James White Photography engagement photoshoot

What to wear to your engagement shoot

What to wear to your engagement shoot

Engagement photoshoots…I love them! They truly are a once in a life time experience. For me personally, I love meeting people who are head over heels in love. For me professionally, I love the way it gives me an opportunity to work with a client before the big day., to iron out those kinks and work out how to capture the best of you! I love the way it gives the client an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera. And most importantly, I love the way it gives both of us an opportunity to create a connection. Create and capture a moment in time. 

If I were a betting man (I’m not thankfully), I would say, hands down, that every time I book someone in, the same old concern comes up. “What do I wear?!” If I had a dollar for every time I was asked for help with what to wear to your engagement shoot, I would be slightly wealthier! Don’t feel bad though, it is an important decision. Many of you are probably going to use these images for your ‘save the date’, guest books, or even to display at the wedding.

So, do you want the good news or the bad news? I’m going to give you both anyway! The bad news is, I can’t come to our house and help you pick out your clothes, it’s sadly not logistically possible. The good news? I can share with you, my tried and tested tips for how to absolutely own what you wear in front of the camera. Let’s go!

James White Photography engagement photoshoot

1. Dress appropriately!

This one should go without saying, but I feel the need to say it anyway. Not all too often, but occasionally, I will have a client show up to a shoot, for example, in the middle of winter wearing a summer dress. Whilst I totally understand that you really love the dress, and wanted to do a Summer engagement shoot, that’s not what is happening. You might think that no one will be able to tell that you are cold, because its a photo, not a video. Wrong. It will be so clear you may as well have a neon sign above your head announcing it to the world. Even though you really wanted to wear that dress, it isn’t summer (same goes for all seasons, don’t wear jeans, a jacket and scarf on a January summers day). You are going to look so much better if you are comfortable. Then, instead of focusing on how uncomfortable you are, and how badly you want to get this done with, you can focus on enjoying the experience, and having fun with your partner.  

2. Coordinate your outfits!

This one is a bit more tricky, and I have seen it go horribly wrong. Let me share a hypothetical example, similar to my real life situation which happened last winter. The bride to be got out of the car to greet me. She was dressed really classy. Think ‘Melbourne socialite on a brunch date’ kind of classy. Amazing jeans, beautiful jacket and scarf combo with a cute pair of boots. Yay! Everything was going really well. And then the groom got out. Singlet, shorts (ripped, and not intentionally) and skate shoes. Obviously, standing the two next to one another would look strange, about surely the man was freezing? It was sunrise on a 4 degrees Celsius day! So I think you get the point. If one of you is dressy formal, you both dress formal. And by all means, if laid back surfer is your vibe, and you both would love to dress that way, then please do so! You will still look good because you are matching in regards to formality. 

Let’s talk about colours. This is, more often than not, where most couples can go wrong. My personal preference for colours is to go with neutral tones (I am particularly partial to earthy tones), and throw in splashes of colour. In winter think of accessories as your pop of colour, like scarves, or jackets. In summer it is a little more difficult given the heat, but feel free to go with something more summery in colour. A nice floral summer dress would work beautifully, particularly if paired with a toned down partner wearing a pair of beige chinos and white tee. Again, this is just an example, think about what colours match well, and which colours don’t. Fashion is not a hard and fast rule, some rules are made to be broken, so if you are the adventurous type, I say go for it! If you are confident and can rock it, 9 times out of 10, it’s going to look great!

3. Wear an outfit that feels like You!

I always tell my couples, if it doesn’t make you feel like you, don’t wear it! Let me put this simply, if you are a jeans and tee kind of guy, don’t force yourself into a collared shirt with a tie. You know as well as I do that you will feel awkward and uncomfortable. The experience will not be fun, and all of this will reflect in your photos. Same for the ladies. If you like wearing dresses and hate jeans, wear that dress! Just remember, if its subzero temperatures outside, you may wish to rethink this. 

My suggestion, what is an outfit that you two regularly would wear when say, going on a picnic? When you look back on these images, you want to remember who you both were at that time in your lives, and an important element to that is your clothing choices. 

Remember, what you wear is as much about the location you will be shooting in, as it is about how you will feel in it. The bottom line is you want to be comfortable. You want to feel and look like you, and you want to coordinate, without matching. If you follow these basic guidelines, you are not only going to look great, but you will enjoy yourselves too.

If you need a little fashion inspo, check out my top 5 locations to shoot and check out what these couples are wearing. There is inspo for beach shoots, forest shoots, even urban shoots! 

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