What To Wear to Your Portrait Session
We often get asked, “What kind of outfits should we wear to our upcoming session?” Thankfully, there are SO many great options that you shouldn’t have an issue finding something you love at all! Overall, if you feel good, you’ll look good so shoot for comfortable clothing that gives you freedom to move and you’ll be well on your way to a great session!
VARIETY IS BEST
Start by looking through your wardrobe for coordinating colors; not matching colors. Focus on colors within the same color palate or scheme. It might sound silly but look around your home and really focus on the color scheme you’ve surrounded by everyday! Do you like bright colors or more earthly tones? Remember, these photos will likely find a permanent place as part of your decor so if you want them to match the overall look and feel of your home, pay attention to the colors already within each room.
Mix and match with color and patterns. Be sure to keep a balance between those wearing solids and those in patterns but start to limit pattern outfits in groups 3+. Any clothing with logos, pictures or cartoon characters are not recommend; even if it is your child’s all-time favorite shirt.
Avoid being the “black and white” family if possible. Unless we’re going to a very light and airy beach shoot where everyone is in white cotton and it’s just the right look for that particular shoot…we don’t recommend everyone choosing either all white, all black or a matching combination of only those 2 colors.
BUILD YOUR LOOK
Start by planning each person’s look at a time. This makes the path your final decisions much easier than trying to bring multiple people’s looks together at once.
You’re looks can be bright and fun. Think maxi dresses, fitted tops tucked into long skirts, a-line dresses/coats, skinny jeans, cardigans, blazers, scarves, ankle boots, riding boots and fitted tunics.
Avoid: strapless and sleeveless tops (unless you love your arms), low-cut shirts, baggy clothes, chunky knits and cheap/flimsy fabrics that are see-through or don’t have good cuts to help shape your body.
Long sleeve, button-down shirts generally look best in photos but if you’re really hoping to wear a short sleeve or t-shirt, we suggest layering with a jacket or blazer on top. Think chino pants/shorts, button-downs with sleeves rolled up to elbows, sweaters layered over collared shirts, dark wash jeans, leather shoes/boots and cardigans.
The same suggestions for mom and dad apply to kiddos as well but adding fun accessories such as headbands, hats, bows/ribbons, rain-boots, suspenders, bow ties, caps and high top sneakers are great ideas! Avoid having a visible diaper/underwear; try shorts for under dresses instead.
TRY EVERYTHING ON
It sounds like such a basic suggestion but it’s probably the most important! Kids grow at incredibly fast rates so if you wait until the day before to try on an outfit you may be disappointed that it no longer fits the way it used to. Planning ahead will also ensure each outfit is clean and wrinkle free. The less stress you feel getting everyone dressed for your session, the better mood you’ll arrive to your session.
Better moods = bigger smiles!
Be mindful of where your session is taking place. Are you walking around a grassy park? Flats or wedges will be your best shoe choice. Walking a beach? We’ll probably at some point recommend kicking off your shoes altogether but again, keeping in mind a comfortable shoe for navigating the terrain is important. If you’re too busy focusing on walking straight, it’ll have an awkward feeling in your photos. Stay away from sneakers or bright athletic shoes if possible.
Jewelry is another great prop for your session. Statement necklaces and long pieces that can add some welcomed fun to your photos and are always a great choice. Don’t forget to think about matching earring options as well.
Textures in your style such as a weathered belt, fun scarf or even cotton fitted shirts are really great choices. Do you have a flowy dress that would look amazing in a slight breeze? Do those cowboy boots give the perfect finishing touch to your look? Don’t be afraid to show off your sense of style!
If you wear glasses every day, please wear them in your shoot! However, lens glare and shaded lenses will keep your eyes from being seen. You can have anti-reflective coating added to your lenses or wear just the frames. Do you regularly wear transition lens glasses? If you have a pair on non-transitions just for this shoot that would be recommended.
Unless we’re doing a Senior Session, we’re not fans of outfit changes. Why? Not only does it eat into your session time but it really complicates things when kids are involved. We’ve found that one well put together look is far better than battling unknowns like: Is there a public restroom to change in? Will putting the kids (and yourself) through clothing changes mess with everyone’s attitudes?
PLAN FOR WEATHER
Is your session in the summer? Dressing in layers so you can take some clothing off in case you get too warm. Winter? Think a cute coat, gloves/mittens, scarves and hats! Does it look like rain? A cute umbrella makes for a great prop!
If you’re planning on using your images for a holiday card, we do not recommend dressing in holiday themed colors and clothing. Sticking to the suggestions above and designing your card around the holiday instead will bring a fresh sophistication to the final result of your cards. Plus you’ll be able to enjoy your images year round!
NEED MORE INSPIRATION?
Check out our Pinterest board for a collection of images from previous sessions along
with ideas for outfits, props, posing and more!
Looking for a few tips on posing before your session? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!