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What do I wear to my engagement photo session? 4 rules to help you look great | helpful hints series

Wedding and engagement season is here, and I've been getting lots of questions about, "what do I wear to our engagement session?" Ask three photographers this question and you'll get three slightly different answers, but here are my go-to tips to help you look great in your engagement (or anniversary, or other couples') photos.

Engagement outfit rule #1: Wear what makes you confident and comfortable. 
Do you feel your best looking sharp in a tailored suit or cocktail dress? Or is a more casual vibe with jeans and a shirt the most "you"? If you don't feel great about what you're wearing, it'll seep into how you stand, how you look at the camera, and more. Conversely, if your clothes are comfortable, well-fitting, and make you feel great, your confidence will shine through on camera and help you look your best -- so much so, that if you have to break all of the other rules to follow this one, do it!

Engagement outfit rule #2: Textures are awesome. So are colors. (Plain black and white are only okay.)
Vibrant colors, whether they're primary colors, jewel tones, or something in between, photograph beautifully.  Don't be afraid of color, whether that's in the main pieces of your outfit, or in accessories like shoes, jewelry, scarves, and belts. Conversely, I personally suggest you avoid main pieces of clothing that are solid black or solid white. If you want to go with black or white, try something textured, like the white dress in the photo above. Unless you're supermodel skinny, solid black can make you look blocky and bigger than real life in photos, and solid white can pull focus from your faces.

Engagement outfit rule #3: For patterns, think Goldilocks: not too big, not too small.
Too often, I hear clients say, "but I've been told never to wear a pattern in photos!" While sometimes, big, powerful prints the size of your head (like some garden party floral-printed dresses) can pull attention from your face, in general prints are fine! Men in particular often turn to plaid button-up shirts for photos, because they can be dressed up or dressed down. In the photo above, his shirt is a great plaid for photos: not too big so it's not distracting, but not so small (like a pinstripe, seersucker, or houndstooth) that it looks muddled or the colors "bleed" into one another on camera. And that's the key with prints -- not TOO big, and not TOO small. Everything else is fine!

Engagement outfit rule #4: Don't forget the details!
There's some truth that the devil's in the details. Taking a few extra minutes to add those finishing touches like jewelry (including your engagement ring!), accessories (hats, scarves, belts, etc.), great shoes, and attractive outerwear (if it's chilly) all can help take your look from good to great! Ladies, if it's your thing, don't hesitate to have your hair and/or makeup professionally styled (a great chance to test-run your wedding look!), and get a manicure to show off that ring! Finally, going the extra mile to think ahead and complement (not match) the "look" of your partner (like the preppy denim and wool look above) really pulls things together -- you'll look fantastic together without looking too "we're both wearing white shirts and faded jeans" matchy.

Most of all, though? Relax, try to have fun, and remember to joke and enjoy your fiancé's company -- no matter what you're wearing, if you're laughing naturally and having fun, you'll look great on camera.

More to read in the helpful hints series