While being engaged is an exciting and memorable time in your life, it can also be a busy time chock-full of to-do lists, wedding planning and much more. In between choosing your wedding dress and nuptials location, there are the much-anticipated engagement photos! Whether you are having them taken for your save-the-dates or purely for personal memories, these are photos that you will cherish forever.
However, the words “cherish forever” put pressure on just about anything — and engagement photos are no exception. As if getting in front of a camera with your person for the first time (unless you met on the Bachelor) isn’t pressure enough! My biggest piece of advice? Don’t confuse “cherish forever” with “like your outfit forever.” The goal of these photos is not to want to wear your outfit again years down the road, but to capture the feelings of this special time and the people you are as a couple today.
Once you realize that you don’t have to like the outfit in your engagement photos forever, choosing what you wear is much easier. Here are some real-life tips for embracing your personal style.
With photographers showing off their engagement photo sessions online and tastemakers posting theirs on social media accounts across the world, there is no shortage of inspiration on the internet today. Don’t create unnecessary stress in this exciting time by trying to reinvent the wheel. Gather up inspiration for your engagement session in a virtual vision board on Pinterest.
Once you’ve found a decent amount of photos, start to analyze the common thread among them that inspires you and catches your eye. Whether it is the poses the couples are in or the color palette for their outfits, jot down your preferences and use them as a base for your own planning.
Stick to styles you know and love.
Now it’s time to get to work picking outfits! I recommend picking two solid outfit options each and bringing along a third outfit as a safety net. (Safety net meaning trusty pieces in your closet that are tried, true and dependable—like your favorite little black dress or an outfit centered around your favorite pair of jeans.) Don’t worry about matching with your partner in these photos, which can end up being distracting. Instead, focus on creating two looks that complement each other.
Decide what you want to accentuate about yourself and which color palette makes you feel most comfortable. Some of the best photos captured in engagement sessions involve candid moments and impromptu action shots, so keep this in mind when selecting your outfits. You want to make sure that your clothes fit properly and that you’re not restricted by your outfit! I tend to be drawn to a black and white color palette with a pop of red. In terms of silhouettes, I like high-waisted pieces and flowy sleeves—but the options are endless depending on your body shape and preferences.
If you’re buying new pieces exclusively for your engagement session, consider shopping at online consignment shops like thredUP. You can pick up high-quality pieces at a fraction of the original price, so you don’t have to shell out for a dress or top you may not wear again.
Bring in props and accessories.
Getting in front of the camera can be a little intimidating at first. Dressing in an outfit you feel comfortable in helps combat the nerves—and so does bringing in props. Dress in layers and add accessories that are easy to take on and off for various shots. Your accessories can also double as props. Whether it be a hat, a guitar or a faux fur coat, these personal touches will give you something to do with your hands in moments of doubt and will keep the story flowing and add authenticity to your engagement session.
Ultimately, your engagement session is a time to have fun, capture your love together and get familiar with your wedding photographer. Style your outfits to reflect your best self and choose props with a personal meaning between the two of you. In doing so, your love will shine through the photos and you will be able to look back on them and be transported to this special time in your life. After all, personal style is a way of communicating without using words, and that’s how you should think of your style in your photos!
Catherine Claire is a stylist and a fashion blogger who loves to get the right look in a photo session. She is the cofounder of The Crystal Press and also writes for thredUP.com, an online/offline consignment store where you can find some unique women’s dresses.