My clients always ask me what should they wear for their portrait or family photography session. While there are no hard and fast rules, some clothes generally photograph better, so I’ve put together a guide that will help you decide on your best outfit for the day.
Solid colours tend to work best: all attention is on you, and not your clothing. If there’s more than one person in the picture, try to coordinate colours so that they work well together. You don’t need to wear the same colour (in fact, don’t wear the same colour!) – just make sure they don’t clash.
Choose colours from the opposite sides of the colour wheel (complementary colours), or the colours adjacent to each other (harmonious colours). Most people just intuitively know what colour combinations work for them, so just trust your instincts. For those of you who don’t have a clue about complementary or harmonious colours, I’ve found this easy-to-use online tool: Color Scheme Designer. Although it is really targeted towards web designers, it allows you to get a general idea about different colour combinations at a click of a mouse. And if you are completely and utterly stuck, get in touch with me and I will point you towards a couple of really wonderful image consultants who will advice you on your best colours and how to combine them effectively.
Avoid patterns and logos
Logos aren’t great as they date really quickly, and busy and contrasty patterns create too much visual noise and distract from the main subject on the photo – you. Oh, and please don’t wear skinny stripes – cameras and screens don’t like them. If you must wear a pattern, try to limit it to just one piece (for example, combine jeans with a patterned top).
If you’re not much of a fashionista, and prefer jeans (like I do) – then please wear them! Jeans have been around for over 100 years, and are timeless. Combine them with a smart top and some accessories, and you’re sorted in no time! However, do avoid wearing more than one piece of denim clothing: it’ll look very 80s!
Dress for the same season
For family portraits (or any group photograph) make sure you’re dressed for the same season. For example, if she is wearing a jacket, it’s not a good idea for him to be wearing shorts and a t-shirt! Unless that’s exactly the effect you’re after ; )
Layered clothing works really well. It’s the easiest way to get varied looks from your photoshoot without having to worry about finding a place to change. Wear a jacket and a top underneath, or wear two tops one under the other. Throw in a couple of jumpers and a scarf… And you’ve got many different looks!
Accessorize. Bring your kids’ favourite toys
Wear or bring scarves, necklases, earring, wellies and brollies – whatever you love, anything that’s unique to you, your family, your kids. For children’s portraits, please bring a couple of their favourite toys (or have them at the ready if the photography session is taking place at your home). Not only they are a great prop for your kids portraits, but it will also make it easier for me to gain your kid’s trust before the session (show me a kid that wouldn’t want to talk about his or her favourite toys!)
Allow your child to wear PJs…
Don’t try to push your kids into wearing more formal clothing; in fact, casual works much-much better both for their moods and for the final output. They want to wear their pyjamas? Then let them! You won’t get anything good out of them if you force them into that pretty outfit you had prepared. After all, in photographing your child you want to capture their personality and how they are at this moment in time – and it’s those unique shots you will come to treasure as they grow up. Also please remember that we may sit on the pavement or roll in the grass and do some crazy stuff, so choose your child outfit accordingly: you don’t want to ruin a very expensive one. Just saying! (Remember, dirt is good!)
It’s all about YOU
Wear something you feel comfortable in, something that makes you feel gorgeous and confident. If you are not normally wearing little dresses and high heels – it’s probably not a good idea to wear them on the day of your portrait session. And remember: if you just must wear something that I said you shouldn’t – then by all means wear it!
Still not sure what to wear?
If you’re still stuck, and can’t choose between several outfits or not sure whether your colours will work – bring them along (or have them ready if the session is taking place in your home), or take some snaps and email me the pictures – and I’ll help you choose the ones that will work best in photographs.
And finally… Think about your walls.
Are you planning to order a large framed print to put it on your wall? What is that room’s colour scheme? Can you find clothing you can wear on the day of your photography session that would complement your interior? Or are you redecorating soon? If you have an interior designer working with you – it might be a good idea for me to speak to them before your photography session, so we can style your shoot accordingly. If not, just talk to me about what you’d like and together with can work out the best solution.