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What to wear for an Engagement Session

“Whenever I wear one, women smile”

One of the most frequent questions, I get asked is: what should I wear for pictures? I think Rick Kaplan was on the right track when he referenced bowties in the quote above. An engagement session may be an excellent chance to work with your photographer before the wedding. But let’s be honest. At the end of the day, you want your woman to smile. She might not fancy bowties, but you can bet that she will want you to look your best. While suspenders and bow-ties may be “in” right now. Let’s not forget that style is eternal. A trendy fashion may fade, but you won’t regret dressing up for the occasion.

What to wear for an Engagement Session


Each to their own of course. Not every engagement session is going to be a black tie affair. Barefoot at the beach may be your style. Neither is wrong, each fits the setting and the context of the session. Here are some suggestions to guide you as you choose what to wear.

Avoid outfits with distracting patterns or clutter. Solid colors work well: darks and lights. Notice in the session above, they choose outfits with solid colors. They were able to add the “pizzazz” by accessorizing. He choose a bowtie and suspenders. And besides the shinny new ring on her finger, she added some colorful earnings.

Darker colors are also slimming, especially black. If you prefer white or lighter colored tops; then combine it with darker pants or dark blue jeans for contrast. Layering also works well. A tailored jacket is a great combination with a light top and jean bottom. I always recommend that couples bring a jacket or sweater to add versatility and more options when selecting favorite pictures later.

Similar solid colors create uniformity. If blue is the choice of color, then a combination of  “light” blue and “navy” blue would be fine. Pay attention to shoe colors and accessories as “clash in color” can create additional distractions.

what you should wear for engagement pictures


Personally, I stick with the bowties. Before every wedding, I put on one of my many bowties. When I tie my bowtie, it means that I am ready to give my best. That is the my promise. While I wear one because it doesn’t get tangled in my camera gear.  You can’t “dribble” on a bowtie as Dr Seuss point out either.

live life,




Balboa Rose Gardens: Casey & Casiopia

“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast.” 

-The Secret Garden  

san diego lifestyle engagement

Let Love Take Hold: Stone Brewery Engagement Session

The temptation is to rush into things, but trust me patience pays off. Rather then posing Stephen and Akiko, I gave them simple directions and waited. The energy and chemistry that followed is not something that can be posed. They are in love and living life: a simple and yet transcending beauty.

stone brewery

Engagement Shoot Details:

  • Client:Stephen and Akiko
  • Subject: Stone Brewery Engagement Session
  • Location: Stone Brewery: 2816 Historic Decatur Rd #116 San Diego, CA 92106
  • Unique elements of the image: Lifestyle Photography

Thanks to Stone Brewery at Liberty Station for letting us share Stephen & Akiko’s story at their beautiful location.


live life,


Blake & Charlotte: Mission Trails Rustic Engagement Session

live your life photography


dance with me

A Texan fell for a girl from Pennsylvania. Cowboy hat in hand he put a ring on her finger. As he prepares to ship overseas, he shared a dance with her. Moments like this are what he fights to preserve. Congratulations to Blake & Charlotte.

Engagement Shoot Details:

  • Client:Blake & Charlotte
  • Subject: Rustic Engagement Session
  • Location: Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego, CA 92119
  • Unique elements of the image: Rustic Landscape and Natural Light