Styling for Your Engagement Session: Photographer’s Tips for Brides

Wedding Advice

If you haven’t noticed already — in between fawning and fanning over gorgeous local weddings and adventure elopements, we like to use this little corner of the digital world as a platform for sharing tips, tricks, and insider secrets about wedding photography.

Because we love you!

The creative powerhouse and ultra-experienced photographer at the helm of this ship — Shayla, of course! — has over 10 years of shooting weddings under her belt. How’s that for getting your 10,000 hours in?!

So it is because we love you, and also because, after a decade of shooting, Shayla’s learned a thing or two. Now, as a very soon-to-be-wed bride herself, she’s been on both sides of the wedding planning process, and knows just how much effort goes into planning the perfect day.

The week before last we chatted a bit about engagement sessions, and why, especially now during COVID-19, every engaged couple needs one. (Like we even need to convince people to have more insanely beautiful photos of them and their favorite person!) But even as engagement sessions become a more ubiquitous part of getting married, they’re still shrouded in a bit of mystery.

When do you schedule your engagement session? Where should you shoot them? Is it as formal as your wedding photos, or more comfortable like family sessions?

Luckily, our engagement guide covers all that good stuff, and it’s totally free for you to download right here.

In the meantime though, let’s break down one aspect of an engagement shoot: styling for brides, as per our expert’s advice.

(Don’t worry, fellas, we’ve got a whole blog on styling YOU for your session coming up soon, too!)

Should I dress up?

Here’s your chance to get that beautiful dress you’ve been eyeing or the sexy pant suit! Either way, it’s your chance to get dolled up!

You can always change into a more casual look afterwards if you would like to have two different looks! I always tell my couples: “the nicer you look, the nicer the photos will look!” It’s true! Be sure to know what dress styles flatter your body because..(dun dun dunnnnn) the MOST IMPORTANT thing of all: you MUST be comfortable in what you are wearing!

If you don’t feel comfortable or feel like the girls are showing too much, your “uncomfortable-ness” will show in the photos! So yes, I want you to dress up but I also want you to be comfortable. 

Statement piece?

Pair a bold accessory or two with your outfit! This can help bring depth to your images. Colorful, big statement necklaces bring pops of color to the photos. Keep in mind small delicate necklaces do not show up as well unless its a close up photo. 

Next up: Accessories! Belts, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose one or two that won’t compete for attention. Lastly, Props! Fresh florals such as a crown, bouquet or a basket can be a really romantic touch as well.

*(This is also a great opportunity – if you have already selected your florist – to order a ‘test bouquet!’ so you can have an idea of what your bouquet will look like on the wedding day!)*

You know your body best.

Hey girl… hey! I see you… you are beautiful and stunning! And even though I say that and your partner says that, you may still see “flaws” in the mirror. Whether it be your arms, your knees, your feet, choosing flattering outfits and colors that complement your BEST features is key to ensuring the best photos, why? Because you will feel comfortable!!

If its your arms…Try three-quarter length sleeves. They create a slimming effect on all arms! Yes! You read that right! You could also bring a tasteful jacket, blazer or cardigan along to help compliment your outfit. Bonus! Having a layer to take off such as a jacket provides a two in one outfit option! Also fyi: spaghetti straps and strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera. If you are unhappy with your arms, definitely try to avoid those whenever possible.

Ladies that love to show leg! Heels elongate your legs, making them look long and fabulous! I always suggest closed toed heels/flats (I’m a flats person myself!) because having a closed toe helps draw the eye all the way down your leg to the toe! Be sure to schedule a pedicure before your session if you are wearing sandals or shoes that show your toes! These little tips make all the difference!

Color choices?

Do you know what colors look absolutely stunning on you? Personally, I love wearing blush pinks! They look so lovely with my skin tone…So what’s your color? If you aren’t sure, the best way is to ask your partner what their favorite color is on you! Need a more reliable source?! Haha…ask your mom, they always know best!

A case for avoiding bright and bold colors… people will focus more on your true emotion and connection instead of the hot pink leather blazer glistening in the sunlight! Muted blues, soft pastels mixed with light neutrals such as light gray, creams, lighter browns and whites = perfection.

(Bonus! This beautiful, soft palette looks beautiful with all locations and backgrounds!)

Matching your partner?

You and your partner will look the best with color coordinating outfits! They do not need to be matchy-matchy! But within the same color palette and scope or theme! (ex: if you are dressed up in a long, flowy dress he should be equally as dressed up!) Try to wear complimentary main colors while staying in the same color palette family.

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But all of this just scratches the surface! There’s still tons to think about and discuss — like your jewelry and makeup, your groom’s attire, and more!

You can grab all the fantastic details of Shayla’s expert advice by downloading your free engagement guide right here.

(PSST — if you have specific questions about the location of your shoot, how to dress to compliment your body type, or how to choose the perfect color palette for you and your boo — you can ask our expert! Click here to contact Shayla about your engagement session.)

  1. […] you missed our last blog on styling tips for your engagement session, then have no fear! You can catch up on what you missed right here, and further your photoshoot […]

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