Colorado Engagement Photos taken by Taylor Nicole Photography | Colorado Wedding Photographer
‘What should I wear for my engagement portraits?’ The question I hear ALL the time, for a good reason too. Engagement portraits are exciting, and the task of going from Pinterest dream board to actually picking the outfits that represent how you want to present yourself in these images is not easy! So here are a few tips for planning your Colorado engagement portrait outfits.
To preface the tips I want to make sure you consider three things first. Your location, season and the weather. Are you ready for the biggest secret about looking great in your engagement portraits? It is confidence! And your outfit choices are the first element of how comfortable and confident you can be in your photos! When you are comfortable and feel great, it will be SO much easier to relax and feel confident in front of the camera and we will get those romantic and whimsical engagement portraits you’re dreaming of.
So a general rule of thumb dress for the season. So as much as you don’t want to be sweating through your chunky sweaters in the heat of Summer, you also won’t want to be wearing your sandals in the snow. Dress seasonably appropriate. Also please bring extra layers, even if you aren’t planning on wearing them in the portraits. It helps so much to have a coat (and maybe even gloves) to put on as we walk between locations, this especially applies to mountain locations in Fall, Winter and Spring. Yes it is generally colder and more windy in the mountains. Even in the Summer it can cool down quickly around sunset. Hopefully you won’t need them, but trust me if it is chilly you will wish you had the option to warm up!
If you aren’t sure what to expect for weather at your location, just ask me before your session!
Now on to the good stuff! Real advice from the photographer’s point of view for planning outfits for your Colorado engagement session!
1. Think Fancy!
These are the only engagement portraits you are going to take in your life! While that statement might sound a bit dramatic, isn’t it true?! You will likely use these portraits in your wedding invitations and even to display during your wedding day itself. So people will be seeing these portraits at and for a very elegant event, why not match the style?! Also, the key to looking great in portraits is confidence. So imagine how photo ready you would feel in your yoga pants versus your favorite flowy dress and heels? Also, if fancy isn’t exactly your normal day to day (I’m in that boat too!) and you’re feeling a little nervous about changing it up I’d encourage you that your engagement photos are a special, once in a lifetime event. I’d rather you look back on this time and be glad you went for it and got everything out of this experience instead of just staying casual.
In general I recommend two outfits for engagement sessions, so a lot of advice out there is to choose a “dressy” and a “casual” outfit. I want to encourage you to think more formal and business casual instead. With this in mind maybe one outfit includes a floor length cocktail dress, guy in sports coat and slacks. Then the second outfit being more business casual, maybe a shorter dress and guy in nice jeans and button down shirt.
Girls- long flowing or fitted floor length dresses are a great option, as well as fitted clothing like layering with a fitted blazer. A tunic top or sweater with fitted jeans.
Guys- button down shirts with jeans or dress pants, a sports coat, sweaters layered over collared shirts, flannels, pull overs etc.
Now I know that the fancier option might not always feel as comfortable, there is a reason we choose yoga pants and printed tees over our suits and strapless gowns for our day to day. However, when it comes to feeling comfortable in front of the camera it doesn’t always mean comfy as lounging at home, but more feeling like the best version of yourself. So make sure that your formal and/or business casual clothing fits you well and makes your feel great!
2. Complimentary Color Schemes
So to debunk a few common thoughts- You don’t need to wear matching t-shirts, in fact you don’t even need to wear the same color at all! What we want is for your colors to compliment each other, in both intensity and tone. So to start, just think of colors that look good on you and your partner. Then try selecting a color and a neutral.
So colors being- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple
Neutrals being- white, gray, black, beige, taupe, navy, and olive
So you can probably start to imagine a few color options. Once you have your main color and neutral you can add in complimentary colors or other neutrals as needed. Practically this might look like you have a favorite mustard yellow dress, that’s a bold color right? What do you dress your guy in? Maybe dark jeans and a white button down, or slacks with a navy sports coat. So the start of that color scheme being yellow and navy, and then other tones vary from there.
Another fun way to incorporate color into your outfits are colored pants for the girls. So whether that is a muted light pink top and white pants, or maroon pants with a navy top you can start to see how adding colors and neutrals can be fun! We will get to accessories later, that is another area to add color to your outfits overall without over doing it!
‘This is another place where the season comes into play. In Spring and Summer you can easily wear pastels and lighter colors, Summer and Fall you can incorporate more deep colors, and Fall and Winter you can choose deep or even darker colors to really pop in your environment and match the feel of your session in its respective season.
‘One more note, quite possibly the most important note to add about color- do not, I repeat, do NOT wear neon colors. Colorado is a sunny state, but even on the most cloudy day in the shade neons can create a color cast onto your neck and faces that is almost impossible to remove! I don’t want you looking jaundiced (neon yellow/orange), sunburned (neon pink) or sick (neon green). So save the neons for the beach and gym!
3. Patterns Are Allowed!
The days of matching plain white t-shirts and jeans are gone! A pattern and a solid combo is great, but you also don’t be afraid to mix patterns like plaid and dots, or floral and stripes.
I would suggest that you only use two thin/weaker patterns, or just one bold pattern and one weaker if you do choose to mix.
So a good example- bold floral patterned dress and a thin plaid button down.
Bad examples- ‘Where’s Waldo’ thick stripes with thick checker board plaid. Or Hawaiian flower print with bold polka dots.
Do you get what I’m saying? If you are really worried about how your patterns look together, lay out the outfits side by side, snap a picture see what you think. If you’re still wondering send me a picture and I will let you know what I think too!
4. Accessories and Statement Pieces
This is a great way to show your unique style during your engagement session. Do you love bold blue? Maybe add that in a hair clip, scarf or a fitted blazer. It if is a blazer then make sure to not compete that color with another bold bright color too, fill the color scheme more with neutrals like gray, beige, white ect.
Heels or flats are also a fun way to add a pop of color. Side note, make sure your shoes are appropriate for the location too. Stilletos on a rocky edge isn’t a great combo!
And as far as accessories, I’d say go for it! Whether that is a necklace, bracellete, earings. All of these can be statement pieces too, even if the statement piece is focused on the bling vs. the color pop!
Make sure to check your necklaces with the neckline of the outfits you choose, you want to make sure the necklace falls in a flattering place with the neckline, not too short or getting caught under your top etc.
A hat is also such a fun addition for your portraits. It adds another style element and we can take portraits with and without for variety.
5. Bonus Glam!
These options are for going the extra mile and really getting all that you can from your engagement session experience!
1. Nails- you likely had your nails done before he popped the question, well we are going to make that ring shine during your engagement session too. So go treat yourself (feel free to read that Parks & Rec style!) and get a manicure. Or at least paint your nails before the session!
2. Hair & Makeup – Did you know that bold makeup photographs better? Something about contouring really enhances face structure and false lashes or lash extensions really do make your eyes pop. I am a makeup minimalist myself, so I can relate if you aren’t sure where to start. So one way to boost your confidence in front of the camera is actually to have your hair and makeup styled! Many wedding hair and makeup artists offer trail runs, so it might be a good time to schedule your trial. Or if you need help finding hair and makeup I can point you to some good options too. The other thing I’ve had clients do is to actually go by a makeup or department store and have a makeover done there, and then have a salon style their hair. Or if you have a family member or friend who would be willing to help you out that would be a good option too! Make sure to have these done earlier in the day to make sure you are happy with it and that we have time to bump your session up a bit if weather requires.
I hope these tips help you when planning outfits for your Colorado engagement session. Overall I want you to be happy, comfortable and confident during your session whether you follow these tips or not. If you have other questions absolutely let me know, I would love to help you decide on your outfits. I hope this left you at a good starting place!
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