples who put these simple principles into action, and see how they did it.

A young couple enjoying the sunshine
Fashionable couple overlook downtown.
Not quite sure which outfit expresses you best? Follow Brittani and Johnny's lead, and plan enough time for a wardrobe change. To the left we see a sexy-chic approach, much like their location of choice, The Ultimate Skybox. On the right, we see completely different cool look and style.
A lover's embrace
Engaged couple tailgate on campgrounds.
Staying true to their mutual love of nature, Lauren and Sean chillaxed outdoors, while sporting casual and coordinated threads
Examples of what to wear for portrait session
Couple kissing in park
Christina and Eric decked out in modern fashion for a day in Balboa Park. Christina's chevron stripes provided a simple, clean flair to their chic look.
Couple cozies up under cactus
Couple kissing amidst palm trees.
As we see from Xochitl and William's shoot at Scripps Seaside Forum, an engagement session is an opportunity to capture your love of a night out on the town, as well as for each other!
Happy couple playing on the beach.
By incorporating both La Jolla's upscale shopping district and the casual vibe of the Scripps Pier, Mahta and Kamran went for completely different looks within the same shoot!

Check out full galleries of our engagement photo shoots


Engagement Photo Shoot Ideas and Tips

By, December 12, 2014

When it’s time for your engagement shoot, you’ll likely have questions. Well, we have you covered! By following just a few tips from our photography professionals, you’ll get the most out of your engagement session. We have broken it down into five key elements to consider when planning your engagement photo shoot.

  1. What to Wear

    The number one question we get is how to dress for the shoot. We encourage couples to be true to themselves. It’s unlikely that you walk around matching in real life, so coordinating blue jeans and a white shirt can tend to feel forced or contrived. Let your outfits balance each other out, and feel free to embrace color – it brings out a lively energy in your photos!

    Also, it’s a good idea to have a couple of outfits ready to swap out. For example, you can incorporate one casual outfit, and another dressier look, like you are going out on a nice date together. Be careful of clothes being too baggy. We love a nice flowy top, but no matter your shape, keeping it on the form-fitting side tends to look more flattering in the photographs. If you plan on incorporating outfit changes, you’ll want to ensure you have booked sufficient photo shoot time. For example, typically 1 hour=1 outfit, 1.5 hours=up to 2 outfits, etc.

    examples of how to dress for engagement shoot

  2. Location, Location

    When choosing the perfect location for your engagement shoot, we suggest identifying a place with a lot of diverse environments. This will ensure that you get a nice variety of backgrounds in your photos. Having different backdrops within 200 yards of each other helps to keep the photo shoot fun and exciting, as one area flows into the next. When destinations are spaced far apart, this can actually add unnecessary time to your shoot, and it’s much easier to smile for an hour versus three hours. If you don’t have a place in mind that has multiple background options, we have our own favorite locations, and are happy to provide suggestions.

    photos of unique engagement shoot locations

  3. To Prop or Not

    As photographers and artists, we look at everything as a prop. Instead of toting around objects, and working them into the shoot, we prefer to bring the environment into play. For example, a park bench can be turned into a prop – you can stand on it, sit on top of it, or jump off of it. Using the environment ensures that the picture will be more interesting and spontaneous. If you do choose to include a prop, we recommend that it have personal meaning to your relationship. Otherwise, it may become gimmicky or dated over time.

    02 Props

  4. Hair & Makeup

    If someone else is doing your hair and makeup, just remember that it is important that you look like “you.” By staying true to your look, you are much more likely to love your photos in twenty years. If you do choose to do professional hair and makeup for your shoot, see if you can arrange your pre-wedding makeup trial for earlier in the day. It’s a great way to get a little extra bang for your buck! Also, we suggest telling the makeup artist that your shoot is 30-45 minutes earlier than the actual time. That way, if things run late, we are still able to capture the perfect light for your shoot.

    It’s also common to want to spray tan before getting in front of the camera, especially in the winter months. We totally understand! The secret to a spray tan is to make it look like a natural glow. Our recommendation is that if you do tan, to go for the lowest level.

    natural looking hair and makeup for engagement shoot

  5. Relax!

    Ultimately, what will make the best pictures are the interactions between the two of you. If you can embrace the fun, stay open minded to ideas and enjoy the moment with your future spouse, you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. For example, certain pictures that you may have thought would turn out silly may end up being your favorites.

    A key part of the creative process is trying certain shots, and getting to know you as a couple throughout the session. It will often take photographing ten pictures to get that one really special image. The more willing you are to relax and put your trust in us, the better it will come across on camera.

    example of relaxed couple on engagement shoot

Now that you know our engagement shoot tips, be sure to check back each day as we highlight some of the best locations to take engagement photos, right here on our blog. We’ll be sharing the inside scoop from a photographer’s perspective, including a fresh take on well-known spots, and a few hidden gems. See you tomorrow!

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