Planning what to wear for engagement photos doesn’t need to be complicated.

Follow these tips, and be true to your own unique style.

Comfort rules.

Whatever you wear, be comfortable.   Make sure you can move, sit and walk freely in your clothing and shoes.  Your clothing should fit well too.  Don’t wear clothing so big that it wrinkles and bunches up, or so tight that it gets uncomfortable.  This way you can focus your energy on interacting with your partner during your engagement shoot instead of constantly adjusting your outfit.

a couple goes fishing for their white bear lake engagement shoot

Plan for the weather.

In Minnesota, we can have quickly changing weather conditions in any season.  This means that you should always bring a coat or sweater to your engagement.  You can leave it in the car or fit it in my camera bag.  This way you can grab it when you get chilly or it starts to rain.

Warm Weather 

 In summer the humidity can turn a mild day hot.  Choose lightweight fabrics like cotton to keep cool, and avoid wearing too many layers.  Mosquitos can be an issue during those warm summer evenings too.  I bring bug spray with me to our shoot, but if you have sensitive skin you should bring your preferred spray.

Cold Weather

  For cold weather engagements where you don’t want your coats in the pictures, you can dress in layers.  Putting a thermal shirt or tank top under your outfit gives you an extra layer of warmth.  You can also use accessories like fun winter hats and scarves to stay warm without looking “bundled up” in your pictures.

romantic waterfall engagement pictures mankato

winter engagement pictures in sweaters

Coordinate colors.

If you and your partner want to wear the same colors you can create visual harmony in your engagement portraits by choosing one color family to go with.  This could be all neutrals, all jewel tones, or all primary colors.  If you’re choosing just one color to wear, like all blue, look for wardrobe pieces that are multiple shades of the color instead of the exact same shade.

Contrast Colors

Another way to create visual harmony in your photos is to wear color opposites.  The combination that works best will be a warm color and a cool color, like blue and orange, or red and green.  You can also choose to contrast by not wearing any color and going with black and white outfits.

A red shirt and green dress, along with a yellow background provide contrast in this portrait.

Dress For A Mood

What to wear for engagement pictures if you want to express a certain mood?  Think about the romance you have with your partner.  Is your romance deep and dramatic (or do you want to explore that emotion together for your pictures?) Try dressing in dark neutral colors to add drama.  If your romance is naturally playful like Jamie and Amanda’s picture below, you can enhance that playfulness with bright pops of color that feel whimsical.

Patterns and Prints

If you don’t normally wear prints you don’t have to wear them for your session.  Prints are difficult to style if you aren’t used to them.  If you love prints, look for floral prints, dot prints, and flannel to create a playful, seasonal or vintage mood to your pictures.   Stay away from clothing with visually overwhelming “busy” prints, crazy stripes, bold patterns, giant logos, or loud neon colors.

Wear the unique, personal clothing you love.

Nate wore his surfing t-rex dinosaur shirt for part of his and Elissa’s engagement pictures.  Because he had to!  He loves this shirt!  If you have a piece of clothing that defines you bring it with.  Even if it’s one or two quick pictures, this is your shoot and the more personal the better.

Dress for a date night.

I’m a strong believer that your time together is precious.  When you have portraits, I want you to enjoy yourselves and that time together. When thinking about what to wear for engagement photos, decide on what activities you’ll do, and then dress for those activities.  

a couple rides the sky glider for their state fair engagement shoot.
A fun date night for Mackenzie and Cody included riding the Sky Glider at the Minnesota State Fair.

Rings & jewelry.

Let your ring be the focal point of your jewelry.  Add pieces that harmonize with the ring, and don’t compete for attention.  If you have other jewelry that’s special to you or your partner gifted you, consider wearing that also.


Other considerations when planning engagement photos:

Should You Bring Pets?

If you enjoy having pictures with your pet, and your pet does well meeting new people, please bring them.  Find a friend to come along and be your pet sitter for some of the pictures without your pets too.  I believe our animals are part of our families.  If you love to go out and walk your dog or ride horses together, we should do that for your pictures, because your engagement shoot is about finding moments to photograph that create a portrait of your life together as a couple.  

Should you bring your kids?

Do what works best for you.  Just the two of you at your engagement session can be a much-needed break from parenting.  Maybe it feels more meaningful to you for the kids to come along and celebrate your engagement as a family. I’m on board with the choice that fits your family dynamic best.

When in doubt ask your photographer.

I want you to be free to express your own style during engagement photos.  You can text me pictures, I can help you raid your closet.  If you can tell me the mood you want your portraits to have I can suggest outfits choices that will elevate the mood.  I’m happy to help and give you my opinion on your choices.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for what to wear for engagement photos.  If you have questions leave me a comment below or send me a message.

I am a Minnesota Wedding and Portrait Photographer, located in Belle Plaine.  You can contact me via my contact form here.


For more information on weddings and portraits, read the info page here.

Hey wedding and engagement photographers!  Are you curious about how I edit my photography in Lightroom?  ShootDotEdit has an amazing article that will give you some tips to improve your workflow.  Get all the details in their blog: