How to Dress for Your Engagement or Portrait Session


I'm kind of amazed at how often I get this question. Then again, maybe I shouldn't be because if you ask my girlfriend, I'm definitely considered "metrosexual (I spend a few extra minutes staring aimlessly at my closet each morning, trying to figure out my outfit for any given day. Anyways......)." I get it, though - you wanna look awesome for your portrait or engagement session so why not ask the dude with a camera who should know what does and does not look fabulous (did I really just say that?). I'm super organized and love lists, so here's one with some suggestions and tips on what to wear!

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1. Dress Comfortably. Ladies, I know you wanna look super cute with those heels, but make sure those babies are walkable. My engagement and portrait sessions usually make Fitbit users ecstatic, so I always encourage comfy shoes. As an extension, though, try to avoid clothes that you'll constantly be tugging at or adjusting AKA nothing too tight. Go for reasonably fitted. If you're worried about your clothes, then you'll be distracted from the moment and won't enjoy your session nearly as much. On the flip side, I know we all feel at home in sweat pants, but this isn't the time. Stay away from baggy or super loose clothing as it'll exaggerate your shape. 

2. Match your Surroundings. Unless you live for irony and juxtaposition, a tux and a ballgown do not fit well with a forest (Me personally, I freaking love it). If we're shooting downtown, then let's dress it up a bit. And if it manages to snow in Atlanta this one out of 3 years, then don't be afraid to layer it up with a jacket, vest, or sweater!

3. Match your Activity. This goes along with item 2 - if we're trekking to the top of a mountain, you may want to leave the heels at home. At the same time, if we're going to a farm or field, then don't be afraid to pull out the jeans and cowboy boots!

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4. Wear Your Confidence. If you've got a pair of jeans, a shirt, or a dress that make you feel like a rockstar, then try to make it part of your ensemble. I know I always feel confident in my blue-checkered button-down shirt, so you can bet I wear it whenever I have a big meeting. The same applies to getting your photos taken. 

5. Bring out the details! This is the time for that classic watch, the engagement rings, and a boutique necklace or bracelet to come out and play. Especially for engagement sessions, details and textures are something I try to incorporate and make part of the overall photo session. Accessories and details add shape and break up lines, which can be helpful from a visual standpoint. 

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6. Dress Like Yourself. Unless you're a circus performer, I'd leave the clown suit at home. Be comfortable, dress like you would every day, and you'll feel at ease. There's such a huge emphasis on being comfortable and relaxed when doing a photo session; I'm telling you it makes all the difference. 

7. Keep it Simple. Solid colors or simple patterns typically look the best. Textured sweaters are a great accessory as well. Try to stay away from graphic tees, large lettering, or logos. They're distracting and make editing out stray hairs impossible. 

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8. Match the Scale of Dress of Your Partner. For couples, families, and groups, try to dress up as much as the others. If one of you is in a suit, it'll look weird if the other is in jeans and a t-shirt. I personally like a semi-formal style at a minimum, so a button down shirt for the guys and a sun dress for the ladies are my go to recommendations. 

9. Complement Each Other. Please, oh dear god please, DO NOT have everyone show up wearing white button-down shirts and khakis. Unless you're a company with a uniform or a large family, it looks super tacky and went out of style in the 90's. Instead, try to use complimentary tones and colors. It'll match way better than wearing the exact same outfit.

10. Be Unique! I love couples that bring along sunglasses, simple props, and specific items that fit their personality. I like being goofy and adding an element of fun to my sessions. Come up with things that will make everyone think, "Yup, that's totally them," when they see your prints. It adds more "You" to the session.


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I hope this was helpful! Some of it may seem obvious, but I believe the little things are what make or break an experience. If you have any other suggestions based on your prior experience or more detailed questions - feel free to comment below or shoot me an email


Mike Glatzer

Mike Glatzer Photography, Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, United States