Tips for Styling your Engagement Photos

stephanie williams

We have such a fun treat for you lovelies today! We know that right now and springtime are the most popular time for engagement photos, so we are thrilled to have the immensely talented Stephanie Williams sharing four essential tips for styling your engagement shoot and picking out your wardrobe! Stephanie recently published her book, This Modern Romance, which is all about engagement photos. I have a copy and it’s such a great book for photographers looking to capture the artistry of engagement photos – including how to capture the love between a couple as well as techniques + business tips.

For all of you lovely engaged couples – your engagement photos are the perfect time to find a fun backdrop + grab some incredible images that really capture your excitement for your upcoming wedding. We get lots of emails about what to wear and what type of props should they use, so I hope these tips from Stephanie are helpful! :)  So without further ado, I’ll let Stephanie take it from here…

gold love balloons

1. Props – Adding props into you photos can be a fun way to provide some personal insight into a relationship. When used simply, and in moderation, props can add an engaging element to your shoot through additional storytelling and thematic cohesion. Think of props as an element of design used to bring the shoot together, by tying together a theme and/or complimenting the story of your love. Your photographer or blogs like this one is often a great resource to direct you to prop rental companies. There are different types of props that can be used during an engagement photography shoot. Personal props generally have special significance (like a family heirloom) or reflect the couple’s lives together, like a vintage car or Vespa scooter. Creative or cute props are used with the intention of adding whimsy and flair to the shoot. For instance, a large colorful balloon or handmade banner adds a pop of color and a graphic element. Finally, location-based props, like a rowboat on a lake, come with your chosen location.

xo letters

stephanie williams

2. Storyboarding – Storyboarding is a tool often used in filmmaking, which also works really well when planning out an editorial session that has a certain intended flow to the story. A storyboard is a layout of the various shots you want to get throughout shooting, from beginning to end. Creating a storyboard does more than just help you plan your session, it stimulates your inventive mind, nurturing new ideas, colors, and direction.

stephanie williams styling

3Mood Boards – If you’re looking to capture your lifestyle in your shoot, consider creating a mood board. Mood boards are generally a collage created out of related colors, images, and textures as a design palette. If you’re creating a mood board for inspiration, try starting with an image that is central to your relationship or your chosen theme and build from there. Pinterest is an excellent tool to create a moodboard and share it with your vendors, so they can give you feedback or suggestions and get a good idea of the style you are going for.

stephanie williams

stephanie williams

4. Wardrobe + Styling – One of the first questions couples ask their photographers is “What should we wear?” Keep in mind that many photographers aren’t stylists. Stylists are a wonderful resource that you can collaborate with to come up with the perfect wardrobe for your shoot. If these kinds of services are too pricey, companies like J. Crew and Nordstrom’s offer free personal shoppers to help pick out clothing that flatters your shape and complement each other. Besides looking through inspiration on blogs and photographer’s websites, Pinterest (you can tell I love Pinterest!) is also an amazing resource, and you can get lots of inspirational images by typing in search words like ‘engagement outfits’ or ‘What to wear for an engagement.’ Shooting in a few different outfits allows you to have lots of options when buying/framing prints for your walls or lots of visual interest when creating an album of your session afterwards. But most importantly, make sure your clothes represent who you are.

stephanie williams styling

yellow balloons

Some tricks of the trade include: taking eye drops one hour before the shoot to take the red out of your eyes, always get your hair and make-up professionally done – you’ll look and feel fabulous! Try to stay with a certain color palette or scheme with your props and wardrobe, avoid tiny or busy prints and ultra thin lines since they tend not to photograph well, have lots of fun, be playful, and relax and let your photographer guide you!

stephanie williams styling

Big thanks to Stephanie for sharing so much awesome information with us today! How many of you have an engagement session planned in the next couple months? Share your own tips + plans in the comment section below!


Award-winning photographer Stephanie Williams, who recently released her first book “This Modern Romance” from Focal Press, runs her own wedding and fashion photography studio, This Modern Romance, in California. She was listed as one of the Top 20 Destination Wedding Photographers in the world by Destination Weddings and Honeymoons as well as one of PDN’s Rising Stars in Wedding Photography. View her work at This Modern Romance.

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  1. That second to last photo (detail shot of the clothing) is so awesome! Not only the photo, but the outfits. Love!!!


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