Suggestions For What To Wear For Photo Sessions

May 01, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I am frequently asked for suggestions on what to wear for photos,
so I wanted to do a quick blog post for those looking for ideas.
Consider the following when you select your outfits
and contact meif you have questions or need more ideas!

Avoid distracting clothing.

Stay away from wild patterns, character clothing, or anything with large printed words.
If someone in your group is going to wear a pattern, make sure others in the group don't not
since patterns often compete with each other and distract from the final image. Small print patterns are fine
and of course solidcolors are great, whether they are muted tones or bright colors. 
Remember, these photos will be hanging on your walls and treasured for years to come so think classic.
By choosing simple, classic clothing you will help give your images a timeless feel.
The purpose of portraits is for the people in them stand out, not the clothing.

Coordinate, but don't match.

For photos with more than one person, I recommend wear coordinating, but not matching clothing.
Choose several colors...such as two complimentary colors and an accent color. 
Pastels are always a great choice and so are neutral colors. 
Wearing the same color in different shades also works.

Here's some examples from some past sessions:


When shopping for children's clothing, check out stores that have coordinating collections.
This way you can purchase clothes for all the children from one store and know their clothes will compliment each other.
Stores like Gymboree, Crazy 8, and Janie and Jack typically have coordinating outfits for children.
Remember it's easier to buy clothing for children first and then coordinate the adults with solid colors.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Well, except for rule #1... ALWAYS follow rule #1 :)  

Below is an example where breaking the matching "rule" works because it's a classic beach shot and...
 let's face it, coordinating outfits for 9 people can be a little overwhelming, especially when they live far
away from each other and want some family photos while vacationing together!

Avoid solid black.

If you are wearing a solid black shirt, pants, or dress it is very easy to lose detail in the photos.
Again, there are exceptions to this "rule." If you are getting family photos with a newborn where you want
the main focus on the baby, all black can have a nice affect but for the most part, you should avoid solid black.

While you don't want accessories to be overwhelming, a few accessories help to make
 photos look more complete. Headbands for little girls, scarves and necklaces for women, ties
for men, sweaters and jackets... these all make great additions to photos. Just remember, accessories
should complement photos, not take center stage.


Shoes matter!

I strong recommend against wearing tennis shoes for photos. Stylish boots, dress shoes, or flats can tie a look
together whether it's a group shot or photos by yourself. Sometimes going shoeless is great too, especially
if you are going to be sitting for photos and the bottoms of your shoes may be seen.

Consider your setting.

Think about backdrops that may be used if indoors. If your session will take place outside
consider the setting. If there will be a lot of trees and grass behind you, it's best to avoid dressing in greens
and dark blues that will make you blend in to the background. Will your photos be taken against a field of flowers?
If so floral prints may be overwhelming and you may want to consider wearing solid colors. 

Also, consider the feel of the location... Will your photos be taken in a field with a rustic barn, at the beach, 
on the grounds of a museum, on a city street?  This may determine if you want to wear something vintage,
dress up in your finest, or wear a casual top and jeans.   


Consider the purpose of the photos.

Will this photo be displayed prominently on the mantle above your fireplace? If so, you may want to choose outfits
that won't look out of place with the décor in the room. Is the photo for Christmas cards? Consider classic wintery looks.
You can choose classic red but you may also want to consider fun bulky sweaters and scarves in neutral colors.

Plan ahead.

Once you book your session, start thinking about your clothing right away. You may think certain clothes will fit
your children or that one dress is clean. If you wait until the day of or day before you may run into an
issue of clothes not fitting, being dirty, needing to be dry cleaned or ironed.

Finally, if you are still out of ideas, Pinterest is a great resource!



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