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What to Wear to Your Engagement Photos | Illinois Engagement Sessions

So you’re planning a wedding, you might have a ring, and now it’s time to start getting ready to announce your date ! You reserved a date with your photographer for your engagement photos, you chose a location, but, what do you wear?

Before you start spiraling into an online shopping mania, check out these tips to help you and your partner plan out your engagement photo outfits.

Couple sitting on bench in forest preserve for engagement photo

Dressing for an Illinois Engagement Session

There are A LOT of factors that can affect your engagement photos when you live in Illinois. There are endless different types of terrains, very unpredictable weather, and lots of different factors you will need to think about when getting dressed for your session. Luckily, if you’re from the Midwest, you’re used to having to be prepared so finding what to wear for your engagement photos won’t be too out of the box for you.

First and foremost wear clothes that feel like you

Look back at some of your favorite photos with your lover and take note of what your style is like as a couple. If you two are on the more casual side, don’t feel like you have to dress in whatever fancy style is trending. Do you usually rock an oversized sweater and some skinny for your date nights together? Bring on the chunky knits, LET’S DO THIS ! If you two do enjoy dressing up and do it regularly, then heck yes, break out that fancy gear!

Outfits that Go vs. Outfits That Match

Long gone are the days where everyone showed up to a photo session wearing a white shirt and denim. These days you want to put together outfits that compliment each other rather than directly matching. If one of you does plan on wearing a pattern, I suggest picking out that outfit first and then pulling colors from the pattern for your partner's look. It narrows down your decision significantly as well as ensures that your outfits will go well together.


In general, you’ll want to gravitate towards a neutral color palette that doesn’t blend in with the background of your photos. When choosing your outfits use a color pallet for inspiration, if you’re having your photos in the summer you can lean into colors like sage, blush, and beige for your photos, if you’re having your session in the fall when your background is a little more muted and warm, you might go for a dark green white or other cooler colors to give you a bit of contrast from your surroundings.

I love muted colors for my photography clients such as blushes, navy, greys, and of course black and white. In general cool colors also look good on camera. When you choose your outfits, you want to choose outfits that aren’t going to take center stage in your photos, these are photos of YOU and your love for one another.


I LOVE a good patterned dress for my clients, BUT you’re going to want to avoid patterns that could distort your body in the photos. Patterns on the smaller side are perfect for photos, they create visual interest without distracting from your face or what you’re doing in the photos. In general, you want to try to keep to one pattern per outfit with the two of you. If you do feel like your partner needs a little extra oomph to their outfit, opt for solid color textured accessories such as a coat or a sweater to bring a little more to their outfit.

In general, avoid things like oversized stripes, large patterns bigger than your fist, and stripes that distort your body shape.


I LOVE an outfit with some movement, it makes for such fun photos and gives you something to play with when we are taking photos. Things such as dresses, skirts, even some shirts with a puffy sleeve are SO much fun for photos. Other ways to incorporate movement include adding a coat as an accessory and wearing long hair down.


Yes, we for the most part live in the Midwest, thus having your engagement photos taken in Illinois means you need to plan to wear clothes suited for whatever weather the season may bring. With living in the Midwest there often can be a wide range of temperatures that go on from the start of a session to sunset. I highly suggest incorporating some layers into your outfit to add as it gets colder or lose layers as the temperature rises. It not only gives you an additional look, but it also keeps you from getting sweaty or freezing the entire time. Planning ahead for your Chicago engagement session? Check out what the weather is typically like when you have your session here.

General Tips and Tricks

Hair and Makeup

If you plan to have your hair cut, colored, or adjusted, including facial hair like waxing/eyebrows, I highly recommend having it done about a week before your session. Shit happens, color nightmares, weird wax reactions, you want to give yourself a little bit of a buffer just in case something happens and you need to regroup part of your look. If you need to shave your beard etc, as long as you follow your typical routine you should be fine.

New Clothes

If you plan to wear new clothes for your engagement photos, plan to order them or purchase them at least a month in advance. I always suggest to my couples that they wear their outfits at least once and wear their shoes a couple of times to make sure that one, they fit well, and two, they look good on you.

There isn’t a worse feeling than showing up to a session and realizing that the dress you’re wearing for your engagement session is too big so your boobs keep falling down, or you put on the dress shoes you ordered fresh for your session and end up with blisters all over your feet. Break-in your clothes!

Couple posing with their cats for engagement photos


I know you don’t really wear your pets, BUT they can be an important accessory to your engagement photos! If you have a pet that has a lot of energy, I recommend taking them out to do some high-energy activities the morning before or the day before so that they are a little more low-key and ready to cooperate when it’s time to take some photos. If you have a pet at home like a cat or a rabbit that you would like to include in your photos, if the timing or your session lines up close to their feeding time, wait to feed them until about halfway through your session. They’re more likely to give you attention before you feed them and then once you’re done with your photos with them, they’re more likely to go and relax after their meal.

That about covers it, like I said there are A LOT of factors that you have to take into account when you're planning out what you want to wear for your engagement photos. Finding that balance of making it feel like you while also being stylish and comfortable can be tricky sometimes. That's why it's important to start planning out your outfit before your shoot so once it's time to get in front of the camera you are good to go ! Looking for someone to photograph your engagement session? Fill out my contact form here and let's get to planning !

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