What To Wear For Your Upper Peninsula Couples Photos

by | Jan 15, 2021 | Planning Ahead | 0 comments

wife rides piggyback on husband as they play in the snow during winter anniversary photos

I am so excited for your portrait session!

Couples photos – whether engagement, anniversary, or just because – are some of my favorite sessions to shoot!

However, a big, messy worry that gets in the way of many couples’ excitement about their portraits is that they just don’t know what to wear.  They are looking forward to a fun afternoon devoted to celebrating the two of them – but at the same time, they dread their session because they worry that they’ll look awkward in front of the camera. 

I put my couples to ease as soon as we meet that there’s no way they can mess things up, but I recognize that not knowing what to wear can lead to serious stressing out beforehand!

Before We Talk About What To Wear For Your Upper Peninsula Couples Photos

Focus on the connection you share with one another. I’ll ask you ahead of time if you prefer posed images or more candid images and what type of feel you are looking for in your session, but know that I aim to capture a variety of images during our time together.

Be as affectionate towards each other as you feel comfortable — after all, this is a time to show off your love! Hold hands, kiss, cuddle, tease! Remember, there’s no rule for what’s right! At first, you may feel nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera, but chances are your other half feels the exact same way! Laugh through the awkwardness together and your connection will shine through.

engaged couple laugh as they play in the snow during their winter engagement pictures winter photo outfits red wool coat navy puffer coat

I’ll be mixing prompts and poses as we go along to help elicit authentic reactions and emotions. When all is said and done, you will have a great variety of images to share no matter what your plan is for how to use these special pictures!

midland mi engagement session at stratford woods park beach

Planning What To Wear For Your Couples Session

I highly recommend you try on your clothes at least a week before your session to make sure you feel comfortable in them and that they fit well.  As you select your outfit, keep the following points in mind:

The level of formality should match (think ball gown vs jeans vs sports jersey).

The outfits you choose help set the mood of your images, so wear pieces that feel like “you.” If you aren’t into dresses, don’t wear one! At the same time, many couples opt for two outfits, with one being more formal and the other being more casual. This gives more variety in your images as well!

If you’re interested in getting a little extra dressy to celebrate an anniversary or other special occasion (which is ALWAYS okay in my book!) I encourage you to check out Rent the Runway! This is a great service that allows you to wear a high-end dress at a FRACTION of the original price (I’ve seen $800+ dresses for $50-70!), and you aren’t left with another dress hanging in the back of the closet that you’ll probably never wear again!

Engagement session in Hancock, Michigan at Portage Canal

If you are a couple that routinely matches, that’s great! Otherwise aim to coordinate, either with complementary colors and/or complementary tones, specifically with your tops.

For instance:

  • For instance, you could both wear lighter tones (gray, white tan), jewel tones (royal blue/purple, emerald), or darker tones.  Drawing from the same color palette is a great way to coordinate! Choose an item of clothing with a pattern and then draw colors from within it to create the palette for your outfits.
  • If your clothes contrast too sharply (think complete opposite colors, like black and white) they don’t tend to photograph as well.
  • To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue.
  • If you’re sporting prints ( i.e. polka dots or floral), make sure they’re big enough to show up on camera, but not too big—you don’t want an oversize print to be the only thing people focus on.
  • Small, tight patterns, like very narrow stripes, also are not the best choice for photos. This can be particularly a problem in men’s dress shirts, leading to something called moire.
  • It’s best if only one partner has patterned clothing so you don’t clash (i.e. stripes and flannel).

What Not To Wear For Your Couples Session:

  • Logos. Unless you own your own business or are big sports fans it’s best to avoid logos. Pictures and other wording will distract the viewer’s eye away from your gorgeous faces. It will also quickly date your photos as the years pass! (Remember those giant Hollister logo tees that were so popular in the early 2000s?)
  • Hats. What – what?! Ok, we actually love hats and other layers to add interest to your outfits, but we recommend bringing your hat instead of wearing it to your session! Why? Simple – hat hair is real – for both guys and girls. Let’s plan your “hat outfit” for the end of your session – that way we get great images both with and without your hat!
  • Angora/fuzzy sweaters. While these sweaters are super cute, especially for a fall or winter session, be aware that they tend to shed. Since you will be spending time cuddling up together, after a few poses both you and your partner may be covered in little threads. If you do opt for a fuzzy sweater, be sure to pack a lint roller!

Looking for more ideas? Be sure to check out my Pinterest board with ideas for what to wear for your couples/engagement session!

The most important suggestion I can offer is this: 

Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. Take the time to plan your clothing, don’t just throw something on. Elevate your outfits beyond your everyday look so you’ll have images that you are proud to show off for years to come!

A Few Last Thoughts Before Your Session:

Makeup and Photoshop can correct minor skin issues but they are not magic!

If you don’t wear a lot of makeup every day, don’t feel like you need to layer it on. Maybelline Age Rewind concealer is my personal favorite for a natural looking concealer with great coverage.

For a winter photo session, I highly recommend waterproof eyeliner or mascara so it doesn’t smudge, especially if it’s snowing or very windy! (The links I’ve included are to my personal “holy grail” products.)

For a warmer weather session, it’s common to feel like you need to “get some sun” before your session. Proceed with caution! Sunburn and dry, flaking skin never photograph well, and self-tanner can easily make you look too orange. In addition, a transparent setting powder can help to combat oily skin. I swear by this powder by Rimmel to reduce shine!

Do you have any specific shots that are “must haves” for you?
Are there any specific props that you want to use? These are always optional, but nothing ever comes together well when thrown together at the last minute, so plan ahead! Ideas include a common hobby, interest, even an inside joke!

upper peninsula of michigan forest engagement session

Can we include our pets in our photos?

Absolutely! Your pets are part of the family, too! We do recommend having a game plan in place ahead of time.

Give your dogs a good walk ahead of time so they’ve had a chance to run and play.

Plan to have your pets included during the last part of the session. Depending on your pet, you may want to bring an extra person to help out, as you likely won’t want them in every picture.

Remember that your pets will pick up on your energy. This is why it’s so important to stay relaxed and trust that I’ll be there to capture your family and show who you are together! This is also why we recommend having your pet later on in your session, after you’ve had a chance to relax in front of our camera.

esrey park engagement session on lake superior


Take a breath! We’re here to celebrate your love with you. Give yourself permission to relax and savor your engagement session!

framed pictures and an album sit on a white desk

Looking for ways to use your pictures?

Click here to get ideas for how to decorate your home!

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Enjoy the VU Photography

Hello there! I’m Veronica, an Upper Peninsula wedding and portrait photographer.


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