10 Tips for What to Wear in Your Engagement Photoshoot

Perhaps one of the most exciting times of your life is right after you ask or are asked “the big question” and their reply is… “YES!!” And now that you are in the getting married stage, the next steps are to plan for it. As you go through the process, there will be quite a few steps along the way as you prepare for your big day. However, there is one part of that process that allows you to take a break from it all and step aside from the planning for an opportunity to simply enjoy yourselves. It’s an Engagement Photo Session.

A chance for you and your significant other to enjoy each other’s time away from everything and everyone and be together, only this time it’s in front of the camera. A chance to spend that quiet time and be the star of your own photoshoot.

But, like anything else worth having, an engagement session has its own issues for you to take into consideration, and maybe more so for women. Just what is that big concern? It’s easy, what outfit should I wear? That’s why we at Capture Aloha Photography put together 10 Tips for What to Wear at an Engagement Photoshoot.

We hope these tips will help you along the way to a great photo session.

1. Consider the Season

When you’re deciding what clothes to wear for your couples or engagement photo session, you have to consider what season you’re in. If you’re on Maui or in Southern California, you can typically get away with lighter clothing during the winter than other places in the country. But unless there is a theme, we don’t recommend bathing suits at any time as they just don’t cut it. Now, perhaps a bathing suit works on a beach if the beach scene is something that you both truly enjoy together, or maybe you are one of those who pushes back against the trends or have a very creative side to you.

Typically, during your warmer months, such as Spring and Summer, and depending on what part of the country you live in, consider wearing whites or pastel colors, as well as lighter clothing options such as tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, light blouses, etc. Shoes do play a big part in your clothing options as well, so depending on the season and location, you will want to match the scenery. Sandals, lighter tennis shoes, flip flops or barefoot if you’re planning to be on the sand or on grass. Most of our sessions are at the beach and we highly recommend no shoes at all.

Now your cooler months, such as Winter and Fall, dress anywhere from a little warmer than your typical summer season to being bundled up. Denim, fleece-lined clothing, sweaters, jackets, socks, Ugg Boots, beanies, you kind of get the picture.

2. Should You Match Your Partner or Not?

We’ve seen it work both ways. We photographed couples that did wear matching outfits before, and in some of the cases, it worked out and in some, not so much. Typically, the ones that did work are the ones where clothing options actually compliments your partner’s clothing without them actually matching. Think of contrast. If you are set on wearing stripes, you can make it work. But if both of you wear stripes, your photos will probably come off looking very busy causing your photos to appear distracting.

The key is to coordinate with your partner ahead of time. If you’re wearing an outfit that is more formal, then so should your partner. If you are photographing down at the beach in the summertime, then you both should wear lighter clothing, but with contrasting colors or one in stripes and the other in solid. One of our favorite outfits that actually do match are jeans and white shirts/tops as they always go well together.

Remember, you want to play off one another, not blend into one.

3. How Many Outfits Should I Bring?

First and foremost, it depends on the session you choose. Sessions range from a quick 30-minute timeframe to an hour or even two hours. Keep in mind that the time you spend changing your outfits does count as part of your session time, so the longer your session is, the more time you have to change clothes. If you have a short session and you spend much of the time changing clothes, the fewer photos you will receive. The other thing to consider is the location of your photoshoot. Does it warrant an outfit change or not? And if so, what outfits work best for that location.

4. What Colors Are Best?

This is a question we often get. Typically, if you go with more neutral tones, pastels, or cooler colors, you are making smart choices regardless of location of your session and/or season. But if you want to be a rebel and do something different, try wearing something different, such as a hot red.

Something else to take into consideration is in the event you have a photo album. Typically, you will want your album filled with nothing but wedding photos, but some might want to incorporate some engagement photos into the same album and if you do, you will want some kind of flow to your theme as you skim through your book versus a bunch of photos just randomly thrown together. Just something to keep in mind when you are planning out colors of your outfits.

5. Bring an Array of Outfits That Are Practical

Depending on what you are trying to get out of your photoshoot will depend on various outfits you will want to consider having with you at your session. If you’re looking for a more active style shoot, where you may be lifted in the air or carried, think about your body staying covered or for potential wardrobe malfunctions. You don’t want to be wearing a mini skirt when you are scooped up, and your photographer catches a few surprises. Other options to consider might include:

  • The use of risqué clothing options.
  • Going sleeveless with your shirts or tops.
  • Jeans work well and often match up well with either a dressy blouse or a comfortable shirt. If you’re shooting on the beach, jeans and going barefoot is really ideal.
  • Clothes that don’t fight you, but instead work with you and your body. Think about how your clothes work with or against you in the event you are sitting, laying, standing, or jumping around during your session.
  • Choose outfits that can be classy or something that is trendy.

6. Creating Visual Interest

Creating a visual interest is like adding texture to your photos, much like adding crunch to your food or textures to your walls when you paint them. When it comes to fashion, visual interest might include various types of fabrics, ones that will stand out from the rest of your clothing choices. Think of it as a way of adding a little “pop” to your attire. Unexpected items can also add to your photographic story, such as lace, hats or a black leather jacket, as a couple of ideas.

7. Location! Location! Location!

How often have we heard that before? When deciding on what clothes to wear for your engagement photoshoot, you will want to select outfits that will complement the location of your photo session. This might sound obvious, but you will be surprised that people will sometimes show up wearing turtlenecks and heavy coats at the beach, shorts and tank tops up on a snowy mountain, or a sexy dress with a boa and high heels for photos by a lake in a regional park. If your session is taking place in a natural setting, such as hiking trails, mountains, open fields or a park, then natural colors go well together, whereas bolder colors seem to stand out better in urban areas. And if you’re considering a beach or marina atmosphere, then perhaps whites or navy-blue stripes, again that is just an example.

8. Don’t Forget to Accessorize

Adding at least one accessory will often accentuate your outfit. Similar to a really good chef adding something to a meal that adds that texture or contrast, the accessory can make a bold statement to your outfit, which will stand out in your engagement photos. You can go with one item or several as long as it balances each other out. We recommend that you bring multiple accessories since they are much easier to change out than your outfit, therefore causing each photo to be unique from other photos. And, if you do bring a change of clothing, then different pieces of accessories can highlight each outfit you wear as well. Accessories may include jewelry, especially if they compliment your engagement ring, hats, sunglasses, scarves, ankle bracelets, toe rings and many others. Keep it simple or go wild. Just be sure your accessories match your personality.

9. Just Be Yourself

Oddly enough, we have seen many couples who have shown up for their photoshoot wearing outfits that are outside their normal attire or their clothing doesn’t fit their personality. These are the ones who get their photos and are truly not happy with them. They know it’s not the photos or the photographers, but they are looking at people they don’t recognize because they are trying to be people they are not. If you are at your shoot and are “playing a role,” your photos will often reflect that.

Couples that wear clothing that fits their personality or lifestyle are much more at ease during their session and in front of the camera. And the end results show it. So, if dressing up or dressing down is “your thing,” don’t be afraid to stick with what works for you.

10. Be Comfortable!

Out of everything you just read, this is the most important tip that we can offer… your comfort and body language. If you and/or spouse-to-be are uncomfortable, there’s no doubt that will show on your faces during your session, no matter how good of an actor you think you are. Perhaps the most important clothing option for comfort are your shoes! And even more so for women. If you are planning to hold your photoshoot along a hiking trail, where there could be rugged terrain or perhaps a bit on the muddy side, you might want to leave your high heels at home. Wear boots or flatter shoe styles. Of course, if your session is on the beach, footwear is fully optional, with going barefoot brings a more natural look to your photos.

If your session is somewhere fancier, then of course heels of any height might be the correct call. Now, we typically are not in favor of athletic shoes, but again, depending on the location and/or the outfit you wear, they can be doable.

Just keep one thing in mind. You will be on your feet for nearly all of your session, and you know your feet well. Shoes in the wrong location could cause pain to your feet. And that’s the last thing you want to feel or convey in your photos.


Well, that’s a wrap. Remember, when it comes to what you will be wearing for your engagement photoshoot, consider your locations, the seasons, be yourself, and most importantly, be sure you both have fun.

If you’re interested in an Engagement Photography Session, or Couples Photography, because after all you don’t have to be engaged to have photos done with your partner while here on Maui, please feel free to reach out to us for a free quote.



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