What to wear for your Raleigh engagement photography session

August 30, 2017


Although the Raleigh area is truly fantastic weather wise year round for outdoor engagement photos (one could just as easily wear a light blouse or a winter jacker in December depending on the date) the task of putting together an outfit for you and your fianc'e can be confusing.  Deciding what to wear for your engagement photography session can seem to be a daunting task but it does not have to be this way. I am always on the lookout for helpful information to pass along to my clients when it comes to planning their engagement photo shoots with me so I'm pleased to share this info that I found on http://digital-photography-school.com/clothing-for-portraits-how-to-tell-your-subjects-what-to-wear/ . Although the focus of that blog post pertains to the style of dress for group or family portraits I found that most of the information therein carries over to the realm of engagement photography.

Listed below is a summery of the best advice that I read in that above post that thought my own clients would appreciate in regards to clothing and the protection of just the right look that will reflect the way you truly are in your photos. 

  • Wear solid colored clothing so that the focus is on your faces and no one person stands out from the background . If you wear stripes, checkered patterns or flowers, you will stand out from one another thus breaking the unity focus of your engagement session. 
  • Choose muted tones that are a bit subdued so that you two are the subject not your clothes. Bright colors project (especially reds, oranges, and yellows), which also has the potential to make you look larger.
  • Choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light) so that one doesent look bigger than the other.  White top, dark pants will make your top look bigger.  White pants, dark top will make your bum look larger.
  • Select 1-3 colors for your couples portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and the have the two of you work within that color palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy and all dark jewel tones.  OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims in all lighter, softer tones.  
  • Choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach) because white just sticks out like a sore thumb and that is all that you will notice in your portrait. That being said if your wearing cute matching socks let me know and I'll make sure to get a photo of this too!
  • Keep jewelry simple and minimalistic because too much draws attention away from your faces
  • If your planning on getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session . Again this seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised! Fresh hair cuts rarely look their best the same or next day. Ladies need time to practice working it, men need it to grow out just a little. Allow some time to live with your new look before your portrait session.

These are all excellent suggestions on what to wear during your photoshoot.The idea is to keep the focus of my camera on the true connection shared between you the two of you when your looking into each others eyes or sharing a joke in between shots. Bright colors and checkered patterns can be very distracting elements in a portrait so the bottom line is that  its best to keep your wardrobe look minimalistic and generally neutral.

That being said remember that the info above is to be used as a guideline not a rulebook...


Beyond the particular specific optical reasons for choosing one wardrobe look or another the most important thing you can wear in your photos is a smile! If your going to choose anything special to wear make sure that you and your partner are comfortable and feel confident in your wardrobe choices. It's ok to compromise if your partner won't smile unless he's wearing his favorite plaid shirt or you simply feel more beautiful wearing a bright blue skirt.  After all, if your tugging at an annoying creeping hemline or he is fidgeting with his dress shirt collar your photos will reflect your general discomfort so instead be happy, be comfortable, and wear your hearts on your sleeves! 

Here are a few examples of my past photoshoots where my clients definitely had their wardrobe game on point and attitudes in sync 

  Working your look as a team will always result in better photos as pictured below....


Vintage retro inspired engagement photography Fayetteville NCVintage inspired engagement photography Fayetteville NCvintage inspired engagement photography  


In favor of going casual... 

When it comes to engagement photoshoots if jeans or shorts and a informal shirts are what you and your partner are most comfortable wearing then by all means be YOURSELF and wear what you want. As a bonus, there is a lovely contrast in viewing the epic romantic moments caught on camera of people who look like they are totally in sync with each other comfort wise no matter what they are wearing in any given situation. In other words you don't have to be wearing a gown to pull off a ballroom dip!


Engagement Photography + Raleigh, NC + The NC Museum of Art + the kissEngagement Photography + Raleigh, NC + The NC Museum of Art + the kissNorth Carolina engagement portrait photography as shot by Sally Siko of Silvercord Event Photography LLC. Locations included as follows,The North Carolina Museum of Art in Cary/Raleigh NC

Dressing up is fantastic...

Just because your photoshoot takes place on a farm does not mean that you have to dress like your working on one (even if you really do!) There is just something special about wearing a dress shirt or a elegantly simple dress in an unexpected place, such as while sitting on a tractor..

"red tractor engagement photography""red tractor engagement photography"Engagement photography session featuring a red tractor on a farm in Clinton NC as shot on location by photographer Sally Siko.   

Consideration of the weather and season is important too..

We are blessed to experience all four seasons here in the Raleigh North Carolina area so If its cold outside on photoshoot day wear a coat or a layers under a warm shirt or sweater. It is far better to be properly dressed for the elements then to be stressed out by shivering  while having your photo taken!


engagement Photography + Raleigh, NC + JC Raulston Arboretumengagement Photography + Raleigh, NC + JC Raulston ArboretumNorth Carolina engagement portrait photography as shot by Sally Siko of Silvercord Event Photography LLC. Locations included as follows, the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh NC

Meredith College engagement photography portraitMeredith College engagement photography portrait

Christmas themed + Engagement photography + Raleigh NCChristmas themed + Engagement photography + Raleigh NCA Christmas themed engagement photography session at Harris Lake , NC near Raleigh NC.

One last thing....

There is always room to break the color "rules" of keeping the tones and patterns muted or subdued in your style of dress. Sometimes the opposite is true and its great to go BOLD with your color choices, especially in lighting situations where the light is dim or the color quality of the light itself is a dominate feature of the photograph, such as in a bright sunset or wide open barren field. 

Engagement photography in a wheat field at sunset wearing bright colors


This photo of a happy couple in a wheat field wouldn't feel the same if the couple was wearing grey or black because the bright blues and aqua greens really draw your eyes to them and not just to that gorgeous golden background. When we scheduled this photoshoot I anticipated this color combination beforehand, recommended it to my clients who in the end were quite pleased with the results.

Crazy patterns on your clothing can still work too if the main base color is shared between you and your fiancé and at least one of you is dressed simply. Remember that color coordination is about linking the two of you together, not contrasting one another.


To sum it all up, choose your engagement shoot wardrobe style with your partner with an eye towards harmony and unity.

After all what else says team spirit more then wardrobe co ordination!


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any questions about engagement photography wardrobe strategy or just want to stay hello email me anytime at sbluta2@yahoo.com



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