What to Wear for Your Engagement Photos

August 5, 2019

Deciding what to wear for your engagement photos can be a super fun task for some people, and for others, it’s stressful! Here are some helpful hints to designing your wardrobe for your magical occasion:

Location First

I recommend you choose your location before your wardrobe, because you want these two aspects to complement each other well. A boho-style dress full of autumn colors would be a bit clashing in the setting of a 1950’s diner, for example. If you are thinking of a beach setting for your photos, consider going barefoot in your nautical, navy dress paired with white or gold accents. You don’t have to completely match your surroundings though. Sometimes it can be fun to throw in some contrast – like an elegant ballgown and suit in the middle of an urban, graffiti’d building or alleyway. The difference is tasteful contrast vs. cringe-worthy clashing. And if you have more than one location, which is common in my photoshoots, you will be able to do a couple different styles – like bring one classy outfit to change into after your casual one. If you are a type of fashionista who has just been waiting to show off a particular outfit, then choose your location based off of that show-stopper! If you are clueless about what locations would make your outfit pop, just shoot me a text with a pic of your outfits and I’ll guide you in the right direction! For the shoot I did with Ugo + Fervent, they selected very classy, coordinated outfits because they knew the location was rich & elegant.

Outfit coordination

You and your partner might already be the king and queen of outfit coordination. You show up to all social events with a matching pop of color and people just know you’re a couple. But a lot of us are not so hot in this area and could use a bit of guidance. I’m not asking you to be so matchy-matchy that you look like you’re trying too hard. You’re not twins. You want your colors, patterns, and textures to complement each other. Here are some tips on the details:

  • If he is wearing a solid color, then you want to consider wearing a pattern. And please, no obnoxious patterns that are going to distract people from your face.
  • If you’re like me and you enjoy a pair of hippie-gypsie pants, then make sure you wear a solid on top since those are full of colors and patterns.
  • It’s possible to pull off two patterns at once, like stripes combined with polka-dots, but if you don’t normally do that, don’t try it just for your engagement photos.
  • Please, please stay clear of any logos, brand names, sports teams, and other advertisements on your shirts, hats, and pants.
  • Guys, if it’s summer and you have a snazzy pair of dress shorts, rock ’em. But if the only shorts you have are casual, I would recommend sticking to long pants (or maybe it’s time to invest in some linen!).
  • And finally, you both want to adhere to the same color palette. Check it out…

Color Palette

When it comes to colors, you want to have a palette that includes 3-4 colors. It must include a neutral, a complementary (also called near neutral), and an accent color (also called statement color). Here are some lovely color pairings to start out with.

Blush + sage + copper
Navy + mustard yellow + cream
Maroon + gold + cream
Peach + mint + emerald
Plum + olive green + brass
Charcoal + teal + lemon

Wear the neutral as your base, the complementary as your dominant color, and the accent for pops of color in your accessories like jewelry, bowtie, hats, purse, shoes, and so on! Take another look at the photo of Ugo + Fervent. Black is the base, white & grey are the dominant, and they chose blush & gold for their statement colors. If you’re new to all of this, do a quick search for “capsule wardrobe” and you will find tons of fun info on building and designing your outfit so that you stay lookin’ fly! Here are some helpful visuals…

And don’t forget the prints & textures!!

When deciding your color palette, you want to consider your skin color, hair and eye colors, and even the tone of your skin. And deefffinitely consider the season!

Listen to the Seasons

Whether autumn, winter, spring or summer, every season inspires our wardrobe color palette. If your engagement shoot takes place in the wintery wonderland of MN, you could glam up in your New Year’s Eve inspired sequins and red heels. Winter is full of high contrast, statement colors – usually in cooler shades like black and silver. Of course, if we are enduring the elements, be sure to bring a cute fur coat to keep you warm and a pair of boots! Autumn is full of those rich, warm shades that we obsess over – maroons, mustards, & creams. In true MN spirit, feel free to sport your plaid flannel if you’re the up north, hiking type and want a photoshoot in the woods. Like these two! Yay jean on jean <3

Spring and summer are beachy. My favorite. And their colors overlap quite a bit, but spring has more warm shades and summer more cool. You’ll see pops of colors such as peach, mint, blush, and gold. Textures of linen and silk. Now, I might be a color guru but I also think rules should be broken at times. No one is policing your color palette according to the seasons. If you want to wear your favorite spring color in winter – so be it! Like check out this photo of Sham + Bereket that we did on blizzardy, January morning!

Their color palette is one that might typically be for autumn, but it worked so well because of the location and their coordination!


My dears, this is the key to LOVING how your engagement photos turn out! In previous blog posts I’ve talked about the importance of choosing a special location, doing an activity you enjoy together, and now I will continue to echo that motto with respect to your wardrobe. Now is not the time to experiment with a whole new style, because chances are, in two months, you’ll look back at your photos and think, “What was I wearing?!” You want your clothes to reflect your lifestyle, including your most loved colors, patterns, textures, and styles. Don’t be afraid to be bold! Now, if your most typical outfit is sweatpants and a t-shirt I might ask you to step it up a notch for the photos. 😉 But generally speaking, we want your unique flair to be flaunted! After all, engagement photos are a glimpse into you and your partner’s daily, extraordinary love life.


– mj


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