What to Wear For Engagement Photos

I’m not just an engagement photographer.  I’m also a stylist.  The most frequent question I get regarding engagement photos is, “What do we wear?”  Wardrobe can make or break your engagement photos, so what you wear is very important.  We ask our clients to wear one dressy outfit and one casual outfit.  Here are my tips to make your engagement photo wardrobe flattering, impactful, and stylish.

(BTW: When wedding planning, make sure to budget for engagement photography.  I talked about the importance of taking engagement photos here: Why Take Engagement Photos?  Engagement photos give you more variety in artwork for your home, as well as a practice session with your photographer before your wedding.)

Dressy Outfit Styling Tips

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For the bride, I suggest a dress that is flattering and flirty.  Monique chose the perfect dress.  It shows off the smallest part of her waist and her shapely, thin legs, showing off her hourglass figure.  She wore high heels, which I always suggest.  They make her legs even more shapely and make her look thinner because of the the extra height.  Miguel wore black pants and a grey button-up shirt with dressy black shoes, which is classic and perfect for the groom.


San Francisco Engagement Photographer

Jenelle chose a fluffy pink skirt with nude heels.  This is one of my favorite engagement photo outfits I’ve photographed.  It’s feminine and flattering.  Nude heels are the BEST for making your legs look longer.  The nude color of the shoes is an extension of the color of your legs.  Jenelle’s shoes have a platform, which elongates and slims her even more.  I always say, “The higher the better!”


San Francisco Engagement Photography

I LOVE Mary’s choice of a bright purple dress and black heels.  The dress is fitted, showing on her lithe figure, and the bright pop of color makes her stand out in photos.  We did the first half of their engagement session in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, where James proposed.

San Francisco Engagement Photographer

I was able to match the color of her dress to some purple flowers, making an interesting piece of artwork.


San Francisco Engagement Photographer

No matter what, your outfits and styling should represent your personalities.  Lesley and Earl are country people.  It would’ve been very out of character for Earl to wear dress pants and shiny black shoes.  In this case, his jeans and boots alongside her dress and boots makes for the perfect photos of them as a couple.


Casual Outfit Styling Tips

San Francisco Engagement Photographer

Even though we call this look “Casual,” it should still be somewhat dressy.  Lesley chose the perfect outfit–fitted dark jeans, a stylish top with some sparkle, and nude heels.  I ALWAYS suggest the bride wear heels.  You can see how her shoes, in the right pose, help shape her body and elongate her legs.


San Francisco Engagement Photographer

As I mentioned above, keeping your wardrobe in the scope of your personality is important.  James never wears dress pants or dress shoes.  He feels most confident in a hat and work boots.  I love how his personality shows through in the photo.

San Francisco Engagement Photographe

Mary is naturally very thin, and needed no help making her look slim.  She’s still wearing heels, because even though it’s a casual outfit, you want the photos to have a polished, dressy feel.  Give the photos the respect they deserve, as they’ll be hanging in your home.


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Blythe and Mark LOVE baseball.  They cheer for opposing teams, which is part of their courtship and personalities.  For their casual outfit, they decided to wear jerseys.

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Blythe dressed up her outfit with a great pair of high-heeled boots.  She looks amazing and classy, yet fun and whimsical.


Modesto Engagement Photographer

Anayelli and Enrique did their engagement photos in winter, and I LOVE their casual outfits.  They’re very stylish and cozy, keeping with the theme of winter.  Their wedding was going to be in the summer, so it was wise to dress very wintery for their engagement photos.  It lends even more variety to the artwork they would display in their home.


Additional Styling Tips:

  • Be sure your outfits are complimentary colors, but NOT matchy-matchy.  No matching khaki pants and white tops, no identical fabrics.  That takes the creativity right out of the photos.
  • Dress for your body type.  If you’re self-conscious about your tummy, don’t wear a tight top or dress.  Show off your best features.  If you love your legs, wear a short skirt.  If you love your arms, wear something sleeveless.
  • Add tasteful jewelry that isn’t too large or sparkly.  You don’t want it distracting from your face, where the main focus should be.
  • Style your hair in a dressy way, as if you’re going out on a date.  I always think long hair should be dressed in a down style, not an up-do.  An up-do is too fancy for these photos.  A lose style lends femininity, and if there’s wind or movement, that will add to the photos.
  • The day of your engagement session is a great time to get a makeup trial for the wedding.  Professional makeup makes your photos look polished, and you’ll be happier with the way you look in the finished product.  I discourage very heavy makeup and any glitter.  Wear makeup that is age-appropriate and flattering.
  • Have your nails done.  Your photographer will be taking photos of your hands with your ring, and possibly photos without your shoes on, so be sure to have a beautiful manicure and pedicure.
  • NO white tennis shoes.  They’re very distracting in a photo, as your eye goes right to the shoes instead of your face.



Modesto Engagement Photographer

Dawn Kelly Photography, specializing in unique, elegant, timeless engagement photography captured on film

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