top of page

What to Wear for Engagement or Couples Sessions | CSC Photography - Information | VA Photographer

I get these types of emails and messages all the time. A couple has booked their wedding or engagement package, or maybe just a fun couple session, and they are completely lost on what they should wear.

This is a totally fair question, what to wear. It's hard to not only make yourself look good (and if you're anything like me, you may not feel the most confident in every single outfit), but you also have to pick something for your significant other (because we all know boys can't pick out their own clothes and match).

Before entering the photography industry, Pinterest would have been my only hope.

That's why I've compiled a few tips (straight from the pages of my bridal guide) on how to look your best in your pictures!

Let's start with a few things we need to clear up.

MYTH | Neutrals wash you out

There are some colors that don't' work for everyone, but neutrals don't necessarily was you out. In fact, they can be some of the photogenic colors for portraits!

MYTH | Always wear block to look slimmer

We've all heard that black is a slimming color, but it can be very heavy in portraits. There's nothing wrong with wearing black in portraits, but if you're hoping for light & airy portraits and only wearing black to look thinner, it may not be the best choice.

MYTH | You two need to match

Instead of matching, try coordinating... which is completely different. By choosing colors that complement each other but are not too close to the same, you'll actually look more cohesive and high-end.

MYTH | Your location determines your style more than your outfit

This is completely untrue and actually the exact opposite. Your location should just be a setting in the background. You two (and your outfits respectfully) will be the main focus of the images.

MYTH | You have to buy something new

Devon and I get our picture made often, and if we bought something new every time, we would go broke. If you know an outfit fits you well, suits your style, and makes you feel confident, that's a great choice (even if you've had it for years).

Now, some things to avoid:

1 | Colors to avoid

Bright reds, neons, bright oranges (they reflect color onto the skin and can be difficult to edit)!

2 | Avoid patterns smaller than a quarter

Without getting too technical, tiny patterns cause something called "Chromatic Abberation" in digital images. Men's checked shirts are fine if they "checks" are on the larger side.

3 | Alternate Heaviness

If one of you is wearing very dark jeans, the other may want to wear light pants. If one of you is wearing a navy top, the other should try to avoid a dark/heavy colored top. To a certain degree, alternating the "heaviness" of your outfits can make your images look more balanced.

4 | Avoid one of you being casual while the other is more dressy

This can be a bit awkward in photos. If one of you is dressed up and the other is casual, it can look a little odd in your images.

5 | Other things to avoid

Tennis shoes, graphic tees, bold logos on shirts, sunglasses, and baseball hats.

There are two avenues you can take for your portraits, soft and romantic, or bright and bold. Here's how to achieve those looks!


If you're hoping for a more romantic style of shoot that includes "light and airy" colors, you can actually make outfit choices that will lead your images to turn out brighter, softer, and extra photogenic! It's important to note that you do not need to choose all of these ingredients in order to have a light and airy style to your images but the more ingredients you include, the more romantic it will be.

Neutral Colors: Blushes, tans, light pinks, faint blues, light miny teals, creams, greys, and whites will always result in more of a light and airy look in your images. These colors photograph softer and more romantically! Long, Flowy Skirts/Dresses: Dresses and skirts with feminine ruffles, multiple layers of fabric, and the ability to blow and move in the wind will always photograph beautifully! You would be amazed at how impactful moving fabric is at softening an image.

Khakis vs. Jeans: If you really want your images to be as bright as possible, consider having your groom wear lighter pants instead of dark dress pants or dark jeans.


Just like the "Romantic" recipe, you don't have to apply all of these "ingredients" to get a perfectly Bright & Bold look to your engagement session.

Only one wears a pattern: If one of you has a bold pattern, it's very important that the other doesn't. The more bold the pattern, the more important the rule is!

Bold Backgrounds: A lot of time, if my couples are going for a bold and bright look, I will notice solid colored backgrounds to use for part of their engagement session! It's a double win if the background coordinates with their outfits!

Only one bold color: If you really want a bold and bright look but you want to do it well and tastefully, I would suggest that only one of you have a bright and bold colored outfit and the other stay in a solid neutral to avoid over-doing it.

Large Patterns are Preferred: If you want to wear a pattern, my only request is that your pattern is on the larger side. Like I said above, patterns that are smaller than a quarter can be difficult to photograph. This isn't true of all patterns, but it's a good general rule to go by.

I hope these tips were helpful in your next session's wardrobe selection. Of course, I am always at your disposal for help picking out these outfits!

See you soon,

Caitlin S. Cornett


bottom of page