Preparing for Your Portrait Shoot, Part 4: What to Wear?

Every client who books a session with us gets a magazine-look Style Guide to preparing for their photoshoot. To make the information accessible to everyone (who doesn't like knowing how to look their best?),  we will be featuring this guide on our blog in a four-part series. If you would like to receive the whole Style Guide for free, sign up for our newsletter (in the right sidebar) and you will be emailed a copy as a gift! 

Below are some of our favorite tips to looking amazing in your photos. Feel free to follow - or skip - any and all that apply to you! 

Clothes are the most asked and discussed question in my studio and it makes perfect sense as they will determine the mood of your photos. What does one wear to a glamorous portrait session, anyway? The question is not a simple one to answer, but it is a very fun one to chat about! 

The general guidelines for what outfits to bring are basically the same for everyone, but the execution will vary based on your own style and personality. 

What we are looking for is clothes that represent you - but a very polished version of you. This is a great time to wear outfits that you perhaps do not get the chance to wear too often because they are either impractical (clothes which require dry cleaning or wrinkle easily), dressy (how about that glamorous dress you wore to a gala or a cocktail party once and it now hangs in your closet), or just too fussy for everyday wear. It is also a great time to wear the outfit of your dreams - whether you buy it, rent it, or borrow it from a friend.

During our session, we will end up choosing between four and six outfits. However, most women bring in a wide variety of outfits and we choose together based on what I believe will photograph best. I have yet to meet someone who does not bring at least ten outfits and most bring more, so if you are on the fence, pack it!  You will also get the chance to discuss the details and ask for suggestions during your consultation session so start planning as soon as you can. The more involved and invested you are in choosing your wardrobe, the better your photos will be!

 

COLORS AND STYLES

The basic outfit colors and styles that you should bring are:

- something dark (such as black, navy, charcoal, or very dark burgundy) - usually, this will be your elegant, sexy, or fashion-forward style

- something light (white, blush, cream, or nude) - this might be an outfit which is soft, airy, whimsical

- something disctinctly “you” which shows your personality - whether that be funky, dramatic, sweet, or formal

- something sexy - whatever your version of sexy is (anything from a dress to lingerie) 

 

THINGS THAT WORK:

- texture: lace and sequins are my favorite, but anything with beautiful or soft texture photographs very well

- muted colors: you can bring a brighter color - just look at the gorgeous front cover of this guide - but soft, muted, and neutral colors are univerally more flattering and photograph better

- beautiful, diverse necklines: I am a huge fan of off-shoulder, deep-v, and boat necklines but so long as they are flattering to your body, go nuts! - fitted clothes: despite our instincts about looser clothes hiding imperfections better, fitted clothes actually give you a fitter shape which in turn looks more slimming

in photographs

 

THINGS TO AVOID: 

- bad texture: rough, wool sweaters do not photograph well, and pilling or worn fabric is the absolute worst

- busy patterns: can work, but will take the focus away from you and I would generally suggest sticking to solids, if you can

- all sleeveless outfits: unless you absolutely love your arms,  find sleeves that flatter your body or bring in a few shawls or cover-ups

- loose, bulky outfits: flowy skirts are great, but bulky tops end up getting pinned back to reveal your shape anyway; outfits that show off the shape of your upper body look much better!

 

OTHER ITEMS TO BRING

- jewelry, such as necklaces or earrings

- undergarments (don’t forget nude underwear and bra, strapless if you are bringing a strapless dress) 

- accessories, like shawls or hats

- forget the shoes! (we won’t see them) 

 

TIPS AND TRICKS

1. Start planning well ahead of your shoot so you have plenty of time to find your dream outfits. You might want to look online, scope out consignment and antique shops, and even bridal boutiques. 

2. You don’t have to buy all your outfits, consider borrowing them from a fashionable friend or renting them (try RentTheRunway.com).

3.  Steam or iron your clothes well the night before your shoot, then hang them afterwards.

4. If there’s an outfit on our website you love, ask about it! It might be in our studio wardrobe, or we might know where our client got it from. 

5. Come dressed in loose, comfortable clothes that will not leave marks in your skin.