Now that you have landed on a date, venue, and a photographer, it’s time for you to celebrate! Those are some of the toughest decisions in wedding planning and you can cross them off your list! Hooray! Now on to the fun stuff…. like your engagement session!

      Engagement sessions… boy, do I love these so much! During your engagement session, you’ll have the chance to get to know me, experience how I shoot and how I handle posing and lighting. This session will make a HUGE impact on how your wedding day flows. I’ll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are and how to photograph you in a genuine way! What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel like such a pro on your big day because of the great practice you had during your engagement session, and that’s how it should be!

      I have heard over and over again from my couples that one worry gets in the way of their excitement about their engagement photos. They just don’t know what to wear! And since many couples have plans to use their engagement portraits on their save-the-date cards, guest book, wedding website and more, not knowing what to wear can lead to serious stressing out!

      But, now is not the time to be stressing. So, I created this blog post just for you and packed it with all of my best secrets for picking out your engagement session outfits, so let’s dive right in!

      1. Pick Two Outfits

      I know you might be thinking, “Kieran! We’re having a hard enough time picking one outfit, and you’re telling us to pick two?!” But trust me! Changing your outfit means that I shoot you differently, you interact differently, and you just feel differently… and that comes across in your photos. It gives you variety in more ways than one, and that’s never a bad thing! Our engagement shoot will offer time to change your outfit, so most of my couples opt for a nicer, more formal outfit, followed by a more casual outfit.

      Catherine and Harrison chose two outfits that actually complimented each other! The light-blues, whites, and khaki worked so well for their downtown Richmond Engagement Session.

      2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Fancy

      Engagement photos are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pull out all the stops for your portraits. Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our brides love Rent the Runway for their engagement photos because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks. Plus, you can send the outfits back when the session is over.

      Pro Tip: Long, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Savanna’s dress from her Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden engagement session is a great example!

      3. Compliment Each Other

      Consider choosing complementary colors, patterns, and styles, or a similar color palette. Steer clear of clothing that matches exactly! Wearing the same color in a different shade is actually more ideal than trying to find the EXACT color! Make sure the formality of your outfits matches, too. Ladies, if you want to wear a dress and heels, jeans and sandals may not be the best choice for your man 😉

      White and blue are some of my FAVORITE colors to photograph. They always look so classy… just like in Abby and Chris’ Freedom Park Engagement Session!

      4. Carefully Choose Colors and Patterns

      When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. I always want the focus of your images to be you and your love! The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.

      A word of warning! Small, tight patterns, like very narrow stripes, aren’t the best for photos. If you feel drawn to patterns, use them as an accent to our overall look! Natalie’s dress is just the right amount of detail for this sweet mountain engagement session!

      5. Layer and Accessorize

      Layers and accessories can add so much depth and interest to your photos. They can also turn a decent outfit into a stunning one! A plaid scarf is great for wrapping up in fall weather and a hat is cute to wear or hold –  accessories like this add an extra level of style, personality, and texture! Feel free to send over your ideas for clothing and accessories if you need another set of eyes to help you decide!

      Look at Emma and Truman’s outfits as an example! See how Emma chose to pair a fun scarf with a solid colored dress? And Truman layered a navy blazer with a light-colored button-down? These two put together their outfits so well, and their pictures show off their sweet personalities!

      Last but absolutely not least…

      6. Focus on Comfort

      When you feel good in what you’re wearing, it shows! You don’t want to be worrying about your dress being too short, painful shoes, or your top not fitting “just right.” Be sure to choose something that flatters you!  I promise you will love your images so much more if you choose to wear something that you are comfortable and CONFIDENT in!

      Bailey & Chris’ outfits for their winter sunrise engagement session are a PERFECT example of how you can choose comfort and style!

      I know I just gave you so much to think about in this short blog post… But, at the end of the day, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future marriage is the most important thing to me, and I want your engagement session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And I’ll take care of the rest!

      I can’t wait to see you soon!

      For more ideas and information on deciding what to wear for your engagement session, go HERE!

      BONUS ENGAGEMENT SESSION TIPS! 

      Prepping your man…

      Most men aren’t overly excited to take photos for two hours, because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your guy. Tell him why you chose me and my style of photography. Show him your three favorite sessions that I’ve done, explain why you love them and express to him how much it means to you. Trust me, he’ll light up the camera for you! The most common thing I hear from guys before engagement sessions is this: because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!

      After the Session…

      Don’t forget to plan a dinner date! You’re already going to be all dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? I know the wedding planning process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together.


      Kieran Claire is a photographer based in Greenville, SC who specializes in romantic, elegant, and timeless weddings & portraits. 

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