What to Wear at Your Engagement Session

What to wear at a photo session. This particular shot the couple has chosen  a non distracting color choice of muted dark green and black.
Photograph by Brandi Trotter, Washington Wedding Photographer (2021).

Clothing tips to help you choose what to wear at a photo session:

Knowing exactly what to wear at your photo session can be daunting. If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Welcome to a blog post that will make you feel confident in choosing an outfits for your family or engagement session! Over the past nine years I’ve been asked by many families what they should wear. I have written this article to help people like you figure out what to wear at your photo session. Things to consider:

  1. Colors
  2. Patterns
  3. Clothing to choose and avoid


Two things you need to think about when you are trying to choose the best color scheme to go with your session: how are you going to use your images and what will go best with the location you’ve chosen.

Neutral colors are always flattering to any scenario. Whites, tans, browns, grays and blacks are all great options so your eye is drawn to you and not your outfit. If you do want a pop of color, consider a solid deep color. Try your best to stay away from neon or bright distracting colors all together.

Another tip is to not get too matchy matchy. Remember those horrid family photos back in the day where you went in a department store all dressed the same and took photos in Santa’s pants? Or was this just my family… please let me know in the comment section what horrible photos you got done back in the day! lol. Wearing different colors and shade variations adds variety and depth to your photos.

How do you plan on using these photos? Do you want them as large professional prints to make a statement when people enter your home? Or, are you choosing to just share on social media and holiday cards? Your answer makes a huge difference in the color scheme you choose.

Wall Art

How I showcase my own photo session

Wall art makes for a huge statement when you host your family and closest friends. I personally get so many compliments on my family portraits that are hung all over my house. Did you know that it’s been proven by psychologists that families who have family portraits hanging on their walls have children that feel more loved, valued and a sense of belonging? Pretty cool that images can be such a powerful tool in a child’s development! Same goes for couples! Couples that see photos with one another feel loved and a sense of belonging to one another as well.

When choosing wall art as the best way to showcase your session, something to think about is how your home is decorated. What is your theme? do you have a pop of color? If so, you may want to consider incorporating your color combination into your session to tie your session in with your home.

Holiday Cards

Choosing to use your images for holiday cards you can consider incorporating the holiday colors such as red, white or even dark green. Be careful on your location choice when choosing dark green though. You don’t want to risk blending into the trees. If you live in the Pacific Northwest like I do, you know exactly what I mean! If you want these images for both cards and wall art then you might want to consider neutral colors to match your home.

Social Media

Social media gives you freedom of choosing whatever color scheme you want. As far as your photos go, I still would recommend nice neutral colors and to stay clear from vibrant oranges. Skin tone registers under orange in editing softwares and may throw colors off in the post process.

Here are some good examples of color pallets you may want to consider:

Colors you should consider wearing at a photo session: Green, Brown, Dusty Blue, Tan.
Color Scheme 1
Blue, Tan, Light tan, off white
Color Scheme 2
Brown, tan, light tan, off white
Color Scheme 3
Dark navy, navy, mustard yellow, light gray
Color Scheme 4
Black, blue, tan, off white for photo shoot colors to wear
Color Scheme 5
Burnt red, navy blue, dusty blue, gray are a perfect combo for photos
Color Scheme 6
Dark gray black, dark gray, medium gray, light gray white
Color Scheme 7
Black, maroon or burgundy, light gray, white
Color Scheme 8

Finalizing your colors

Choosing your color pallet can seem is difficult, if it feels impossible to choose, then also consider the location you’ve chosen.

Beach – Typically light colors work best. (Color Scheme: 1, 2, 3 and 7)

Wooded – Deeper colors work great. Mustard yellow and burnt orange also works great. (Color Scheme: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8)

Grassy Field – Neutral colors look amazing in fields! (Color Scheme: 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7)

Desert – Neutral and rich colors. (Color Scheme: 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6)

Urban – Neutral colors and schemes with a pop of color mixed in work well. (Color Scheme: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8)


Patterns are tricky. You should use them wisely when planning your outfit for your photo session. Patterns that add texture to your outfit instead of additional colors are perfect. Try not to have everyone wearing plaid shirts. Photos will appear more busy when you do.


Clothing to Consider

There is so many ways to dress. When you are trying to nail down what to wear at your photo session think of all the possibilities! You can have dresses, blazers, button up shirts, hats, jewelry, different types of shoes. The possibilities are endless!

Clothing to Avoid

Avoid too tight of clothing or too baggy. Wearing the correct size of clothing for your body is crucial when it comes to flattering photos. For example, I am a mom of two beautiful children, and I personally choose not to wear tight shirts that accentuate my momma pooch. By wearing high rise jeans and a blouse to my family session, I was able to do more posing than I would have been able to had I worn a tight fitted shirt. If you can pull off tight fitted clothing, by all means do it if it makes you feel amazing! Feelings and emotions are always shown through the images, so wear something that makes you feel your beautiful self!

Try to avoid billed hats as much as possible. They tend to get in the way of the sweet moments to be captured. When the person wearing the hat laughs or smirks their body tends to lean their head forward and down, which in turn covers over half their face. Those who worry about reseeding hair lines or balding can also consider wearing a hat that doesn’t have multicolored branding on it if they don’t want to go hatless. If the hat is black for example, the logo (if there is a logo at all) should also be black to avoid distractions in the photos.

Examples of great outfit choices

Couple session in Washington State. Good example of accessorizing with a hat in your photo session.
Navy, Tan, Light Tan and Denim, accessorized with a hat.
What to wear for you engagement session.
Simple white dress, black tee and denim.
What to wear at a beach engagement session on the Washington Coast
Deep blue, tan and denim with dark brown boots.
Washington State Engagement Session near Spokane Washington. What to wear for your session.
Prime example of adding a pop color. Only one person is wearing a pop color and the pop color is opposite in the color wheel to the background. Red Orange top, tan button up, denim with brown high heel ankle boots.

Where to Begin When Choosing Clothing for your Photo Session

When beginning to process of what to wear at your photo session, start with one outfit at a time. This concept seems obvious, but instead of looking at the whole picture, begin with an outfit you love. If it has lots of color or pattern to it, consider having everyone else in the photo where a simple and neutral color so the images don’t appear too busy.

I personally started with my daughter’s dress which was a dusty blue simple boutique dress with buttons. She wore gray ribbed leggings with it. I then picked my sons outfit based on her color to have accents of her color. Keep in mind I then used my son’s shirt as my color pallet. His plaid shirt was burnt orange and dusty blue. He also was the only one wearing a pattern. I found a burnt orange shirt for me to go with my jeans. I found a mid gray colors shirt and jeans for my husband. To tie in the gray to the rest of the family my daughter wore a gray felt hat as an accessory, and my son had gray shoes with felt backs. Our outfits worked perfectly together!

Here is one of my own family portraits:

Knowing what to wear at your photo session. Key tips on how to totally nail your outfits for your engagement or family session!

Where to Shop

Here are a couple companies I love when shopping for the perfect outfit:

Baltic Born Clothing – This company has some beautiful dresses that are flattering in photos!

Lulus – If you love simply beautiful dresses and oversized sweaters this is the shop for you!

More simple and cost friendly options:

Old Navy – Perfect for kids clothing and mens clothing. I personally haven’t found much for myself at Old Navy, but I ADORE their kids clothing!

Maurices – Maurices is great when you’re trying to figure out what to wear at a photo session in a pinch of time

I hope you feel more confident picking out your outfits for your next session! If you are ready to book your session, book today from my homepage. I look forward to our session together!

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