Portrait | What to Wear

The biggest challenge in preparing for a photo session is deciding what to wear. Below are a few tips to consider when picking out your session wardrobe. Most importantly dress in clothing that speaks to your personality and is comfortable!

Wear well fitted clothing. Clothing that is too large comes off as sloppy in a photograph. If you are purchasing clothing specifically for pictures select sizes that fit slightly snug. This helps clothing lay smooth across your hips and gives a more tailored look. Also, make sure your wardrobe is stain and wrinkle free.

Choose a color scheme. You want to coordinate, not match. Choose the color(s) you want to work with and find different pieces that incorporate some or all of those color(s). Colors can be split up between people and not every person has to have on every color you have picked out. Below the green in his shirt was matched by the green leaves on her dress. I also liked this couples use of demin. The blue in his jeans complemented her blue jacket and this helped create a feeling of cohesion.


Shades are best. Shades of primary colors photograph nicely because they do not compete with each other or the subject. For example, choose a brick red instead of a primary red, navy instead of sky blue and burnt orange instead of bright orange. Avoid fluorescent colors! They tend to add a color cast to your skin and anyone standing close to you. 

Think solid colors. Solid colors are easy to look at and do not draw attention away from the subjects in a picture. Patterns on the other hand tend to catch the eye first, which can distract from the subject. Multiple patterns/prints in the same frame will compete with each other. Patterns and prints are attractive when worn as a layer or an accessory. Below, a plaid scarf paired with a solid shirt is a nice look and doesn't distract from the subject.

Bigger floral prints photograph nicely. If you are picking out clothing with a floral pattern consider choosing a floral print with large areas of solid color. 


Layers are good! Layers and accessories add dimension and depth. In the summer add a belt and a statement necklace to your dress. When the weather is cold add vests, cardigans, scarves, hats, etc. Do avoid accessories that are distracting. Such as large watches and flashy jewelry. Layering also, makes it easy to change up your wardrobe during your session. Below, the couple wore vests at the beginning of their session and than removed them for a different look. 


Shoes are everything. A bad pair of shoes can ruin the best dressed subject. Make sure your shoes are in good condition and complement what you are wearing. Leather shoes photograph nicely! Also, consider the location of your session when picking out shoes. High heels may not be the best choice if your session is in a grassy meadow.


Dress for the location. Consider where your photo session is taking place and dress accordingly. For examples, formal wear is more appropriate in an urban setting. Cowboy boots make sense in a country setting but not so much in a city scape. If your session is taking place in a grassy or wooded area avoid wearing green. You want to stand out, not blend into the surround foliage. During the fall consider how your wardrobe colors will interact with fall colors.

Dress for the weather. If you are uncomfortable because you are too hot/cold it will show in your pictures! Make your wardrobe flexible, so that it can accommodate for changes in weather. Bring a cardigan to go over your sundress incase the weather is cooler. Wearing layers allows you to remove clothing if the day is warmer than expected.  


Take Away……...

  • Do pick clothes that you are comfortable in
  • Do wear layers and solid colors
  • Do wear nice looking shoes
  • Do coordinate
  • Don’t match
  • Don’t wear fluorescent colors
  • Don’t bring clothing that is stained or wrinkled