Do you know what you will wear for your upcoming photo shoot? It’s ok if you don’t. Most people have no idea how to choose an outfit that will photograph well. In fact, one of the most frequent questions I get as a photographer is “What should I wear?”
Whether you are going to get family photos taken on the beach this summer, prepping for your engagement session in historical downtown Charleston, or simply getting some portraits taken to update your Linked In profile, we all want to be sure that we look our best when we step in front of the camera. I have great news for you. Choosing a photogenic outfit is no longer something that only fashion bloggers and stylists in magazines can do…..it’s actually quite simple and can most likely be put together with articles you already own. There are just 10 simple steps to follow when choosing your photoshoot attire that will ensure you look your absolute most flattering while coordinating in an effortlessly stylish way – and with out looking “cheesy”.
1 . Darker colors are slimming and give a timeless look. If you are wanting to look slim and trim, and perhaps hide any unwanted curves, black, navy, or any darker colors can do just the trick. Black is also a great color because it is a classic look that will not look ‘dated’ 10 or 20 years from now looking back.
2. Busy / bold patterns can be distracting from your face. I usually suggest keeping patterns to a minimum. They can work well if choosing a subtle pattern, or if you layer a jacket or sweater over top. If you are not sure if it will work, you can always play it safe by choosing solid colors that will highlight your face.
3. Be true to you. Keep it natural. Choose something that you feel the most confident and comfortable in. Sometimes even just a simple t-shirt can be the best choice.
4. Do bring jackets, hats, sunglasses and props. They are fun additions to your session and can create multiple ‘looks’ without requiring a complete outfit change. They are also great to incorporate as props even just to hold rather than wear.
5. Mix-and-match not matchy-matchy. There is a little bit of an art to this, but you can totally pull off matching outfits without looking cheesy. The key to coordinating is choosing a color scheme. For example, rather than everyone having white shirts and grey pants, maybe try one person with white pants and a dark grey shirt, another with light grey shirt and dark grey pants. This is also an easier way to have large groups match when you can give them a general guidelines like “we are going to wear shades of grey”.
Another way you can coordinate is by choosing one color that everyone wears but each person has a different article of clothing that has that color in it. For example, one person might have purple mixed into a pattern, while someone else in the group will have a solid purple shirt, and then another will have an accessory that’s purple.
Matching color: Champagne
Matching color: Blue6. Pull from skin tones + eye color + hair color.
SKIN: This is one you probably already know about yourself. You probably know what color clothing looks good on your skin tone, and which colors make you look washed out. If not, check out this guide to find out! WHAT’S MY COLOR
EYES: By choosing the same color blue or green as your eyes, the color will really pop in close up photos.
HAIR: Usually contrasting colors with hair color will look best i.e redheads look great in blues and greens, darker hair looks good against lighter color shirts, and lighter hair will stand out more against darker color shirts.
7. Pants and long skirts allow for more creative posing options. Sitting on the ground with a short skirt can be tricky. I usually suggest picking a longer skirt or pants so that we can have more posing options!
8. When in doubt, match to the scene. There are some general ‘rule of thumb’ suggestions if you have read this far and still really have no idea what to wear. Generally, pastel colors look good on the beach. Pops of color like red or anything vibrant look good in a downtown setting since the buildings are mostly neutrals. Choosing a color of the seasonal flowers is a pretty safe bet when going to a park for your session.
9. Boots or heels add height and lengthen legs. I have photographed some sessions where the girls wear heels or boots and it looks AMAZING. Below is an example. She wore nude heels which made her legs look extra long, slim, and toned. Perfect. However, do keep in mind the “keep it natural’ step #3 above. If heels are not a normal part of your wardrobe, your photo session is not the time you should be busting them out for the first go around. The most important thing is that you feel confident, comfortable, and natural. Personally, I am a converse all star tennis shoes kind of gal myself and if I wore heels to a shoot it would be a disaster. Heels can be a woman’s best friend, or her worst nightmare. Also, be careful if your guy is shorter than you when you add that extra inch. You might not care, but may want to run the idea by him first because YES, it WILL show in your photos. 😉
10. Choose fitted – not baggy. Shirts and dresses that are fitted to show your waste will be slimming and flattering. If choosing a flow-y top, you can always add a belt around your waist.
I hope this guide has been helpful and informative. If you have questions still on what to wear for your upcoming shoot, you can always shoot me a text with a photo of your outfit idea and I would be happy to offer suggestions.