engagement photo on the beach

Filed in engagement session — May 6, 2022

Beach Engagement Photos: What to Wear

Tips on What to Wear for a Beach Engagement Session

Rules for Shooting on the Beach

When it comes to what to wear for your beach engagement photos, there’s one rule that trumps them all: you’ve got to stay true to YOU! I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked me “Am I allowed to wear this fill-in-the-blank (color, style, shoes, etc) for my engagement session?” Are you allowed? Of course you are! You’re about to be a married person; you make up your own rules now! Well, your own rules plus theirs, so…compromises!

That being said, there are some things you might want to keep in mind if you and your loved one are set on beach engagement photos. None of them trump the golden rule of keeping it YOU, but they might provides some context or ideas that will help guide you through the process.

What Are Good Colors to Wear?

Colors are probably the most important decision when choosing what to wear for any engagement photos, not just on the beach. You need to ask yourself where you see yourself using the photos once they’re done. Are these for you to frame and put on your wall? Are they for an announcement? Your wedding invites? If they’re for your wall, pick colors that make a nice accent to the room you see them in. If they’re for a wedding invite, choose colors that fit with your theme. Colors speak to our subconscious, so do yourself a favor and link it all together right down to your engagement photos.

Traditionally you’ll see a lot of white in engagement photos, and that’s always a great choice! But so are other lights like pink, baby blue, yellow, or cream. “But I’m on the beach!” I hear you say! “Won’t I blend in with the sand?” Excellent point my friend. This is where coordination comes in! I chose Kyle and Sarene’s session here to show you just hot wonderful it can look to coordinate a light color like cream-white with a pop of color like blue and brown. When shooting on the beach I like to incorporate the colors of the atmosphere into the style: the blue of the sky and ocean, the cream of the sand, and the pops of brown found in shells, piers, and the sun.

One helpful simple tip is that solid colors tend to work better than complicated patterns. Sarene and Kyle went with solids, which is very fitting to their own aesthetic. They said that their outfits were 100% representative of their own styles, but Serene chose to where white to play up the bride role. I love that!

Should I Wear More than One Outfit?

Why not?! I love a look change. Variety is the spice of life after all. However, remember that on a beach, you’re not always going to have easy access to a changing room. Rather than stress over an outfit change, why not just bring along some add-ons? A scarf, jacket, over-shirt, hat, or blanket are all great add-ons. There are so many things you can easily carry on the beach and add into the session for some new looks. And if you’re not shy, a quick shirt change can be simple and fast.

Sometimes you’ll want to have a few shots that are more formal than what you land on for your main outfit. For beach engagement photos, it can be challenging to wear formal attire without getting super sandy. So, if you want a few shots that are more formal, I recommend bringing one or two items to add on: a suit jacket, a veil, some heels, or even some flowers are perfect. You’ll be surprised how much these items will level up the elegance of your session.

What about Practicality on the Beach?

Shooting on the beach can come with a few challenges, but nothing that should deter you from your dream engagement photo setting. Beaches are often windy, and can get colder than expected in a matter of minutes, so a jacket or shawl is a must have. With the wind, I know a lot of people with longer hair worry about it ruining the shots, but rather than trying to fix your hair so that it doesn’t move, just accept that it will. Lean into it. I love how Sarene chose a more flowy dress that compliments the breeze of beach air. If you’re really worried that your hair is going to give you trouble with wind, then I recommend working with a hair artist who can give you an updo that will stay put!

Can you wear heels? Absolutely! If you love heels and that’s important to your look, just pack your sandals and we’ll throw on your favorite shoes when we find our shooting spots. Keep in mind that just because you want heels in your photos, doesn’t mean you have to wear them. Think of clothing items like shoes, shawls, hats, and scarfs as accessories to use as props. They don’t have to be on your body. Are there any special items you two share that might make for a good photo op? Bring ’em!

Sarene + Kyle

Our lovely couple Sarene and Kyle are getting married in Santa Barbara this year. They chose Santa Monica beach for their engagement photos because this is where they had their first kiss and where Kyle proposed. I think Santa Monica is also a perfect spot to compliment the photos that will come from their Santa Barbara wedding. I think having your engagement photos be in the same world as your wedding photos makes for better framing and display on the wall.

What beaches do you love best, and where are you thinking of shooting? I’d love to connect and talk about making your engagement photos everything you’re dreaming about. My link is below!


Photography | Heather Anderson Photography

Sarene’s Dress | Free People

Kyle’s Sweater | J. Crew

Kyle’s pants | The Gap

Hair and Makeup | Glam Squad


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