Engagement Session Series:

• 10 Tips for What To Wear •


1. Time to put Pinterest to use (if you haven't already)

I know. You probably, like, live on Pinterest these days whether you want to or not, but it truly is a great resource. If you don't already have a pretty robust fashion board, here's how to get the most out of it:
          • Give yourself a solid 20-30 minutes at some point, and just go start pinning outfits you like. (It's also good to span several days, because your style will actually shift a bit day-to-day.)
          • Don't think about it a whole lot; the idea here is to just get lots of ideas without zeroing in on anything yet. Don't worry about if it's too casual or dressy or "out there." You'll narrow it down later.
          • Once you've got at least 15 to 20 pins (but 30-40+ is even better), scroll through and jot down any repeating themes you notice, whether it's a general style (mine would be: mostly monochromatic, edgy tomboy with small feminine details) or specific items (scarves. lots and lots of scarves and ankle booties).

2. What outfit will make you feel like a million bucks?

Now, looking through this collection you've put together of what jumps out at you, what would you just LOVE to wear? Have fun with it! Some people, I've found, really feel like they need to stay conservative (which is awesome if that's your style), but if that just feels like a rule you need to follow, then don't. Some photographers are of the opinion that bold colors and patterns are distracting, and I would have to respectfully disagree. In fact, I think they look fantastic, as long as that's your thing.

I saw this reminder somewhere a long time ago: remember these are not the last professional pictures you'll have taken together, so don't feel like you have to get too serious with your outfit choice. So don't be afraid to pull the trigger on that outfit you're dying to wear!

3. Coordinate with your partner's outfit

I've never had a couple show up in drastically different styles, but it's worth noting... just make sure you look like you're both headed to the same place (e.g. dinner at a nice restaurant, a concert, the beach, etc.). And this probably goes without saying, but the days of matchy-matchy khakis and white shirts have sailed, and I think we're all better for it. But Melanie and Steve (and Max and Millie) did a pretty bang-up job of breaking that rule:

4. Coordinate with your location

So, we've settled on the perfect location... just think about whether or not your outfits will fit in with your surroundings. This is usually just a quick "Oh totally." But if you settled on the beach, but you're dying to wear a tulle skirt and stilettos, maybe we need to think about also taking a few shots of you two grabbing martinis as well. (Just make sure you have a good loose-fitting, flowy sundress for our beach portion too!)

Destination Beach Engagement Session

5. Do the Comfort Test

We'll be moving around a lot so sit down in your outfits, walk around, and through your arms up over your partner's shoulders. Shoes don't need to be Birkenstock-level comfortable, but it's likely we'll be walking a bit, so bring some great worn-in slip-ons for moving between shots.

creative engagement photographer

6. Multiple outfits are great!

My clients often bring a change of clothes to get a couple of different styles or levels of dressiness. Just let me know ahead of time so that if we're changing locations and outfits, we can add in a few minutes for transition time so we're not spending precious sunset light while you're doing your best to change in the backseat of the MINI Cooper.

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7. Pick everything out ahead of time

Nothing worse (ok maybe some things are, but still) than rushing around before your engagement session with no idea what you'll be wearing. Try it all on, lay it all out (accessories and all), and have an idea of what outfit you'll be wearing first. Text me your outfits if you're not sure which one, and I'll let you know what's best to shoot in first!

8. Budget tip: you can rent designer clothes

For the fashion-commitment-phobes among us, or if you're trying to save money where you can while still looking amazing, you can rent (and buy used) designer pieces for way less than you would otherwise pay for them. Here are a couple of options I know have worked great for past clients:

Rent The Runway



9. professional hair and makeup is so worth it

I know, everything about weddings is expensive, so if it's out of the budget, don't worry about it. You're gorgeous. But if you're like me, and you have to watch Youtube videos just to understand eye shadow, professional makeup is a small investment that is worth every penny (I had it done for my own headshots!). Around Champaign, IL, you can expect to pay $40-$80; email me if you'd like recommendations!

Engagement Photographer Near Me

10. Make sure your nails are done

You'll be photographed head to toe, so you'll want your nails looking nice for that ring close-up. Same goes for any open-toed shoes! You don't want to be kicking yourself if you notice a chipped nail in your engagement pictures.

Lastly, A few general style guidelines

For the most part, if you feel great in it, wear it. But if you have a few different ideas and need some tie-breaking ideas or just general constraints for picking outfits, here you go:

Layers are awesome! They photograph well, and since we'll likely be shooting during a sunrise or sunset, we'll probably have a several-degree-change in the temperature while we're shooting.

Logos are no-nos. For the most part. If you've got a good reason to break any of my "rules," then go for it. But if you don't have stock in whomever's logo you're sporting, you might want to rethink it.

Fit: anything way too loose or way too tight won't photograph well. A nicely tailored dress or suit though? YES.

• Outfits with a lot of structure photograph very nicely and cleanly, but only if they fit into your "million bucks" outfit.

Prints and patterns: if you have one loud print item on, keep everything else simple and let that piece shine. You go 'head and rock that floral floor-length dress, girl, but if your partner wants to wear a patterned button-down, you two will each need to come up with simpler options so as not to compete with the other's pattern. Call it a fun lesson in the marriage-skill of compromise, if you will.

Footwear: running shoes, white socks, and flip flops (unless you're just bringing them for comfort-wear in between shots) should be avoided. Nice sandals are great though!

Hats: so fun. Just make sure your hair looks great without it on too.

Accessories: tasteful and minimal. A statement piece is always welcome, but just like the "prints" tip, make sure your other jewelry isn't competing for attention.


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That about wraps it up! So excited to see what you put together, and as always, get hold of me if you want extra input!!

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