As a photographer I am often asked "What should I wear for my photo shoot"... and its a great question. And sadly, it is also something many get wrong when left to figure it out on their own.
We tend to be quite hard on ourselves when it comes to this, but believe it or not, one of the most important aspects of feeling confident and loving the way you look in photographs actually comes down to choosing the right outfit. Regardless of how talented your photographer may be - it can make or break a photo.
Although there is a lot of information out there on what to wear for a photoshoot, I find that most of it tends to be watered down, and doesn’t actually give a lot of useful information.
So in this post I would like to get to the heart of the matter, and share three of my top secrets for choosing the perfect outfit for your engagement photoshoot.
Rule #1 - Choosing The Right color
Let's start with figuring out what color palette you should wear.
There are two factors you want to take into account when choosing the color of your outfit.
The first is what looks best on you. You want to pick a color that compliments your hair, skin tone, and eyes. As a rule, when we view an image, we subconsciously align similar colors, which is why wearing a blue blouse or shirt can make your eyes “pop” if you have very blue eyes. Alternatively, if you’re struggling with redness or acne, wearing red or warm colors can make you seem more flushed.
The second most important factor to take into account is how you want to present yourself in the photo. Colors affect us subconsciously, and can create very strong first impressions; dramatically affecting the tone of the image and your presence.
As an example, here are some of the impressions that certain colors can create:
Red – This is the color best associated with passion and drama. It attracts the most attention of all the colors, and is associated with emotions such as love and anger. This color is universally used to signify danger, but can also be associated with virtues such as strength, power, courage, and excitement. This color is very stimulating as a result.
Blue – This color is proven to induce a sense of calm. It conveys tranquility, peace, and serenity, as well as trustworthiness, integrity, responsibility, and loyalty.
Black - The color most associated with formality and sophistication, this is a strong and powerful color. Considered sexy and secretive, this is the color of mystery.
If you’re interested in the meanings of other colors, I highly recommend the following article: https://graf1x.com/color-psychology-emotion-meaning-poster/
Rule #2 - What do you love to show off? What parts of your body do you want to cover up? This is the key to loving how you look in the photos!
Now that we have the right color, the next factor to take into consideration is choosing the perfect shape and style to make you feel amazing.
Before you’ve even stepped into the frame of the camera, it is so important you love the way you look in your chosen outfit. Regardless of how talented your photographer is, no amount of lighting or framing is going to make you feel better about your photos if you don’t like the way your body looks in what you’re wearing.
You need to choose something that accentuates the features you like most about yourself, while concealing areas that might make you feel insecure, or that you simply don’t want showing in the photos.
For some ideas, I highly recommend first looking at your body type. You can use the following article article as a bit of a cheat sheet on what to look for depending on your body type: https://blog.stitchfix.com/fashion-tips/find-fit-for-your-body-type/
Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, while you want to focus on accentuating your favorite features, it is also worth taking into consideration any areas you feel insecure about.
Don’t like your arms? Then wear a cute jacket, long sleeves, or maybe a shawl.
If you show up to the photoshoot wearing a sleeveless top and then tell the photographer that you hate your arms, you will only be limiting the number of posing and candid photo opportunities.
Rule #3 - Always Bring A Second Outfit
My final tip for choosing the perfect outfit for your engagement photoshoot, is to bring a second outfit. This is especially true if you’re a little uncertain about your first choice, or if you’re struggling to choose just one.
If you can, try and get your photographer’s input, as they will more than likely have a pretty clear idea of what will look good on you during the shoot.
Although you can, of course, choose a subtle change in wardrobe for your second outfit, say the addition of a jacket or a shawl, I personally recommend choosing an entirely different outfit - preferably something a bit more dressy. This will create an entirely different look and feel, and you will essentially be getting two photoshoots in one. You’ll also find that wearing a very different second outfit may make you feel different, which can also impact the way you carry yourself. Try to go for something that makes you feel confident as this will have a massive impact on the final product.
If you can, I recommend hiring a pro to help you pick out your outfit - preferably a stylist from your favorite store. Asking them for help can give you additional inspiration - but just don’t let them steer you away from my earlier advice about color and shape! It’s important you go in already knowing what color you want, and to be honest and open about how you feel about your body so that they can help you pick your perfect outfit.
A Few More Tips
So once you’ve picked out your final outfits, here are some important tips to keep in mind for the day of the shoot:
- When it comes to changing in public, you will normally need to duck into a public restroom, but a car will also work if you’re out in a rural area.
- While you do need to be able to move around in the outfit you pick out, and you are going to be photographed from all angles, let’s be real - if given the choice, would you rather be comfortable, or would you rather look stunning? These photos are going to last a lifetime, so sacrificing some comfort during the photoshoot might be worth it if it gives you the look you really want.
- For transporting your wardrobe, I highly recommend a small bag or an overnight travel case with wheels. Keep in mind, you don’t want it to be too big, as you will be carrying this everywhere throughout the shoot.
- While I have recommended bringing two outfits, I do not under any circumstances recommend bringing more than that. Two outfits is more than enough, and it ensures you won’t spend the entire photoshoot rushing to change into your next set of clothes. Rather, you can focus on your partner and on the amazing day you are both so looking forward to.
- Finally, and I can’t recommend this enough - make sure you bring a pair of a comfortable shoes to walk in. Then when it’s time for the shoot, slip into your heels. Nothing will destroy the experience of the photoshoot faster than being in pain.
More than anything, make sure to take a deep breath and have fun - this is all about you and your partner, and celebrating your special day.