On engagement photos, and what to wear!

Dear photographer,

I’m stressing out! What should we wear for our session? And where should we go? HELP! 

Future Bride

(secret unwritten question in the PS – Um, why do we even need engagement photos?)

Here’s the emotional answer: 

Because you’re in love. And you deserve this. You’ve found someone amazing, that one person who just gets you, and that is an incredible and undeniably special thing.

Seize it. Embrace it. Show your love to each other, to your trusted photographer, to the whole entire world, without qualms or doubt.

Because someday you’ll look back and wish you had more photos together. 

Because you will never regret being photographed, young and in love, filled with hope, your life together just ahead of you. 

Enough mushy stuff… Here’s the more practical answer:

Because engagement photos are a lot of fun! They offer you both a chance to get to know your photographer, and to adjust to what it feels like being in front of a camera, especially if you’re feeling nervous or self-conscious about being photographed. 

You can actually use your engagement photos for something too! Some couples use them for save the dates (like Kristen and Pete in the photo below!), invitations, their wedding website, guestbooks, centerpieces or table numbers.

And maybe you just do ’em to show how much you love each other, to send to your family or to post all over your Instagram. That’s awesome too!

You can also visit locations you might not be able to go to on your wedding day due to distance/time restraints…like photoheaven, uh I mean ICELAND! (Please take me back!!!)

Not in your budget to fly your favorite photographer to another country? Well, if you live in Alberta, chances are that you’re a day trip away from some gorgeous mountains! Treat yourself to a pre-wedding getaway and take some photos while you’re at it.

You can use your engagement photos to get photos with super special furry family members who aren’t going to be at your wedding! 

Now the pressing question. What to wear… 

I’m sure you know that the internet holds all the answers! Overwhelming options!

But wedding blogs and Pinterest exist to sell us things. These sites don’t take into account that, hey, you’re paying for your wedding, and likely don’t have hundreds of dollars to drop on an outfit to wear once.

Also, as an aside, hey wedding-internet, what’s up with all of the thin white girls!?
(This is the first link that you get when you Google “what should I wear for engagement photos?” Please note the lack of diversity, then let your mouths drop at the prices.)

Here’s a few practical tips, from someone who’s been at hundreds of engagement shoots.

1. Please don’t wear giant heels or stilettos if you want fun and carefree photos! I know how great your legs look in high heels, hey – mine too! But I’m wearing practical shoes so I can move around, stand in long grass, climb up a hill, run around, while I’m taking your photos. In many ways, this photo session is a collaboration, I want you to be able to do that stuff too if needed so we can create the photos of your dreams!

Wearing super pointy heels just plain limits where we can go – soft grass is a no-no… same with the river bed, the sandy beach, the amazing golden-lit mountain meadow, the pretty ravine. Walking more than a few blocks is gonna kinda suck, same with exploring the river valley, jumping around being silly, or running and general goofing off together.

If you have shoes you love, it’s all good – bring them in a bag! We can easily incorporate them.

But please do yourself a favor, and wear something practical – you’ll have more fun, and those smiles in your engagement photos will be totally real – no blisters, no broken heels, no slipping around on uneven ground, no problem!

Here’s an example of a good, fun footwear choice. Angela wore her fave sneakers – this is the only photo I took that day where you can see ’em, just barely peeking out! 

With heels on, Angela wouldn’t have been able to adventure up into the woods, and this super rad photo would never have happened… 

Wedges are an awesome choice if you want to go a bit fancier. Boots are great too! 

2. Unsure about an outfit? No problem! You can change clothes if you want to! Hiromi and Louis wanted to wear football jerseys for a few photos at Commonwealth Stadium, since they love sports and were having a sports-themed reception. They changed clothes (in their car!) for the second half of their engagement session.

3. Trust your photographer! Ask their recommendation for timing and setting. If you have a location in mind, that’s awesome, but it might have the best light right early in the morning, or before sunset (This is true for many outdoor photo spots).

Light is EVERYTHING in photography. We’re very fortunate in Edmonton to have long days, so if it’s summer, you’ll have time to get home from your day job, get ready, and do your photos on a weeknight after work! (and if you’re doing a sunrise or sunset session, please don’t be late, light is fleeting!)

4. Wear bug spray and sunscreen! No one wants to smell like yucky stinky deet, but this is just common sense in Alberta on a summer evening. You won’t look happy and relaxed if you’re swatting away bugs! 

5. If none of the advice above feels right, please ignore it!  BE YOURSELVES! 
What makes your photos beautiful is the YOU that’s in them! 

I hope this information helps you plan the best engagement session ever! If you’re interested in an engagement session with Buffy, please click here! 



Published by Buffy Goodman Photography

Edmonton based wedding and destination wedding, family, and portrait photographer

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