The Barefoot Bride {part 02} ☮ What Are You Supposed To Wear For Your Engagement Session?

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My most asked question as a photographer is: "What should we wear for our engagement photos?!", and although it seems like something pretty straightforward--I mean, we dress ourselves everyday don't we? (ok most days maybe)--but in all honesty, trying to pick out clothing for some pretty monumental photos can be pretty overwhelming. Considering that the wedding photographer that we hired (!!!! yaaay!!!) lives in California, the odds of us being able to GET to California for any sort of engagement images in the near future were pretty slim, so we wanted to hopefully shoot something in Alberta prior to the snow falling, and thankfully, we have such amazingly talented and rad friends, who just ALSO happen to be photographers ;) Getting back to the topic of actually physically choosing outfits, I have two primary tips that I make sure and share with all of my couples; so I'm hoping that those tips, paired with a few more bits of info from our personal experience, as well as the images in this post will get you well on your way to choosing some killer outfits for your engagement session.

TIP NUMBER ONE >>> Where whatever makes you feel COMFORTABLE & most like YOURSELF; this isn't to say that you should show up wearing sweats or your coziest onzie, this simply means that just because you're getting photos taken doesn't mean that you have to dress how everyone else is dressing for their photos or dress in a style that isn't similar to something that you'd ever wear on a day-to-day basis. Mark and I are not super fancy, high fashion people, so there's no way that you'd catch us in  a suit or high heels for our session; we want to try and keep our outfits along the same lines of our everyday street style, while still keeping in mind that we want to look on step up from pyjama pants and jeans. Another element that falls into this category while choosing outfits for your engagement session is to try not to sway into an "outfit style" that you don't usually wear just because it looks good on the mannequins in store or on a friend's pinterest board. I caught myself doing this two nights ago while I was out at the mall looking for an outfit to go along with Mark's; I was in American Eagle, and I was super adamant on getting a pair of jeans and rocking some new denim with an assortment of tops. Only while standing in the change room after trying on a few pairs of jeans did I catch myself thinking: "these sorts of outfits definitely look great when I see them, but when's the last time I wore a look like this?"; it's needless to say that I then switched back to my original idea of a long flowy skirt as it's a lot more suited to my personal style & comfort level.

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TIP NUMBER TWO >>> Try and dress weather appropriate when you can. I know that here in Alberta we dream of being able to wear amazing dresses and tank tops and shorts throughout the majority of the year, but the sad reality is that we spend 8 out of 12 months buried thigh deep in snow with temperatures surpassing -20, and the timeframe of getting in a "warm weathered" engagement session is pretty limited. This definitely doesn't mean that I encourage sporting full-fledged parkas and ski-masks to your engagement session, I just want you to know that images have a tendency to look and feel better when your look/outfit coincides with the season :) Not only will keeping this rule in the back of your mind while preparing for your engagement session help the flow of the overall image look, it will also most likely make you feel more comfortable throughout the session; it's a lot easier to focus on just enjoying your session and less on focusing on how cold you are if your session is in the middle of fall and you're wearing layers & knits as opposed to shorts & flip flops haha :)

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Extra quick tips:

  • Do not be afraid of colour and patterns!! A lot of people tend to shy away from floral prints and/or stripes when choosing their outfits (even though they may wear patterns often) because they aren't sure if it will look good in photos; but, let me tell you that patterns are totally o.k to wear, and 9 times out of 10, end up looking amazing in your images!!
  • Go back to the reason why you've chosen your photographer: what drew you into them and their work? What was it in their images that made you NEED to have them? Our photographers have a certain style & branding & flow to their images and processing, so there is  a good chance that the outfits & looks in their images subconsciously played a role in you wanting to hire them for your own photos! I'd advise you to go back to their website and/or blog and take another scroll through some of their engagement sessions--I bet you'll see a lot of similarities between your style & the style of the other couples in their images ;)
  • Do NOT feel the need to match your significant other! Long gone are the days from your childhood where your ENTIRE family was decked out in high-waisted blue jeans and white t-shirts for your family portrait. The 90's were an amazing decade to grow up in, but they've left everyone with the looming thought that everyone has to be matchy-matchy in order for a photo to look good. This also ties in with the bullet point on patterns--don't be afraid to mix & match your patterns....as long as you're not wearing both stripes on the bottom and plaid on the top; a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is if you're wearing patterned bottoms, mix it with a solid coloured top (or vice versa).
  • Try and avoid wearing a lot of black. Black can usually be a super flattering shade to wear, BUT when it comes to couple photography, a lot of black can be a negative thing. With a lot of connected poses mixed with a lot of black clothing, shape and texture gets lost in a big black blob. If you really want to wear black, try and limit it to only one of you wearing black.
  • Textures are an amazing thing! I know that as a photographer, my FAVOURITE pieces of clothes to photograph are anything with texture (i.e wooly sweaters, denim shirts), so if you find that you have a lot of texture in your wardrobe, definitely don't shy away from those!
  • This tip is dependant on your photographer, but I always encourage my couples to bring at least 2 different looks, just to change up the session a bit midway through! I'm also super open with my couples and am always open to work through their wardrobe with them to find looks that work well! If you ever need advice regarding your potential outfits, don't hesitate to get in touch with me! (not that I'm a fashinista by any means haha), but I'd certainly love to help you out from a photographer's perspective!
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Above in Mark & I's inspiration for our own engagement session, can you tell that we're all about the mood boards yet?! Hahah what can I say, we're visual people! If you want to see our full outfits, complete with ourselves in side of them, be sure and check back in the middle of next week after our engagement session with Meg! I hope that this post was helpful in some way when it comes to choosing outfits for your engagement session! If you only take one thing from this post, let it be this: much like anything else in your wedding planning process (& your life!) these decisions are all unique to YOU and up to YOU, as long as you remember to always be true to who you are as a couple, you can't go wrong!

If you have any cute boho outfits/looks in Instagram, or if you want some input on YOUR OWN engagement session outfit be sure and hashtag them #kaihlatonaibarefootbride so that I can see them and like and comment!!