The Engagement Dress Code

When I get a call or email from a couple asking about an engagement session, there is always a very specific sequence of events that ensue. First, I tell them my prices and then do a little happy dance to myself. Second, the couple tells me that they’d love to hire [In the perfect world in my head] me and then every couple asks: “What should we wear?!” Well, today I’m going to do myself and all you lovely couples a favor and create a blog post on this very topic! This way, Mr./Mrs. Reader, if you are ever in a couple photography situation, you can feel like a baller because you won’t even need to ask!

So what to wear?! It seems like such a daunting question. This is your one engagement session after all and it cannot be redone! One chance to make it happen. And if you’re hiring the same photographer for your wedding as you are for your engagement, how these photos turn out is pivotal to how the entire wedding day will feel in terms of client/photographer trust!

BUT FRET NOT! With a few simple suggestions, you can be well on your way to mastering your engagement session and truly helping your photographer capture the essence of who you are as a couple!

#1 Try very not hard to wear the same thing. In the times not so past, couples would simply put on the same outfit and that was it! But today, in a much more stylized world, the trend is towards COMPLIMENTARY outfits. Find a COLOR and then key the outfits around that. The example I’ve included below is of a couple I photographed just last week [HERE]. Notice how Lauren and Braden are definitely not wearing the same color. However, there is blue all throughout their outfits!



#2 Whenever possible, try not to wear baggy clothes. Cameras have a tendency to add weight at times where it isn’t even there, and lose fitting clothes can create pounds that don’t actually exist. This is especially true on women.

#3 Depending on how you want the shoot to “feel,” you may consider bringing along two separate outfits! You can have one formal and one informal, or even one for doing something messy in [paint fight engagement]. This way, if you can essentially get two completely separate sessions for the price of one!

#4 Resist the urge to wear super patterned clothes! It’s okay if one person has a pattern on their shirt, but it can be very confusing for the human brain to have too many patters within the same image. So if you must pattern, keep it to one individual.

#5 The better you feel, the better the images will turn out. So make sure to wear something you can feel totally relaxed in!

#6 In the case of you wanting to strap on the high heels, make sure you have some more comfortable shoes with you! You never know when you might feel like walking over a rocky stream or climbing on your fiancé’s back, and heels can do very much to hinder the enjoyment of these specific activities. So, bring a pair of flip flops. You don’t have to wear them, but you definitely won’t have them if you don’t bring them.

#7 Leave nothing to chance. Put every article of clothing on before the day of the engagement. You want to make sure you look your best and you can only be confident you look your best if you actually know what you look like.

#8 Yeah… I know men aren’t supposed to use this word but wherever possible, accesorize.  If you have really cool jewelry you like to wear, bring it!  If you have some fun scarves, bring ’em! There is something appealing to the human mind about small thing that break up space, and jewelry is one excellent tool the brain uses to accomplish this. Below is an image of Josh and Grace [Full session HERE], one of my FAVORITE couple I’ve ever worked with. Notice how their use of scarves adds su much to the FEELING of the shoot.


Or another example! Anna is a master of accessories! In typical Katelyn James fashion, she dawned a fantastic teal necklace when we met up in Norfolk, Virginia and this shot really wouldn’t have been nearly as good without it! [Full session HERE]


#9 Even if it is 80 degrees outside and sunny, always bring a jacket.  Always.  You never have to wear it, but it’s never a bad idea to have it.

#10 Bottom line, just look good, be comfortable, and prepare to have some fun!  Don’t stress over the wardrobe TOO much. =]

I hope this helps! Now go out and be awesome!

To God be the glory,

daniel jackson