Advice From an Engagement Photographer

April 3, 2021

An engagement session helps capture the essence of love and commitment, and serves as a beautiful prelude to the grand adventure of marriage.

As an experienced engagement photographer, I’ve had the privilege of photographing countless couples’ journies, from their proposal and engagement to the wedding day. And during this, I’ve learned the importance of thoughtful outfit choices and proper preparation in creating stunning and authentic images.

Continue reading to learn how to best prepare for your engagement session to ensure it’s an unforgettable, fun experience!

Choosing Your Engagement Session Outfit

From my many years of engagement photography, I’ve found that a couple’s outfit of choice really sets the stage for their session. Glam vs. relaxed or formal vs. casual – what we wear is how we present ourselves to the world!

It might be challenging to mesh two people’s wardrobes for engagement photos and find outfits that photograph well together. So, to help you out, I created a simple guide to putting together complimentary outfits for your session!


Do: Choose solid, neutral colors like black, white, grey, blue, and brown. Neutral-colored outfits are simpler to coordinate and will complement just about any scenic location.

Don’t: Wear bright colors like orange or green. Neon colors will draw attention away from the couple and might also create an unflattering reflection on your skin.


Do: Wear fabric with texture or stitching to add a subtle element to your wardrobe choice. Material that is smooth and clean will also create a stunning look. Need a second opinion? I’m always available to help you select outfits that suit each other perfectly for every session.

Don’t: Choose anything with busy or large prints. Patterns have a reputation for visual distraction, so we want to avoid them to keep you and your partner as the focal point.


Do: Wear what makes you feel like you! Choose clothing that reflects your style and something you will be visibly comfortable in. Bringing two outfit choices is a great way to make that happen – formal attire and a casual outfit will give us the option for different presentations.

Don’t: Put on tennis shoes or sneakers. Keep the outfit classic and clean, even if it’s a casual look.


Do: Plan ahead and bring a jacket, coat, or blazers to match your chosen outfits. Weather – especially here in Oregon – often changes at the drop of the hat, so it’s best to come prepared for cold or hot weather.

Don’t: Come without any backup plans. If you’re super cold or hot during the session, this will show in your photos! I want you to be as comfortable as possible during your engagement session.

Where to Shop for Engagement Session Outfits

When it comes to finding the perfect engagement session outfit, the options are virtually endless! There are SO MANY different places you can find the ideal ensemble that reflects your personal style and captures the essence of this special occasion. Some popular destinations for engagement outfit shopping include:

Remember to keep it simple and choose a couple of options that complement what your partner is wearing. Make sure to also keep in mind the location and theme of your session when picking out your outfits!

Couple hugging at sunset

Choosing a Great Location

Deciding on the perfect backdrop for your engagement session is undeniably one of the most thrilling aspects of the planning process.

Luckily, as a seasoned engagement photographer, I have had the privilege of exploring and compiling a list of over 50 captivating locations across Oregon that are ideal for engagement sessions.

From the breathtaking coastal vistas to the majestic landscapes of Mount Hood, there’s no shortage of unique and picturesque settings in Oregon. Not nature-people? Opt for an urban chic engagement session in one of the many historic hotels in Downtown Portland!

Since there are so many incredible options, I encourage you to narrow it down by seeing which locations suit you best as a couple and match your desired aesthetic.

Is there sentimental value to a particular location, like where you went on your first trip to the Oregon coast together? Or where you first met? Remember, this session is all about you and celebrating your love!

Need engagement session location ideas? Click HERE for my top locations in Oregon!

Plan Your Hair and Makeup Trial on That Same Day

If scheduling permits, plan your hair and makeup trial on the same day as your engagement shoot. Not only will you look stunning in your engagement photos, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to try out your wedding day hair and makeup looks.

This is a great way to test how your chosen makeup and hairstyle photograph and hold up throughout the day, ensuring you look picture-perfect from start to finish. This way, you can make any necessary adjustments before your big day to ensure that you look your absolute best.

Whitening your teeth beforehand is also a good idea because a radiant smile complements any outfit and style!

Create an Engagement Session Pinterest Board

I recommend putting together a Pinterest inspiration board for your engagement session with images that resonate with you.

This board serves as a tool to communicate the vibe and aesthetic you’re going for, ensuring everyone is on the same page for your session.

It’s also essential to choose inspiration photos that were taken in a similar location to what you’ve chosen for your own engagement session. For instance, if you’ve opted for a scenic mountain or forest setting, it’s best to avoid pulling inspiration from urban city sessions, as the desired look and feel won’t be achievable.

Instead, focus on finding images that align with the surroundings and capture the atmosphere you envision for your engagement photos.

Mountain Engagement Session

The purpose of this engagement session is to really capture the love that brought you together– to put that love in the spotlight and create stunning images that will one day fill the pages of an album or portraits hanging on your wall.

Just got engaged? Contact me to chat about how I can help capture your engagement and wedding journey!

Rainer Engagement Session
Mountain Engagement