Have you ever had that problem when you get all dressed up, thinking you look HOT, but when you see pictures of yourself later, all you see is a mess. I think every women has felt this pain, myself for sure. I've found the main culprit, is not that you didn't look great that night, but that not all clothes translate well into pictures. That's why I wanted to take the time to go over do's and don'ts for your engagement photo session.
Women's Style Guide for Engagement Photos
Most women really enjoy this style because it's loose and comfortable. It also seems to hide any areas you may be uncomfortable with. While these tops look great in person, they can leave you looking shorter and wider in your pictures. A very slender body type can pull this look off in photos. If you do have a very slim frame, still make sure to pair a blousy top with skinny jeans or a very slim pant.
However, If you're like the rest of us and don't have that model body but loooove that blouson top- a great solution is to add an element that will bring some structure! Some great examples are tucking the shirt into a high-waisted skirt or adding a fitted jacket.
Swing Dresses/Shift dresses
The same rules apply for the latest trends of swing and shift dresses. You have to remember that photos do not show transparency and texture like the eye can see. If you add additional fabric to your frame, the photo will only show a wider frame.Adding a structured jacket or cinched belt can help add definition.
This dress shows off just enough!
Why not add a pop?
The most common question I get about what to wear to an engagement session is what color will look best. The firs thing I recommend thinking about is, what kind of backdrop will you have for photo session. I.e., in a meadow with high grass, by the water, city scape, cloudy day
If your photo session is going to have more a nature feel, it is best to stick to more neutral colors. Think creams, browns, greens, softer blues, maroons, and greys
In contrast, if your session is going to have more of a city backdrop, feel free to use the same neutrals with some bolder pops of colors. Think reds, brighter blues, even yellows
You want to stray away from too many bright colors in one outfit. It is best to keep it to one piece or two small accessories.
Also, try and stay away from colors that completely contrast, like black and white. Instead, of white opt for cream to soften the contrast. The hard contrast makes it hard to have your photos properly exposed.
Remember to think about how your outfits will look together. You don't want to be matchy-matchy and wear the exact same color. Instead, go for colors that are not the same but complement each other.
Below is a really great resource for how to pair complimentary colors:
You can choose 1, 2, 3, or even 4 colors to work with. Remember that a neutral goes with anything (black, white, gray, browns, tans, and creams).
A pop of emermald brightens up this set!
As a general rule of thumb, the size of the print you wear should be in proportion with the size of your frame. In other words, the more petite you are the smaller the print should be.
Polkadot to the perfect scale, adds just a bit of inerest!
Also, think of print similarly to how we talked about colors. It is best to limit the print to one clothing article or accessory. I would even say only one person from the couple should wear a print to keep from clashing too much.
Stripes can be a bit concerning as well. If wearing a horizontal stripe try and stick with a smaller width. Also, think about what part of the body the stripe is on, because wherever it is that area will be highlighted.
Don't be afraid of prints, they can add visual interest!
This picture brings all these items together. Utlity top, tucked into a printed high-wasted skirt, with a pop of orange heels
How low can you go?
For skirts and dresses it is best to keep the length either full length, or just at or above the knee. If you have legs for days, by all means flaunt them! But in general knee length works best on all.
I recommend avoiding capris and shorts. Unless you're one of the few lucky ones with mile long legs, capris and other mid-length pants can shorten your leg length in photos.
I'm also going to talk about neckline in this section. An open neckline elongates your body. Scoop neck, v-neck, and boat neck all work really well. Just remember to keep it classy!
Also, to consider is the length of your sleeves. A cap sleeve can highlight the widest part of a woman's arm, making it appear larger than it really is. If you are comfortable showing your arms opts for a thick strap tank (2-3) inches. If you prefer a more covered up look go for a 3/4 sleeve.
Bring it on!
Layers, Textures, and Accessories
These three items can allow for a lot of visual interest to your outfit. Layers allow you to have different 3 different outfits all in 1! Think jackets, scarves, and hats- add and remove each item and have a brand new outfit.
When you add different textures to your outfit it is a subtle way to break pieces up- think of lace and wool, or denim and silk.
Her lace detailng with his bow tie and suspendor details, really glam this set up!
Then accessorize! Keep in mind to keep this one in moderation. However, a nice ring, a set of bangles, a lovely pendant, a nice pair of studs can really enhance an outfit.
Stylish hat! Check! Cute vest! Check! Tons of stylish options! Check!
Where are we going again?
When picking an outfit, please keep in mind the setting. I like to put it this way, "pick an outfit that you could realistically wear to this place- now elevate that outfit to the next level of sophistication." A common mistake I see is inappropriate footwear. No one is wearing 5 inch stilettos in the middle of the forest! Come on! Your outfit should compliment the environment instead of combating it.
Would your partner wear a stylish suit jacket and you a beautiful maxi on a normal day in the mountains? No probably not...but does it work?
Glam it up!
This can be tough one for a lot of women. You have great skin and love that au natural look. However, as a rule of thumb for a photo shot, I suggest going 2-3 times heavier than your normal makeup application. Heavy make it up does not translate into photos the same way it does it person. You may feel a little unnatural, but as we say on set, "if it feels weird, you're doing it right!" This is a great time to do a makeup trial, or take advantage of the complimentary makeovers most make up counters offer.
Last but not least, make sure you feel good! You are awesome, and if you feel awesome that will show in the photos! The most important thing you have to wear is a smile!
These two are most comfortable when hiking, so doing their engagement on the trails just worked!
This blog was written as a guideline- not as an end all. If you have any questions please reach out!
What do I know?
Let me introduce myself, my name Ashleigh, I'm born and raised in Houston, Texas and I'm Theo's wonderful girlfriend. ;) I've been assisting TheoGraphics on photo sessions for the past couple years. The things I help with most with is styling, posing, and just adding overall woman's touch. I've been an avid follower of fashion since I was young, a shopaholic some may say. So much I even have my degree in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Houston. Go Coogs! I follow many fashion blogs, magazines, and Pinterest to help with my inspiration.