June 21, 2019

Tips on what to wear to your engagement (or lifestyle) shoot

“What should we wear?!? Haallpppp!” This is one of the most commonly asked questions/concerns I get when clients are preparing for an upcoming shoot. I get it— I’ve been on the other side of the camera trying to plan outfits and it’s not easy (I feeeel you, friend— the outfit struggle can be so real). You might have a gazillion pins saved on Pinterest, but you don’t know where to begin & how to make sure your outfits look good together in photos. This is not the end all be all when it comes to outfit planning, but I thought I’d pass along some of my thoughts on what to keep in mind while planning out your looks. Keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken, so don’t take this too literally. 😉

General rules of thumb 

+ Be you. Wear what makes you feel like your BEST self. That is all. Moving on. 

+ Complimentary outfits are good— super matchy-matchy is not (unless you’re going for the 1995 Christmas card photo look. OR if you’re Brittany Spears & J.T… then by allll means— do. you!). There are exceptions to this— I’ve seen a textured white dress on a gal pair super nicely with a solid white shirt on their partner. When planning complimentary outfits— pay attention to the colors/tones, patterns, textures, how the fabric drapes, etc. 

+ Keep in mind that color often reflects color. What I mean by this is if you wear a super bright blue shirt & the light is hitting it- it might bounce a blue-toned light onto your skin (or your partner’s), causing skin tones to look a little off. This is why I often suggest more toned down, earthy/natural & more neutral colors.

Engagement Photo in Minneapolis, MN
Engagement photo outfit ideas
Engagement photo outfit ideas

+ If one of your outfits has a pattern- I suggest keeping the other outfit more simple. Imagine if one of you were wearing polka dots & the other big ol’ stripes— it might be a bit distracting. Speaking of patterns— smaller patterns are much less distracting than large, chunky patterns. Small patterns are often more flattering as well. 

+ Don’t be afraid to be bold & try that fun outfit you’ve been eyeing for months (helllooo Rent the Runway!). This is the time to have fun & experiment a little. Most clients typically wear 2 outfits (some even do 3), so you can play it “safe” with one & try something different for the other. Have fun with it & don’t worry too much about having everything be perfect.

+ Comfort wins every time (IMO!). We’re going to be moving quite a bit during the shoot, so choose an outfit that you don’t feel too restricted in.

Minneapolis Sunset Engagement Photos
Maternity photo outfit ideas

Accessories & Shoes

+ SHOES. I am 100% a bare-footed kinda gal, so I might ask you to remove your shoes if it feels right in the location, BUT if you’re going to wear shoes (which, ya know, a lot of people do) I suggest not wearing super tall heels or a pair of kicks that is super uncomfortable. We might be walking around a decent amount and I would hate for you to get blisters. Also heels often sink into the ground. And if you’re anything like me— there’s a high percentage that you’ll roll your ankle by the end of the night. For the guys— try to avoid tennis shoes that look like workout shoes. You’re more than welcome to wear sneakers, but maybe not the ones that have sweat stains on them.

+ Let’s chat accessories. Bringing a few accessories will let you quickly switch up your look without having to completely change outfits. Maybe you bring a hat or sunglasses. Maybe you switch up your jewelry or add a killer neck scarf or headband. This isn’t necessarily an “accessory”, but maybe you bring a jacket, sweater or shawl that you can put on & remove easily to switch up your look.

Family photo outfit ideas
Engagement photo outfit ideas

Seasons & Locations

+ Take the shoot location into consideration when planning your outfits. If we’re shooting in a green forest, maybe avoid wearing the color green. If we’re shooting in an already busy city-scape, maybe avoid super busy patterns. 

+ Outfits obviously have to change as seasons do, especially here in the Midwest. During the winter months— don’t forget those layers! We can layer up if necessary. Consider bringing a cute winter coat that you can easily put on & take off. In the summer— have fun with flowy outfits. Also keep tones/colors in mind based on the season. 

+ In-home shoots are meant to be comfortable & relaxed. Wear something that reflects that. Ideas would be baggy sweaters, jeans & a plain tee, cute sweats, etc. 

Fall engagement photo outfit ideas
Winter engagement outfit ideas
In-home engagement outfit ideas
In-home engagement photo outfit ideas

Other tips & thoughts

+ If we’re shooting at sunset, save your favorite outfit for last. 

+ Feel free to bring multiple options and we can pick & choose what looks good together based on location, weather that day, etc. 

+ Check my lil Pinspiration board for allll things outfits here. This will give you a great idea of what types of colors, textures, patterns, etc. might look good together.

+ Above all, wear what makes you happy and confident. in the end, that is the most important thing. Always always always!!!

If you’re struggling with finding outfits- here are some great places to check out. Although don’t feel like you need to purchase all new items- I’m sure you have some awesome options already in your closet just waiting to be worn. 🙂

+ Lulus


+ Rent the Runway (couldn’t recommend this more for things like this!)

+ Urban Outfitters

+ Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack

+ Target (for everyting in life…)

+ Free People

+ Madewell (BEST JEANS EVER)

+ Henly

+ Show me your mumu

+ Anthropologie 

+ Vetta Capsule

And just for funsies… maybe don’t take tips from these humans.

Yiiiiikes! Hahahha I hope this post will be helpful as you put outfits together. Remember- comfort & confidence are the two most important things. And in no time you’ll be feeling like this.

If you want more session tips- check out this post about how to make your shoot unique to you.




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I am a Minneapolis, Minnesota wedding & lifestyle photographer, kindness spreader and storyteller for laid-back, free-spirited souls who are looking for an adventure— no matter how big or small. Browse my site to learn more. I can’t wait to meet you!