Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

How To Style Your Engagement Session

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No doubt knowing how to dress and what to wear while being photographed can be a stress inducing task. Dave and I just had our family pictures taken over the weekend and I once again found myself riffling through my closet trying to find something to wear. Luckily our subject, a rowdy and wiggly one year old, helped determine much of what I could choose from. It had to be cute, loose and easy to move in. Phew, that's a tall order! 

Being a photographer has given me ample opportunities to be in front of the camera for both professional and personal reasons. I've struggled, just as I know many Brides and Grooms have before me, with knowing what to wear and how to style my outfits! But I have found with experience comes knowledge and I've learned a thing or two about how to style sessions and outfits for a polished and tailored look.  

Dressing for your engagement session doesn't have to be hard, in fact it should be fun! It's an excuse to do a little bit of shopping and to collect pieces that express your personality and style. Preppy, fashion forward, chic, ethereal, whatever your vision, the engagement session is the perfect opportunity to express that unique side of you. So how does that translate to your session? Here are my top five tips and tricks for styling your engagement session! 

1. Accessorize!

Accessories are the easiest way to customize your outfit by adding interest and layers. I believe accessories are really where your personality and unique style can be showcased! Whether it's a watch, your favorite necklace, an heirloom piece of jewelry, or a splurge on designer heels, this part of your outfit is key in helping to pull the entire look together. When accessorizing keep in mind the feeling of your outfit, match chic accessories with a more formal dress or an every day necklace with a more casual outfit.  

2. Layering.

Another tip I find to be helpful in adding interest and style to your outfits is by layering. Cardigans, scarves, jackets, blouses, are all great ways to add layer and depth to your attire. And this isn't just for the ladies! Men can easily do this as well through accessories like buckles and shoes then layering in a tie, sweater or jacket. For those colder months having layers adds a cozy and intimate vibe and encourages those cute snuggles between you and your fiance. In the summer months, using flow-y skirts and light blouses really adds to that warm and beach-y feel! 

3. Use Texture!

I'm a girl that loves texture, as you can see it's all over my blog! I love the variety, depth and interest texture can create in life and I love using texture to create variety in an outfit. It's even more fun to photograph! Similar to layering, varying texture can create a feeling and vibe to your outfit. It can compliment the season or backdrop to your session AND it gives you something to do with your hands during! Go head and play with that soft scarf or tweed jacket. Have your fiancé wrap you in a merino wool bear hug. You get the idea;)! Texture = variety = depth = interest. (A side note, texture does not mean frayed, ripped or tattered. Keep your clothing well kept, tailored and clean. Trust me no one wants to see a big hole in the seat of your pants and neither will you!) 

4. Flatter Your Shape.

One of the BEST tips I can offer for looking your best, is knowing what fabrics, cuts and styles flatter your shape. In fact I would encourage you to take pictures of yourself in varying outfits to find what truly best fits your body and shape. Often times what we see in the mirror might not necessarily translate to the camera so it is best to experiment well before your engagement so that you'll feel confident, sexy and beautiful when it's time for your session! Trust me, as a curvy girl I've learned this through experience. There are just certain things that do not flatter my body and when I know I'm going to be in front of the camera, I make sure to pick items that will enhance my best features and distract from the parts I'm not crazy about. Try on your outfits, use different combinations and pose a little bit in front of the mirror. Watch as the outfits move with you to really get a sense of how they'll enhance or distract from your best features the day of your session!  

5. When in doubt, choose timeless.

Your engagement session is meant to capture this special time in your life, one that years from now you'll fondly look back on. And while I highly encourage Bride and Grooms to not be afraid to be fashion forward for their session (hey this is your excuse to dress up!), you also don't want to look back on your session and regret any trendy decisions you made. So if you're ever in doubt of what to wear, go timeless. Choose items like a pearl necklace or diamond earrings, pieces that will stand the test of time. I'm a HUGE fan of this necklace from Tiffany& Co., a gift from my husband after our son was born. It goes with almost every piece of clothing in my closet and has that timeless, classic feel. When in doubt, choose timeless! 

*Bonus Tip! -- Think Movement!

I absolutely LOVE when a Bride chooses an outfit that moves with the breeze or allows her to be free and spirited;)! Nothing is more feminine or beautiful than a long dress or flow-y blouse. Plus it adds a chic touch to more classic staples like tailored dress pants. Think about how you'll be moving in your engagement session (I'm a huge fan of the twirling photo, guilty as charged;)) and how your outfit can compliment that! Nothing is more beautiful than layers of fabric that move with you! 

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Any questions about how to style a session, send them my way! I love being able to help Bride and Grooms source, style and tailor their outfits for their engagement sessions. After all, the most successful engagement sessions are those that are cohesive in their vision and style, a true representation of you and your fiance!

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by Deborah Parker