What to Wear to your Bend Engagement Session


What to Wear to your Central Oregon Engagement Shoot 

If you’ve landed here, congratulations on your engagement! Whether you’ve already booked me as your wedding photographer (welcome to the family) or you’re thinking about booking an engagement photo session with me, I’m so happy to have you. 

In my opinion, one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning is having your engagement photos taken! But, for many couples, choosing their outfits can feel like a daunting task hanging over their head as the day quickly approaches. No worries, I’ve got you covered. I’ve broken what to wear to your Central Oregon engagement shoot down into a few quick and easy tips so we can keep your experience fun, relaxed, and true to you.

General Styling Tips

Wear Neutrals and textures 

It’s hard to go wrong with neutral tones. Wearing earthy colors such as browns, beiges, greens, greys, and whites will ensure you complement nearly any location and make it easier to coordinate with your partner while maintaining your individual styles. You can also go for muted tones of more exciting colors such as mustard yellows, burnt oranges, rosy pinks, and dusty blues for a similar effect. The addition of textures is also a great way to increase visual interest.

Timeless over trendy

I’m not saying you need to stay away from trendy outfits entirely, but it’s worth considering how fast things go in and out of fashion these days. If you consider yourself to be very fashion-forward and want to honor that in your engagement photos, I’m all for it. Otherwise, I’d recommend choosing more classic, timeless pieces as you’re going to be looking back at these images for years to come. 

Coordination over matching Choose colors that complement what your partner is wearing versus choosing outfits that are totally matching. This will help show off your unique personalities, but it will also photograph better.

Bring Options

I always recommend that my clients bring a few outfit options, with 2-3 being the sweet spot*.

Outfit One

Especially as you ease into the engagement shoot experience (potentially your first time in front of a camera, ever), you’re going to wear something comfortable and familiar. You want to look your best, but you also want to feel your best. As long as you feel confident in what you’re wearing, you’ll be glowing in your photos. For your first outfit, bring something that feels totally YOU. This could be your favorite go-to outfit that you’ve been wearing for years, a worn-in pair of blue jeans, a cozy sweater you just thrifted- anything really as long as it reflects your personal style. Layers always work well!

Outfit Two

You’ll also want to bring a fancier outfit that is a bit of a step up from your standard outfit. This could be anything from a snazzy little date night number to a suit/gown combo that harnesses major red carpet energy, so feel free to get as glamorous as you want. You can totally work with whatever you already have in your closet that makes you feel like a million bucks, but this might just be the perfect opportunity to treat yourself and shop for something new.

My favorite outfits tend to be longer dresses that can flow in the wind and have lots of movement. There is something so romantic about them and they tend to photograph beautifully!

*If you’re still feeling unsure about what will look great in your engagement photos, that’s where my many years of experience in central Oregon photography will come in handy. Feel free to bring an extra outfit or two and I can help you comb through your options and pick out what will photograph best.

Create Movement

Any good photographer will tell you that creating movement in your photos is one of the best ways to evoke emotion and capture that candid feeling we all love. While posing and prompts on my end play a big role in creating movement in your images, we can also achieve this by choosing garments that move, sway and take on a life of their own. Practically, what does this mean? Consider keeping your hair wild so it can blow in the wind or wearing a billowing dress/flowy maxi skirt that will photograph beautifully. If you have more eclectic taste, even trendy flared pants or a fringe accent that will dance about as you move through creative prompts will do.

Consider Your Surroundings

Think about getting to your location, not just the location itself 

One of the things I love about doing Central Oregon engagement shoots is the array of idyllic backdrops we can work with. Many of them, though, require a little bit of hiking to get to. For adventurous couples, this is an easy sell, but it does require some thought when choosing your outfits. As much as you want to dress to impress, you’re also going to need to think about practicality. For example, a trek up to Tumalo falls will call for a sturdy pair of hiking boots (or, at the very least, other shoes with decent tractions). The good news is, slightly elevated hiking attire will be just as fitting for your adventure engagement shoot as they are purposeful. If you truly feel that this isn’t the vibe you want to go for, there’s no harm in carrying along a backpack with an outfit change. Trust me, you don’t want to leave the appropriate attire at home.

Coordinate with your Background

While it might seem obvious that you should wear beachy attire at the beach or outdoorsy attire in the woods, did you know that your engagement shoot location can give you hints about what colors to wear? The goal here is to look at your location and then determine which colors will blend into the backdrop and which ones will pop. 

For example, if we’re going to Smith Rock, wearing black, red, or white pops off the desert beautifully. I’m always happy to help you figure out the best outfit for your location!

It’s also worth considering the “wow factor”. While a flirty cuddle session at Lost Lake might call for a more casual engagement photo outfit, dramatic locations such as The Painted Hills practically beg for a dramatic outfit to match.

Plan for the weather and seasonality. 

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this but the weather in central Oregon is seasonal and often a little unpredictable so wear layers and be ready to bundle up between shoots. If it’s going to be snowy, be sure to have a hat, mittens, and a jacket on standby.

Add Some Personality 

Above all else, this session is geared towards documenting YOU and YOUR LOVE. Especially if you want to achieve a gallery full of unique engagement photos, the key is to inject some personality into your shoot with outfits that really reflect who you are as a couple. Accessories and props are a great way to tell a story with your styling so I can capture you and your partner in your truest form. Just as a quick list of examples, a floppy hat, a picnic blanket, or your trusty old guitar are all fantastic tools for documenting your love as it is. 

I want you to have FUN at your engagement shoot. If you are your partner are feeling a little nervous, why not bring your favorite cocktail along or a bottle of champagne along? These make for a super fun prop (I mean, who doesn’t love a champagne pop?) but they will also help you to relax, unwind and treat your shoot like a date night.

What Not to Wear

Now that we have covered what to wear to your Central Oregon engagement shoot, perhaps we should spend a moment covering the things I would recommend avoiding. 

Anything Distracting

When choosing your engagement photo outfits, try to pick something that enhances you versus overpowers you. You and your partner should be the focal point of any image. For this reason, it’s best to avoid noisy graphic tees or busy patterns that moire. 

Anything ill-fitting or uncomfortable 

It doesn’t matter how much you love a certain outfit, if it doesn’t fit you properly, you’re not going to look your best. Now, I’m not saying everything needs to be skintight- after all, I just said a few moments ago that flowy dresses are my jam. What I am saying is that you don’t want to be hidden under a tent or wearing something so tight that it limits your movement. Find a happy middle ground and stick with something that fits you well. Unless you are a really good actor, your discomfort might show in your photos and we don’t want that! Under this umbrella, you can also weed out outfits that make you uncomfortable because they are not your style. If you really dislike dresses, don’t force yourself into one. Trust me when I say you’ll look much better in a sharp pantsuit or denim jacket if that’s what you feel comfortable in. 




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