One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What should we wear?”
You know how to coordinate yourself, but it’s not everyday that you have to coordinate with your fiancé. Unless you’re like me and my boyfriend… we’ve started asking the short question the day before church, “Black or brown?” Because it’s a fashion faux pa to mix black and brown and I don’t want the two of us to look like a giant faux pa. It’s the color-conscious photographer in me. Ah, but I digress…
Needless to say, I’ve developed a few tips to help make planning for your engagement session a little easier. But please, take these with GRAIN OF SALT, because I sort of consider myself to be the least fashion conscious person I know. But, I have picked up a thing or two over the years of photographing people.
Now, there are a few areas that need to be accounted for, not just your wardrobe:
1. Hair and Makeup
1. Let’s start with the easy part: hair and makeup.
— I think hair can be as styled or as loose as you want it. I’m not terribly particular on this. I do recommend at least giving it a little bit of body, for you straight-haired girls, with some blow drying and maybe just curl the ends. I love natural, hair in the face kind of shots.
— Makeup… I’m a stickler on makeup. Even if you don’t wear it, I highly recommend getting your makeup professionally done if you can. Otherwise, it’s really important to wear some foundation. This makes it so much easier to touch-up any kind of acne/blemishes/lines that you may have and also gives you a nice even tone. Don’t skimp on the eyes – at a minimum mascara is great, coupled with eyeliner is even better – even if you don’t wear it. This really makes your eyes pop in the photos… and after all, it’s all about the eyes. Lip gloss at a minimum is a must – it at least defines your lips and sometimes gives a bit of color.
— I love some good jewelry. Mainly earrings. They frame your face and add a little extra somethin’-somethin’ to your images. A good necklace never hurts too. You want to coordinate a different set of jewelry with each outfit.
— Accessories such as scarfs, headbands, suspenders (if that’s what your man’s into) can go along way. I’m all about layering and textures.
— This is what I’m really passionate about. Your clothes can make or break your shoot! At least when you work with us… we really use what you’re wearing to guide our session. We value colors and tones. We love to put you in front of backdrops that’s either the same color palette as your clothes or a complementary color to your clothes.
— To start, narrow down 2 to 3 favorite, coordinated outfits for you and your fiancé.
— Secondly, if we’re shooting in a location(s) with a variety of different backdrops: the more the merrier. I’m such a fan of bringing several different tops just so we can have some options because you never know where we’ll end up.
— Third, bring some neutrals to fall back on. You can do an awesome, awesome session in just a couple of solid white or black tops.
— Fourth, if you really want to get into coordination, and not just wear a sold white t-shirt, here are a few areas that we often talk about: the same color, copmlementary colors, shades of a color, same value of colors, and also accenting colors. Let’s break it down…
First, you can never go wrong if you wear the same colors:
Below, these guys are wearing simple black and white. Pick a color that looks great on both of you and wear the exact same shade of it.
Or if you want to get a little fancier, you can wear the same color(s) in different patterns.
Second, complementary colors always work well together. Red complements green. Blue complements orange. And purple complements yellow. Think Denver Broncos VS Minnesota Vikings.
Now these guys are wearing blue and yellow, but that yellow is close enough to orange that it totally works.
Third, another piece of advice is to wear various shades of a color. Just make sure the jump in values (more on values below) aren’t too extreme.
Fourth, and perhaps the most advance piece of advice, is to coordinate not just shades of one color, but values of different colors. It’s important to understand value here. I like to think of value as the strength of the color… how light or dark it is. You can have Bronco blue and baby blue… which is a lighter value of blue? Baby blue. Let’s look at Easter colors: blue, pink, yellow, and green. Not necessarily complementary colors, but they are all light, baby colors. Same value, you see?
Another way to think of value: if you were to convert the image to black and white, would the “colors” be the same shade of grey? Check these out:
These guys are in grey and tan. But light grey and light tan.
Lastly, accenting colors can be real nice. This is where one person wears a pattern/combination of colors and the other person just pulls one single color from that pattern.
Honestly, I could probably write multiple blog posts about what to wear for your engagement shoot. We hardly touched on texturing. But I think this is a good start for now. And please, take all this with a grain of salt. As it’s pretty much all subjective aaaand you’re getting this advice from someone who really prefers to wear a t-shirt and jeans.
Good luck and happy shopping! :-)