Engagement Session Styling Tips

It can be hard to settle on a style for your engagement photographs.  It’s a chance to say so much about yourselves, and can quickly get overwhelming, especially if you start looking through lots of other engagement photographs!  I’ve put together a small list of tips, tricks, questions to ask yourself, and things to avoid when planning your engagement session outfits.

How can your outfit compliment the location you’ve chosen?

Think about your outfits in relation to the location you’ve chosen for your engagement photographs.  This will quickly help pare down your options.  If we’re going hiking, maybe put those summer dresses back in the closet, if we’re at the cottage then suddenly a bathing suit sequence could be part of the shoot, and if we’re going out to your favourite wine bar for a night on the town, consider opting for something a bit more dressy than your daily jeans and white T-shirt combo.  

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 Dress like yourselves

Don’t try to put on a persona for your engagement photographs.  This is an opportunity to document who you are in your lives together at this point in time.  If you’re feeling cool and want to ride your motorcycle around the neighborhood for your shoot, let’s do that in your favorite worn in leather jackets.   If you’re outdoorsy and live in your Patagonia half zip, then let’s go hiking in Tobermory and wear those fleece tops!  If you love hats, wear a hat, if you never put on dresses then why squeeze into one for your shoot? Above all, you want to look back on these photographs, sigh contentedly, and say ‘hot dam those photos are so US’.

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 Be comfortable

I always say ‘don’t be fidgety and don’t be freezing’.  This is pretty self explanatory, if you don’t feel comfortable in your clothing, you won’t look comfortable in your photographs!  If we’re taking winter engagement photographs, steer clear of shorts and summer rompers, wear your favorite cashmere turtleneck and camel coat instead.  If you really want to wear that new top you just bought, but feel like you have to keep tucking your boobs back in, maybe save it for a night out and not your engagement photographs.  If you have to keep worrying and fidgeting with your outfit you will have a hard time getting into the flow and relaxed movement of an engagement session.

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Lean towards lighter colours

If you’ve chosen me to be your photographer because you like the light and bright style of my photographs, then style your engagement session to play this up.  Choose clothing that is lighter coloured, and more pastel in hue.  If you’re deciding between black jeans or light wash, go for the light wash.  If you’re deciding between your fave LBD or and organic flowing linen number you love, go for the linen.  My work is very organic, soft, and light coloured, and if you love this we should make sure to style your engagement session appropriately.  The exception to this is of course if you prefer wearing dark colours, anything works to photograph in the right environment! 

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 Book your hair and makeup trial

Sometimes people book their hair and makeup trial for the same date as their engagement photographs.  This is a great idea IF the hair and makeup style you choose compliments your outfit and activity (glam buns and lashes out to there will look out of place at the park with your dog).  If you’re booking your hair and makeup trial just to get to know your stylist more, then opt for a look that will compliment your engagement photographs instead of serving as practice for your wedding day.

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Things to avoid

While I never want to tell people what not to do (there are always exceptions to every rule!) here are a few things I’ve found are usually best to avoid when styling your engagement session outfits.  We want to actually be able to see your face in your engagement photographs, so avoid covering up with something like a ball cap.  Hats are okay, and can play perfectly into your style, just make sure we’ll be able to see you easily and without too much dark shadow over your eyes.  Avoid neon colours.  Again, this might play up your style, in which case go wild, however I generally find that really bright and neon colours reflect light up onto your face and create strange skin tones that are difficult to normalize.  If you don’t absolutely love it, steer clear of that pylon orange t-shirt.  Finally, I recommend avoiding extremely large and graphic logos.  They look distracting in portrait photography, and could say something or represent a brand that you’re not going to love so much years from now.  Unless you’re high up on the Levi’s food chain and want to rep that company, maybe opt for the simple white T instead. 

Melody & Edmond's Elegant Engagement at Queen's University, Kingston

Melody & Edmond traveled from Hong Kong to meet me in Kingston where they first met, on the campus of Queen's University.  We explored their their old stomping grounds and favorite haunts around campus, including the library where they spent hour after hour sitting and studying across from each other, before heading into Kingston.  In town we explored the cutest cobbled streets, open squares lined with gorgeous parliament buildings and restaurants, and visited Melody's favorite buildings (I was amazed by how European Kingston can feel!).  We walked past the go-to restaurants of their university days and reminisced, before finishing our shoot together at the waterfront on Lake Ontario.  I love taking a walk down memory lane together with my clients during their engagement sessions, and it was an added treat to be guided around Kingston together with these two!

I can't wait for you to scroll through and see how sweet these two are together, and I guarantee you're going to fall in love with each of Melody's stunning custom dresses.  She even had some of her talented friends come along to do her hair, makeup, and floral crown during the shoot! 

A Rainy Day Muskoka Engagement Session with Haley & Joe

Haley & Joe met me in Muskoka for their engagement session at the family cottage this fall.  None of us were expecting quite how freezing cold the rain and driving winds would be when we got there, but without a moment's hesitation they were ready to take off their coats and stand at the end of windy docks for the sake of a good photograph.  I love all of my gung-ho clients!  Between multiple trips dashing back to the cars to warm ourselves up and dry my lenses out, we created some fabulous photographs of their engagement in beautiful Ontario Cottage Country in the fall, rain, wind, and all. 

Boardwalks and Bikes: Katie & Cam's Engagement Session

I met up with Katie and Cam early one morning in Collingwood for a sunrise engagement session.  After spending some time chatting over home-brewed espresso in their little sunlit kitchen, we headed out on bikes to tour around the Collingwood waterfront and boardwalks as the sun was rising over Georgian Bay.  This shoot re-created the first bike tour that Cam led Katie on when she moved to the area, and felt like the perfect fit for an active and adventurous couple like these two!  I get to see them again to photograph their wedding this weekend, and I could not be more excited to see what wedding-day activities they've dreamed up!

Port Stanley Engagement Session

Sara and Luke's engagement session in Port Stanley was well worth the drive from Toronto, I have to send a shout-out to CAA for making it happen!  None of us had ever been to Port Stanley before, and we were all excited to checkout the beaches, quaint little town streets, and waterfront houses during the off-season.  It really is a fabulous area, and we were lucky to go in the shoulder season to miss the crowds and have miles of white sand beach to ourselves as the sun was setting!  These two were so fun to photograph and explore a new area with, and really I don't think anything can beat sunset photos on a beach by the lake-shore.  I can't wait to kick my wedding season off to an amazing start with these two in just a few more weeks!

Creemore Engagement Shoot

Katie and Jamie planned the perfect engagement session up in Creemore this fall.  Starting out with a beer tasting at the Creemore brewery, we then moved into a quaint Creemore coffee shop, and eventually finished up with an evening at Wasaga Beach with miles of white sand to ourselves.  I love shooting fun engagement sessions that represent a couple, the places that are important to them, and things that represent them together.  These two absolutely killed it, and finishing off with this engagement session has made me so excited already to keep working with my amazing clients in the new year!