What Not to Wear | Your Engagement Session

Written by Taylor on June 6
We wanted to throw together a quick guide to help you out if you’re stumped on your engagement session outfits. First, a couple of disclaimers.
  1. This is fashion advice from two straight guys. Just keep that in mind. We’ll try to keep this as technical as possible.
  2. Our main objective is to help you look great, and to help our photos look amazing. Then, we’re both extremely happy.
  3. Breaking any of these rules is really okay. But don’t say we didn’t warn you. No I’m kidding. But really, don’t.
Okay. The first thing to ask yourself is “Where am I getting shot?” Is it outdoors, all rustic-like? Or are you going for more of a urban, grungy type feel? Dress in a way that compliments your environment. Diana and Mike made for a great classy, New York look, while Patrick and Cam had a similar urban environment and made it work into their awesome couture style. Outside in a field? Go for some flannel or denim. If it’s going to be a little windy, girls, let your hair down. Trust us, it makes for some sweet shots.

Next, try to avoid horizontal lines. There are a few reasons for this. Our friends in the fashion industry tell us that it just makes you look fat. Photographically speaking, our cameras don’t like highly contrasting lines very close together. Screens display lines by creating a series of dots, and most of the time your pixel-wide stripes don’t handle much post processing without going a little haywire.

Also, try to keep your partner in the loop. We’re not suggesting you come looking like identical twins, but make sure your styles compliment each other. You want to look like you’re from the same time period… and region of the globe. Remember, these photos represent the two of you as one. Think about how you can express your individuality and still compliment each other. Don’t try to get too dressed up. Just dress like you.

When in doubt, go for simplicity. If you’re not sure what to wear, always think about the simplest, easiest clothing. Less is more, especially when it comes to your photo shoot. We’ll be working hard to capture the spirit of you two just being together. You don’t want your clothes to distract anyone seeing the pure joy painted all over your faces. The environment is going to contribute a lot about how the image feels, but in the end the thing that matters most is the emotion between you two. That’s what we’re ultimately after.

Keep it fun and relaxed. These are going to be the best days of your life, and what you’ll look back on someday is not how 2010 your hair was, but how much in love you were then, and still are.
There’s a new section of the blog we want to open up: it’s a place for photographers and lay people alike to reference some of the useful bits of information we have slowly picked up through the time of our endeavor. Education is a beautiful thing, we wish there was a lot more of it around when we were just aspiring photographers trying to carve a little niche for ourselves in the vast and terrifying world. Darren has managed to harness the powers of his OCD for good, and has thoroughly researched and painstakingly sought out some of the best solutions and systems that put an end to some of the pesky problems photographers often face. Though we have only been doing this for a few years, we are surprised (and sometimes humiliated) by the amount of thought we have put into the business of wedding photography. What, you mean you don’t stay up late at night debating the merits of rechargeable vs conventional AA batteries? Really? Surely you’ve woken in a cold sweat from a nightmare relating to off-camera flash… Okay. Well neither have I, personally. But Darren is different. These are the kinds of quests that define his existence. He will not rest until he finds the answers to these troubling questions of life. So that’s why I believe it’s important to share this stuff. It’s just too good not to.

As for me? Well… Granted, I rarely think about the optimal locations for Velcro in my office, and yes the photo above is my face awash in the sudden realization that our flash has fresh batteries. But while waiting for my retinas to regenerate I got to thinking. I like to think that photography has something more to it. A, human element, if you will. Photography fascinates me because it is one of those unique places where technology and human artisanship come together in a rare moment of unity. Without the 21 megapixel cameras and the beautiful, high-tech craftsmanship of the lenses, it would be a much harder job, capturing that photo in a dark candlelit church, or the couple dancing blurry-like all over the dance floor. But a camera will never be good enough to take great photos on it’s own. A camera is a vessel, a channel by which two humans interact. I see the photographer as the observer– the eye watching from a distance, waiting for that single 1/8000th of a second by which that camera shutter will snatch up a picture.

For all this to happen, it seems there must be an understanding between photographer and subject, a kind of deep-set empathy. In order to know when to press the button, I need to know– on some strictly human emotional level– what my subject is feeling at that moment. There have been times, watching through my telephoto lens, as the newly married couple shares their first dance, that I have seen the face of the bride as she holds her new husband. Besides him, I am the closest person to her in that room. I can see the details of emotion in her face that no one besides her husband can see. I have to say, there is something profoundly intimate happening there. I might even feel a tear of my own burning suddenly. Am I a sap? Maybe… But I am convinced that such a connection is something vital in producing an special image. Photography is more about the silence, the spaces between photos, than it is about when to press the button. It’s more about listening than it is about commanding. As a photographer, you don’t create anything. You’re not painting, you’re not composing a song. Photography is about seeing, about stopping time. There are an infinite number of moments between turning on the camera and shutting it off. You have to catch the right ones, the ones that mean something. You have to stop time… in just the right places.