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. 

Rebecca & John: A Sunrise Session in Trinity Bellwoods

If you don’t already know, couples who agree to sunrise engagement sessions with me capture my heart right from the get go.  I’m a hopelessly early riser, and getting up to start the day with the sunrise is one of my favourite things.  When couples want to join me, get a cup of coffee, and do something fun to start the day as well, I know that I’ve found my people!

            Rebecca and John were happy to meet me in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods park as the sun was coming up, and made the usual sunrise session even better by bringing along their classic tandem bicycle as something fun to do during their session. Yes, read that again, their.tandem.bicycle.

            We started with a warm cup of coffee from White Squirrel Coffee to wake ourselves up and warm up a bit as the sun rose higher, then ventured into the park with their bicycle to cruise the many paths, enjoy the sun, and generally have a fantastic time riding their bike around and waving and honking the horn at curious onlookers.  Rebecca and John are one of those awesome couples who are game for anything, love getting out and about in the city together, and are always up for some fun.  As craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of the Toronto skyline, and tandem bike owners, I knew from our first meeting together at Soho House that we would be a great fit.

            I could go on and on about them, but am way too excited for you to take a scroll through and see some of the fun we had shooting with their tandem bike.  I will be photographing their wedding later this summer at a craft brewery, and cannot wait to experience this amazing day with them and share it with you!

xo
-c

Danielle & Anthony: Record Shops, Coffee, and Tacos, a Collingwood Engagement

I get to photograph Danielle & Anthony’s wedding just outside of Toronto, in Kleinburg in just a few weeks, so I thought it was a fitting time to share photos from the amazing engagement session we shot together a year ago! These two have spent so much time together at their family cottage up around Collingwood that they wanted to plan an engagement session exploring the area and enjoying some of their favourite things together. 

            These two knocked their engagement session out of the park, and planned the perfect combination of activities to shake things up, add variety, and really enjoy their time together.  I always recommend that people plan engagement sessions like their ideal date day together (with me tagging along as third wheel), and let me tell you, these two have amazing date days together!

            We started out meeting at Mad Dog coffee in Collingwood, a coffee shop/old time rock and roll record and paraphernalia shop.  We sipped dark coffee while browsing their favourite records, admired old Pink Floyd posters that cover the walls, and chatted music shows.  Next up was lattes in the sun at one of Collingwood’s best coffee shops, the Espresso Post, followed by a delicious dinner of tacos and nachos at the most fun, stylish, and trendy spot in town, Bent Taco. 

            To finish up, as the sun was getting low in the sky we drove over the Sunset Point, a beautiful shale beach with crystal clear water where they enjoyed exploring the shore line together, and dipping their toes in the cool Georgian Bay water.  Whether you’re taking engagement photographs or not, I recommend your next trip to Collingwood follow the same plan as these two, like I said, they nailed it.  

A Dockside Engagement in Muskoka

Can we take a moment to talk about how fantastic it is getting to photograph weddings and engagements in Muskoka?!  There’s something so lovely and intimate about being invited to my couples’ cottages, and getting to document them spending time in a place where they love hanging out together.  It always makes for the most fun, relaxed, and outdoorsy engagement shoots, and I jump at any opportunity to photograph couples in cottage country!

I met Jenny and Nate on a warm, sunny summer day in July, and in classic Canadian cottager style, they were immediately warm and welcoming as soon as I rolled up.  They introduced me to some family, then we grabbed a few drinks and headed up to the top of the boathouse to relax and chat for a while before starting our session. 

We spent the next few hours relaxing, photographing, and spending time doing all the things they love to do together during a weekend at the cottage.  We enjoyed beers on the boathouse roof, took Nate’s fishing boat out for a spin around the lake, basked in the gorgeous sunset light falling across the water, and finished by taking a jump off the boat house roof and swimming in the lake as the sun sank below the horizon.

I wish I could always convince couples to go for a swim during their engagement session, and I’m already so stoked for the next round of cottage photographs to begin again next summer!

Xo
-c