What To Wear for Your Engagement Session | Cat Alkire Photography

Tips for Brides

First of all, YAY on your engagement!! I am so excited for you and I hope that wedding planning has been so much fun. So you’ve picked your dream photographer and you’ve scheduled your engagement session and you have no idea what to wear. I’ve put together some tips for you to help pick out what to wear for your engagement session. And the best part – outfit inspiration photos and some things to keep in mind so you can rock that engagement session and feel as confident as ever!

Keep in mind, these outfit ideas best fit my style as a light and airy fine art photographer. But definitely go well in any portrait style! Always feel free to reach out to your photographer to ask for help or just to show them what you’re planning on wearing! It’s fun to see it! So here it goes, my top 10 tips for rocking your engagement session!

1. Coordinate, but don’t match

This can be a tricky one to grasp but one of the most important ones. As you are putting together your outfits, avoid picking the same colors (i.e. both in jeans and a white shirt). Your outfits will look more cohesive together when the colors coordinate but aren’t matchy matchy. It looks a lot better on camera when things don’t match, it adds visual interest. Now, this doesn’t mean clash, it just means you should each aim to wear a different dominant color, but stay within a similar color palette family.

So if you’re wearing a sage green dress, blush earrings and nude heels, an option for him would be a white button up with a slate blue sport coat, khaki pants and brown leather shoes. Maybe even a blush or sage tie. Your dominate color would be sage and his would be slate blue but still incorporate a few touches of your color palette. I recommend choosing what the bride wears first and then base what the groom wears around that.

2. Keep your location in mind

This is another one of the best ways to plan your outfits. You will want to wear something that coordinates and matches your setting. If you are choosing a downtown with grandiose limestone buildings, you might not want to wear jeans and tshirts. You’ll want to wear something dressier, that fits the downtown setting. And the same goes for the beach, skip the heels and go barefoot, and you can still wear a beautiful flowing dress.

3. Avoid Logos and choose patterns carefully

Unless we’re doing a few photos in a sports team shirt at the end of your session I do not recommend big logos on your shirt. It’s distracting and you’re not an advertisement! So stay away from logos and graphics at all costs. And patterns! This is definitely my opinion, but I think small patterns add a nice texture to your outfit without being too distracting or bold. The camera doesn’t pick them up too well but it still looks soft and feminine. Stripes looks nice too, but make sure it’s paired with a solid color and isn’t too busy. Pick things that are staples throughout the years and won’t go out of fashion quickly.

4. Flatter your features

This is a hard one to chat about because it’s always hard talking about insecurities, but in my experience, every woman, regardless of shape, has an area of her body that she is self conscious about. Knowing that in advance is very helpful. It helps you choose flattering styles and colors that compliment you well. It will ensure that you absolutely love how you look in these photos. We are our own worst critics when it comes to things sorts of things.

So, I know when I am having my photos taken, I want to slim my waist, so I will always choose an A-Line Style shirt or dress as opposed to a peplum that accentuates hips. I also want to HIDE my arms, so 3/4 sleeves helps slim the arm. You could also bring a stylish jacket, blazer or cardigan along. Layers always look nice in photos. If you are self conscious about your arms, I suggest finding a style that flatters them and avoid skinny straps.

Heels also look so good in photos. I know they are the literal worst, but they do help elongate your legs and make your posture so much better. Just remember if you have straps, treat yourself to a pedicure, it’s the little things that really make the difference!

For your groom-to-be, fitted articles of clothing are always more flattering than baggy wrinkly clothes. Make sure the clothing fits the way it should and that he is just as happy with how he looks in them as you!

5. Think about a well tailored suit

I mean, I know I am not the only one that swoons at her man when he’s in a well tailored suit. James Bond is an icon for a reason. If he doesn’t have one, it’s a great time to invest in one. Or even a well fitted sport coat. While custom suits can be a bit expensive, and I do recommend a custom tailored suit for the wedding, some really well-known brands have off the rack suits in their stores and they aren’t very expensive. You can’t go wrong with solid navy and gray. But I would avoid pinstripes and plaids.

6. Choose light neutrals and muted shades

I am a huge fan of light neutrals and muted colors for so many reasons. They are flattering on everyone and they help bring attention to your faces and lets the eye focus on the two of you and your love, rather than the clothes you’re wearing. My camera loves shades of soft pinks and blushes, beige, muted blues and sages, grays, leather brown and all shades of ivory and white. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear black, olives or burgundy, but think about pairing it with something softer. Softer color palettes fit into most natural outdoor environments. Please try to stay away from reds and oranges, as these colors reflect on skin.

7. Dress up!

Make taking your engagement photos a unique experience and dress up! It’s a great excuse to doll yourself up and walk into the engagement session feeling like you’re ready for a night on the town. These photos will be shared with future generations and it’s so great seeing your grandparents together, in love, dressed up looking their absolutely best.

Rock that tulle skirt, flower crown, sequin gown you’ve always wanted to but haven’t had a reason to. This is your chance and I honestly don’t beleive that there is a thing as too dressed up for your engagement session. Have some fun! Also, there are so many rental sites for dresses if you don’t want to break the bank but you want to wear something fabulous. Rent the Runway is a great option for designer clothes on a budget!

I am a big fan of flowy dresses and skirts. They look fantastic in photos and adds movement. It also helps with the “where do I put my hands” question. And they look great everywhere! From the beach, to a field, to a vineyard and everything in between. Sophisticated, shorter-length dresses photograph amazingly as well. Dresses and skirts look fantastic in photos because they compliment the female body so well. I would always advise a dress or two for your session!

8. Accessorize!

When it comes to engagement photos have fun! Accessorizing helps pull everything together to give your look some polish. It’s how it goes from Facebook worthy to Magazine worthy. Necklaces, rings, bracelets, scarves in the fall/winter, a fun hat. The possibilities are endless and this is really where you can let your personality shine a little bit.

9. Two Outfits

I love sessions with 2 outfits. I always recommend starting the session in your dressy outfit and then changing mid way through to your more “casual” one. So much variety and it’s fun to see a couple different looks!

10. Be Yourself!

The most important tip I can give is to be yourself. Wear something that reflects you. All of the outfit tips are just ways to elevate your style. If you hate wearing short dresses, don’t wear one in your photos just because you think it looks good on others. You want to be comfortable. And you want to feel confident. So wear styles that you know you like, are flattering to you and think of ways to elevate your look.



Some sessions require a fair bit of walking. So if you’re wearing heels I suggest bringing some flats to change into for when we are walking between photo spots. It will save your feet big time.

I hope these tips were helpful as your plan your engagement session! And I hope you found some great inspiration in the outfits. Always feel free to consult with your photographer about outfits! And if I am your photographer, send me all your outfit inspiration and outfits! I LOVE seeing them and helping guide you.

For more inspiration, here are my pinterest boards for outfit ideas:

Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration
Fall/Winter Outfit Inspiration

Mar 5, 2021

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