Couples & Engagement Styling Guide
What the Heck Do I Wear?!
Let me preface this guide by saying it is only meant to help you, not limit you. In the end, the most important thing is that you wear what you feel most confident and happy in. Be true to yourself and remember… everything I say may sound like a rule, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken. If you feel uncomfortable in your outfits, it will probably shine through in the photos. Your photos will be 1000000x better if you feel comfortable and confident. Now, let’s get to the styling!
& Why does it matter?
Picking out outfits can be one of the toughest parts of planning a photo session. Having good outfits is so important to creating beautiful, whimsical, timeless images. You don’t have to be a fashionista to style yourself for a session (trust me, I wear the same four black shirts on repeat). I have some ideas below to help you pick the perfect outfit(s) for your session!
How many outfits should I bring?
Depending on how long we’ll be shooting, I normally recommend couples bring anwhere from 1-4 outfits. For my basic couples sessions, I always recommend bringing these two kinds of outfits:
-A casual outfit - Something that represents who you are, perhaps something already hanging in your closet. I want your personality to shine through, and wearing jeans or a comfy jumpsuit or whatever you want can help us with more posing.
-A formal outfit - whether you want to wear a flowy dress like I always suggest or something else, I highly reccomend dressing up for your photo shoot. Something about being all dressed up in nature is so inspiring to me, and I get my best photos when I have a long, flowing skirt to work with!
During our session, we will be running, dancing, balancing, etc. If we have to reset an outfit everytime we move, this can take a lot of time away from our session and lead you to look uncomfortable on camera. Find clothes that are easy to move in. (Note: if you’re not sure, put on your outfit and run down the block or spin three times to make sure no skirts fly open, shirts fall down, pants sag, etc.)
One reason I always suggest flowy, maxi dresses in my sessions is because they move so well with you and they look AWESOME in nature as they move with the wind or flow with the waves of the ocean. Plus, I love dresses, but short dresses are too limiting! **Wrap-around dresses are a super popular trend, but make sure you find one that's well designed as a lot of clients have had dresses split open or not cover what they're supposed to.
Try to avoid heels as well since they can slow us down and be dangerous if we go off trail. Wear comfy shoes & if we're headed to a beach, plan to go barefoot!
Colors, Patterns, & Matching, oh my!
Nature is what inspires me and where I like to shoot most! Therefore, natural tones tend to compliment the backgrounds best. While there are good times for bright colors, I normally reccomend going with earthier tones of your favorite colors - burnt yellows instead of neons, forest greens instead of lime, deep maroon instead of fire house red. Not only do these match the environment better, but they work best with my editing styles.
The colors of your clothes also largely influence the mood of the photos. For example, if you wear whites and pastels, the mood of the photo will be brighter and airier. If you wear blacks and navies and dark colors, the mood will be a little bit darker. If you want an airy look, avoid dark colors!
Lastly, be sure to find colors that compliment your skin tones. If you are super pale like me, maybe steer away from warmer colors like reds, pinks, and oranges as they can cast warm tones on your skin that can be tough to edit out.
I usually opt out for simple and neutral outfits, but patterns can be great way to add texture to a scene. If you’re not sure if a pattern will be too busy, feel free to ask. If one of you does go for a pattern, it's usually best to throw the other person in something neutral so you don’t clash! Since patterns can distract from your emotions and faces, try to stay away from loud, big patterns that might draw the attention away from you and your love. Also avoid small stripes as these can cause moire in photos.
Compliment don’t match! Trust me, I love to match my boyfriend (we’re weirdos like that!) We have at least 3-4 shirts/sweaters that match and my boyfriend loves to run into the other room to change into his matching counterpart when I put mine on. As cute (or cringeworthy) as this is, matching does not look great in photos! You either blend together or draw too much attention onto what you’re wearing - distracting from the most important thing, you. If you’re not sure what to dress your significant other in, ask me! I can send color palettes, recommendations, whatever you need!
To compliment bright colors (reds, blues, yellows), opt for something more neutral (whites, grays, blacks).
Ask me! I'm pretty good at this stuff!
Hair & Makeup
While getting hair and makeup professionally done is not a necessity, I know it makes a world of difference to some people. Whatever helps you feel most confident, I say do that!
Just be sure to plan in extra time and do research on who you’re working with. Sometimes people go in wanting a natural look, but their makeup stylist specializes in heavier, moodier makeup and they have to run home before their session to start over. Do what feels best to you!
Let ‘s be honest! Accessories can add SO much to a shoot. Whether that’s a cute floppy hat, a belt on your dress, a flower crown, etc. accessories are a great way to show personality through your outfit and create a unique look.
In the past, I’ve used record players, picnic setups, airplanes, mermaid tails, moss ring holders, bouquets of flowers, whatever. If you and your honey have something unique about you, we can incorporate it into photos. For example, when I used records, I knew that the boy was a musician and had his own collection of vinyl. When we used airplanes, my client was a pilot and they combined her sense of style with his knowledge of local airports.
Props aren't at all necessary, but I always like to present the option!
Quick things to Note:
-Most of the locations I go to don’t have easily accessible bathrooms for changing, and those that do might not be the most glamorous (nature, am I right!?). If you bring a change in outfit, be prepared to change in the car or bring a giant blanket to change behind!
-A lot of the places I shoot in can be cold - especially if you're headed near San Francisco or the coast. Be sure to bring a warm jacket for in between shots in case we encounter a cold, windy, or overcast day!
-If you still feel confused, head to my Pinterest board of couples photos to get more ideas. Just click here!
-Be yourself. These photos are for you, so I want you guys to look like yourselves!
That's all, Folks!
I'm here to help, so if you need any more help, don't hestitate to ask! Feel free to send me photos of your outfits as you're planning them so I can quickly check to make sure they'll look great on camera and to help me start envisioning our shoot. I want you to look good, but most importantly, I want you to feel comfortable and have fun.