juliana kae

Engagement Session Outfits Made Easy

cleveland engagement

So you got engaged… yay! Typically the next step in wedding planning is choosing your venue and your photographer. Once you’ve nailed down your photography style and vision for your big day, you usually start prepping for your engagement session! A lot of my clients ask what to wear for their engagement session. I definitely have some engagement session outfit suggestions to help you prepare for your engagement portrait session. 

First, there are a few other things you should do before outfit choices are made! 

1. Make a hair appointment for a cut, color, and a style!

Most of my brides schedule their regularly programmed hair maintenance on the morning of their engagement session. This kills two birds with one stone. They’re able to have a fresh color and also have beautifully curled hair by a stylist! 

2. Get your makeup done.

Usually my brides choose to go with their wedding day makeup artist to get used to their style and practice a “toned down” trial of their wedding day! Professional makeup results in makeup that lasts throughout the entire session, regardless of the weather! Makeup artists also know what looks great in photos.

3. Clean your ring. 

Your ring will get its very own close up so make sure you clean it so that it shines bright! 

4. Consider getting your nails done. 

This isn’t a requirement of course, but it makes you look polished, classy, and helps your ring stand out! Plus, it’s a fun excuse to pamper yourself! 

I fully believe in going formal for your engagement session outfit. This is a photographic experience- not just posing for a few photos. When you wear a formal outfit, you feel confident, classy, and all-around better about your portrait experience. Some people don’t know exactly what photographs best, so that’s what I will help you with! 

For Ladies 

1. Wear a dress. Dresses are much preferable to any other garment type because they simply photograph the best. Regardless of the body type, a dress flows in the wind, creates movement in the photographs, and gives your hand somewhere to go when photographers pose you. However that leads me to my next point. 

2. Not all dresses are the same. While I love fun summer cotton dresses from Target, they can tend to photograph in a casual way. While these are great for your casual photos, your formal outfit should be a bit more dressy. I definitely suggest a long dress for your formal outfit. Don’t think you have to spend an arm and a leg though! There are amazing retailers out there who offer beautiful formal dresses for the budget-minded. My top 3 are LulusAltar’d State, and Morning Lavender. These online retailers offer absolutely stunning dress options for your formal engagement session outfit. 

3. Avoid heavy prints. While I love a good floral print, these patterns tend to look more casual and too “busy” in photographs. Solid colors are much more preferable for portrait sessions! 

4. Don’t forget about your shoes. A great shoe can go a long way. I recommend cute heels, and not wedges or sandals as this can make an outfit seem too casual and not match the rest of your aesthetic. A great place to snag a pair of great heels includes TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack! 

For Gentlemen

1. Choose an outfit that you would wear to a formal wedding. I know this may feel “stuffy” for a portrait session, but trust me in that it enhances the overall look leaps and bounds. You will only have to be in this outfit for 60 minutes but trust me when I say it’s completely worth it. 

2. Choose colors that compliment your fiance’s dress. Go-to color combos are navy blue, grey, black-tie, and tan. Avoid small patterns as these can tend to distort in-camera. 

3. Choose something well-fitting. If you pull your dad’s baggy suit out of your closet and think it’ll do the trick, please reconsider! A well-fitting sports coat, oxford, and business-casual dress pants will go a long way to make you look like the GQ model that I know you can be.

4. Get a fresh haircut and beard trim. 

5. Don’t forget about your belt and shoes. These should always match each other and complement the rest of your outfit – AKA a brown belt does not go with black pants. 

6. Come with a positive attitude. I know this doesn’t exactly go with engagement session style, but it really goes a long way with a positive photographic experience. Most photographers know that getting engagement photos isn’t the groom’s FAVORITE evening activity, but it most likely means a lot to your fiance. Try to muster up a smile and a light-hearted attitude for the next hour… and who knows! You may even enjoy it.  

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juliana kae

Behind the lens


I love preserving timeless moments from your most intimate day by composing images that evoke feelings of the moment through rich and timeless imagery.