Ultimate Guide to Dressing for Engagement Photos in Vancouver

June 3rd, 2024


Professional engagement photos can feel intimidating, especially when you're aiming to look your best in front of the camera. Here are my best tips to help you look and feel great during your engagement session in Vancouver.


Embrace Your Style and Dress for Comfort

First and foremost, wear what makes you feel like you! Comfort is key. If you're uncomfortable in your clothing, it will show on camera. Trust your instincts and choose what you feel good in. Some couples love an excuse to go all out in a dressed-up outfit, while others prefer a more casual but polished look.


Most couples choose two outfits for their engagement session: one “us on a cute, casual date” outfit and one more formal outfit. This gives your session two different looks. Start with the “cute date” outfit first to help you feel more natural as we warm up.


If dressing up is your style, go for it! Your engagement session is the perfect opportunity to rock a fun, dressed-up look that you might not normally have an excuse for. Long, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera, adding movement to your clothing that looks flattering and natural. But if you’re a casual couple who hates dressing up, don’t feel pressured to wear anything you don’t actually like.



Choosing and Coordinating Colors for Your Engagement Session Outfits

Focus on coordinating colors, not matching. If you both wear the same exact color, it can make the images look flat. For example, if you wear a blush dress with a soft blue necklace and nude heels, your partner might wear a navy coat with khaki or gray pants, brown leather shoes, and a blush pocket square. This creates a well-coordinated look without being too matchy-matchy.


I generally recommend selecting lighter tones and more muted shades. Very bright, bold colors can sometimes distract viewers’ eyes from your faces. That said, a pop of color can be the perfect touch for your engagement session color palette. The key is balance!

Flatter Your Features When Selecting Your Outfits

You’ll look incredible at your session, but if you’re self-conscious about certain features, choose clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Here are a few tips:

  • Form-Fitted Clothing: Form-fitted clothing typically looks the best because it shows the most shape. Avoid oversized or baggy clothing, as it can be unflattering. This is a common issue for guys who think baggy clothing might make them look skinnier, but it usually has the opposite effect.

  • Arms: Three-quarter length sleeves can create a slimming effect. Avoid skinny straps or strapless dresses if you’re self-conscious about your arms.

  • Legs: Heels can elongate the look of your legs (especially closed-toe heels!). If you choose peep-toe heels, remember to give your toenails some love before your session.

  • Height Differences: Make sure you’re comfortable with your shoe height and where that puts you next to each other. Overcompensating with a subtle dip or tiptoe can look awkward.


No matter the concern, know that you look incredible. When you feel comfortable and confident, it shows!



Add Details to Complete Your Session Outfits

Be bold with layers and accessories — jackets, sweaters, necklaces, scarves, belts, etc. add dimension to your photos. Layers make it easy to give yourself two looks without changing your outfit.


Most patterns are okay for photos, but graphics are not ideal. Make sure patterns aren’t overwhelming and distracting. We want to draw attention to your faces, not your clothes.


Empty those pockets! Guys, this one is for you. You’ll regret seeing your cell phone or keys showing through your pockets.


Go Pro with Hair and Makeup

Professional hair and makeup can look amazing and remove the stress of getting ready on your own. If your wedding is local, your engagement session is a perfect time to do your makeup trial. It can feel like too much at first, but a good makeup artist knows how to get it just right for the camera. You’ll see how the makeup photographs and know for sure that you love it.


Don’t forget that your ring will get some attention on this shoot, so get it cleaned and your nails done too!



Engagement Session Outfit Tips for Men

Long pants and closed-toed shoes give a sophisticated and masculine look. Suit pants, dress pants, or colored pants work best. Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether you’re wearing a full suit, blazer, or a collared shirt.


Talk with each other to make sure you’re both dressed on the same level of formality. Finding common ground in your styles can make a big difference in your engagement photos.


Layers add interest and dimension to your photos! Blazers, vests, and coats provide multiple looks without changing your outfit. Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, and watches can all be fun accessories. Use these accessories to coordinate your colors.


Your Engagement Session Packing List

Here are the things I remind my couples to bring along to their engagement session:

  • Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo locations (if you’re planning to wear heels)

  • Outfit two (including shoes and accessories), if you’d like a second outfit

  • Touch-up makeup

  • Water bottle (for warmer sessions)

  • Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)



I love working with pets—they bring so much life and joy into the photos. If you want to include your furry friend in your engagement session, this is the perfect opportunity. Sometimes it's complicated to have them at the wedding, so take advantage of this chance to get some professional photos with your beloved pet.


I know I just gave you a lot to think about. The most important thing is to wear something that you’re comfortable and confident in! That alone will make all the difference in the world.


Make a date out of it! Make a reservation at a fun restaurant you’ve been dying to try, or plans at your favorite brunch spot if we’re meeting at sunrise. Even though there are a lot of decisions to make, have fun and enjoy this part of being engaged!


See my favorite engagement locations in Vancouver, BC!


Remember, these photos are all about capturing your unique bond. Wear what makes you both feel confident and connected! Can’t wait to see what you choose!


Final Words of Advice

Make sure to pick out something you both like on each other. Do an outfit check on each other before you head out to ensure you both love what you're wearing. If you love it on each other, you'll love it in the photos!





What are the best engagement photo locations in Vancouver?

Some of the most popular engagement photo locations in Vancouver include Stanley Park, Gastown, Granville Island, and Queen Elizabeth Park. Each location offers unique backdrops and settings to capture beautiful moments.


When is the best time to schedule our engagement photo session?

The best time to schedule your engagement photo session is during the golden hours, which are the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. These times provide the most flattering natural light.


How long does an engagement photo session usually last?

An engagement photo session typically lasts 2 to 3 hours. This allows time for outfit changes and traveling between different locations if desired.


Can we include our pets in our engagement photos?

Absolutely! Including pets in your engagement photos can add a fun and personal touch. Just make sure to bring some treats and a leash to keep them happy and safe during the session.


Should we do our own hair and makeup or hire a professional?

Hiring a professional for hair and makeup can ensure you look your best and reduce stress on the day of your shoot. If you prefer to do it yourself, practice your look beforehand to make sure you’re happy with how it photographs.


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