For Brides: What to Wear for Your Engagement Session

I 100% understand the stress of trying to plan for a session - so here's some recommendations and guidelines to make choosing your outfits and planning for your session a little easier. 

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I generally recommend shooting in 2 outfits to give your gallery a variety - one casual and one more formal, or one that's simple and neutral and one that is more standout. However, above anything I want you to feel comfortable in what you're wearing! If you've never worn a formal dress and heels in your life, then a photo session is definitely not the time to be glam because you won't feel like yourself and it likely will show in the photos. You will be spending over an hour cuddling and giggling with your babe, and I definitely don't want you to be stressing about how uncomfortable you feel in your outfit. 

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My biggest tips are:

  • Dress for the weather and location - a flowing sundress and heels will look weird in snow covered mountains, and big sweaters and tights will look weird at a beachy location. A t shirt and leggings are perfect for a cuddly in home session, but not so much for a formal session at the Capitol. Just think about the season and location before choosing your outfits.
  • Neutrals are your best friend. My favorite color schemes are the simple ones - denim, white, black, tan, etc. But don't think that this doesn't mean you can't wear color! In addition to those neutrals there is navy, burgundy, mustard, dark green, and so many other colors that photograph beautifully! Just think more muted tones rather than neon colors. Avoid huge, crazy patterns and just stick to smaller prints. 
  • Dress like yourself! While going crazy and getting a bunch of new clothes is always fun, a session is the perfect time to wear your favorite jeans or the dress that you know makes your butt look great or your old leather jacket. Wear what makes you feel confident! Having a camera in your face already isn't naturally the most comfortable thing, so it will distract from your session if you're tugging at clothes that make you feel uncomfortable.

I generally split this up into busy location outfits and simple location outfits. Simple locations generally don't have much going on in the background and are neutral (beach, sand dunes, studios, Utah Capitol building, etc) while busier locations may have more color and much more going on (mountains, downtown locations, red rock, in home sessions). 

Busy Locations

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Busy locations look best when paired with simple outfits. This is your chance to play more with textures and materials. I love mixing simple textures like knitted sweaters, linen, lace, denim, leather, and cotton. Simple outfits with a minimal amount of colors and layers help you shine and be the focus in busier locations like the mountains, greenhouses, busy city locations, blossoms/wildflowers, etc. This is the time to play with small details and accents rather than prints and bold colors.

Need an idea? I love denim paired with whites and tans for a clean and pretty look, or all black for an edgier look. Different shades of neutral colors together (like the taupe, gray, and white above) are perfect as well. 

Want more ideas? Check out my Pinterest board for outfit inspiration:

Simple Locations

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For simple locations, feel free to play more with color and patterns! Generally I recommend having only one of you wearing a pattern and having the other in simpler clothes. I love small floral patterns, gingham, plaid, and stripes, and bolder materials like velvet and big lace patterns. If your location is simple but you still want a variety in your gallery, wear one standout outfit like this, but also bring a simpler outfit that follows the suggestions for busy locations. Bring on the layers and accessories. 

Need an idea? For a formal idea bring a floral dress paired with a simple button up and jeans or chinos. For a more casual option pair a plaid or striped shirt with a graphic t shirt and jeans.

Want more inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board:

I highly recommend hiring an HMUA for your session as well! It's such a good time to test out a hair and makeup artist for your wedding day, and most of them offer a trial run that you can use for an engagement or bridal session. It's relaxing to get pampered for a little, and way less stressful than trying to make your winged eyeliner match on your own while you're in a hurry (we've all been there)!

If you're still a little lost for what to wear for your session after this post, I'm always available to help style you for your session! I love when couples ask me ahead of time for help, and am more than willing to assist. 


Want to schedule a session? Click here to shoot me a message! 

Zandra Barriga