What to Wear for your Yosemite Engagement Session

Yosemite Engagement Session


There’s no doubt that “what should we wear” is one of the most frequently asked questions we get. And while there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, I’ve got a few KEY TIPS that I would like to share with you! That way you can start planning what to wear for your Yosemite Engagement Session!


#1 First things first…

You should wear something you love, and that genuinely fits with both of you as a couple. This is one of the main reasons why there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. Suits and long dresses look amazing, yes, but if that just isn’t your vibe, or if you’ll look at those photos later in life and think “wow, that looks nothing like us” then there’s no purpose.

The first time we facetime Kayla & Adrian to talk about their wedding, one of the first things they mentioned was the fact that they weren’t traditional. Kayla said their goal for their wedding day was to make sure it fits with them. For that reason, she isn’t wearing a white bridal dress. She was on the hunt for a black wedding dress instead! And for the same reason, they picked their outfits for their engagement session in Yosemite based on their personalities, and what would make them feel like THEM. Also, it was freezing, haha! So their outfit choice was quite appropriate!

#2 If dressing up is your thing… go for it!

Honestly. If it’s your thing, go all out! Very few people know that, and it’s probably because we just wear hiking clothes for 98% of our lives, but Stephan LOVES suits. He loves a good suit and loves having a reason to dress up. So what better excuse to get all dressed up than your engagement session?

We see your engagement session as something as important as your wedding day. I mean, think about it, you’ve already made one of the biggest decisions you could make in your life! You’re one step away from getting married, and that’s something that needs to be celebrated. So don’t be afraid to go all out and dress up! A lot of couples ask us when “an outfit is too much” or if park visitors will find it weird. As long as you love your outfit, is never too much. As for the people, they’ll be congratulating you and as excited for you as you are, I’m not kidding!

#3 Think about the background

This might seem like an “obvious” tip, but it’s really important to think about the landscape you’ll be in. Yosemite National Park’s landscapes are very iconic – you have waterfalls, giant granite rocks, meadows, and more. A lot of this landscape also changes color with the different seasons. Yosemite Valley in the spring, for example, is a whole lot of green! But in the fall, is full of yellows, oranges, and reds.

All of that to say that: it’s important to put a little thought into your colors. You’ll want to stand out from the background, but at the same time complement the landscape you’re in. Confusing? Yes, I know, a little bit! And that’s why I want to use Claire & Eric’s sunrise session to explain. Our plan was to start the day at sunrise at one of the most iconic views in Yosemite Valley, and then head over to hike the Mist Trail. We would end the morning at a waterfall. We talked about their outfits quite a bit, and Claire’s choice of dress for the morning was perfect!

At first, you would think a blue dress would just blend in too much with the scenery, especially at the waterfall. But once she showed me the dress, and I could see how many shades of blue were in it, we realized this was a perfect choice! It complemented the landscape and at the same time allowed them to stand out from it!

#4 Wear more than one outfit

It’s always a good idea to have more than one look for your engagement session. We usually recommend taking a casual outfit, and a more formal one. Depending on the duration of your session, you can bring 2-3 outfits. For our base packages (up to 2 hours of session) we do not recommend bringing more than 2 outfits. Simply because you probably don’t want to spend most of your session changing, right?

As for the order of the outfits, I’m more than happy to help with that. Most of our couples will send me photos of their clothing options, and then I can help them decide which one to start with, and which one to end. And to help you, all I think about are these things: landscape, time of the year, time of the day, feel (what kind of vibe you want for your session).

#5 Ask for your photographer’s help

I mean it. We’re here for you. If you’re at a store or shopping online, and you can’t decide in between outfits, just shoot me a text! Since we’ve been to Yosemite countless times, we’ll be able to tell you what would look stunning at a certain location, and what wouldn’t stand out so much!

* Bonus Tips!
  • It’s important to think about the time of the year of your session, and pay attention to the weather forecast a couple of days before. It’s not only important that you love what you wear, but that you also feel good and relaxed! So if there’s snow on the ground, for example, make sure to wear appropriate shoes – nothing is worse than wet feet. We can always take a second so that you can change shoes for the pictures, if you’d like to do so.

  • The same goes for cold. Say, you planned to wear a dress, but it looks like it will be much colder day than antecipated – just bring a SOLID jacket. You can take it out for a couple of pictures, and put it back as soon as we’re moving onto the next stop! It’s important to stay warm as much as possible. Hand warmers are a great solution too!

  • Bring snacks and plenty of water with you! Even if we aren’t necessarily hiking anywhere. On days like these, we tend to forget to drink water, or eat – we’re guilty of that, and if you don’t pay attention, you will be too! And at the end of the day, you’ll be more tired than you should be. Water and food are essentials!

  • Think about things or activies you wanna do on your session. Some of our couples bring picnics, others bring champagne, and most of them bring beers, haha (maybe it’s our influence, we’re brewery people). Whatever it is that you guys like to do together, it will complement the session, and make for some genuine moments for us to capture!
Important Information

Glacier Point Road – the road that leads to Glacier Point, Taft Point, and Sentinel Dome – will be closed for all of 2022. The Park is doing some major construction projects on it, and they plan to open it again in late spring/summer of 2023.

In 2022 it will only be possible to get to all of those places by hiking from Yosemite Valley. The hikes can be quite strenuous, and the elevation gain is between 2,500 to 3,500 ft.

If hiking isn’t your thing, DO NOT WORRY. Yosemite Valley is open all year round and it’s GORGEOUS. You can check out this wedding in the fall that was done all in Yosemite Valley. Their original plan was to get married in Glacier Point, but due to a passing snowstorm, the Park closed the road just 3 days before their elopement. If you check out the link, you’ll see that plan B ended up being EPIC.

Don’t go yet, check out:
Do you still have questions? Contact us and let’s chat!
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We’re Stephan & Adriana, California Elopement Photographers based in the foothills of Yosemite National Park.

Leave a Comment

  1. […] What to Wear for your Yosemite Engagement Session […]

  2. What a informative and great blog! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Katelyn says:

    Ugh I am dying, these images are so gorgeous! Also a ton of great info. I wouldn’t have thought about wearing really bold colors but it looks SO good!

  4. Taylor says:

    Umm wow, these are gorgeous! And such great info for couples. Dressing up can really make it feel like an event and can take ordinary photos and turn them into something to be celebrated!

  5. Great advice with shoes and colors. I love a good pop of red!

  6. Heather Huie says:

    This is a great guide for how to plan your Yosemite shoot and outfits!

  7. love it all! i think its such a great idea to were colors that pop out against that backdrop. really pretty work.

  8. YES YES YES! I recently did a blog like this and it’s a lifesaver for my clients! So helpful!

  9. Traci says:

    Yosemite is always such a dream!

  10. […] What to Wear on your Yosemite Engagement Session […]

  11. Sienna says:

    Love the tip about wearing outfits that stand out against the earth hues of Yosemite!

  12. Kat Carney says:

    So many great tips, and I love all the photos of the incredible Yosemite locations too!

  13. Laura says:

    Love all the tips! Yosemite is such a perfect backdrop !

  14. These are such helpful tips! And the photos you’ve included are so beautiful – goes to show how important it is to have great outfits!

  15. Kat says:

    What great tips! And I love that your photography is true-to-color and not faded–it really brings out the personalities of your couples.

  16. Meaghan says:

    Yosemite is so gorgeous!! I love your tip to wear bold colors to stand out. Definitely something I wouldn’t have thought of! Great blog!

  17. What a wonderful idea to create a “what to wear” guide for a specific location! So smart and helpful! And your photos are amazing!!

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