One of the most frequently asked questions I (and every other photographer) receive is “what should we wear to our shoot?” Our session is a special occasion, and should be planned for and treated as such! You want to look and feel your very best in the images, and I want to help you get there.
I present to you – the best outfit advice that I’ve gathered over the years:
1.) Comfort reigns supreme.
Clothes are meant to fit our bodies – not the other way around! Make sure you can move around, sit & stand up, and raise your arms comfortably so we aren’t limited in our posing. And make sure you feel good in what you’re wearing.
Take it from Style & Select’s Ultimate Styling Prep Sheet – “Short or tight dresses on women hinder poses, movement and can be a worried distraction.” An off-the-shoulder situation can also make things difficult, and you’ll likely be focusing on adjusting yourself all shoot – which is no fun!
2.) Start with a general color scheme.
We want all photoshoot participants to look cohesive & complimentary, without matching each other. If everyone wears white shirts and jeans, and you get nice and snuggly for a photo (and trust me – you will get snuggly in front of my camera!), it’ll be hard to tell where one person starts and the other ends.
Start with a “palette” of colors to choose from; this could be your wedding colors, colors that suit the season, or colors that accentuate your features – like something that brings out your eyes!
Think outside of the khakis-and-white-linen-shirts-on-the-beach box. As Amy & Jordan say, “You never walk down the street in matching black t-shirts and jeans, so why start now?! Just make sure the color tones compliment each other, and you’ve got yourself the perfect ‘match!’”
Consider the photoshoot location when choosing your color scheme too. If we’re going to be surrounded by plants and grass and trees, it’s probably best to avoid green. If we’re going to the Capitol building (all white), it’s probably best to avoid white. If we’re planning for an in-home session, consider what looks good with your house decor.
3.) Find a balance between bold pops/patterns and solids/neutrals.
Style & Select recommends having “at least one solid for every print/pattern.” For example, if one member of your family/couple wears a dress with a floral pattern, the other could wear a solid shirt that picks up on one of the colors in the dress pattern. If you feel intimidated by patterns/prints, try incorporating different textures instead, like fringe, velvet, crochet, etc.
Also – make sure to avoid large logos. Unless you’re sponsored and we’re both being paid for the exposure, large logos or graphic tees can be distracting.
4.) Flowy dresses are the BEST!
Not only are they comfortable (see #1), but with flowy dresses we can create gorgeous movement in the images. On engagement shoots, we can have your partner twirl you for movement. On family sessions, daughters can twirl and show off their dress – and it usually gets good giggles too 🙂
But – be careful! Opt for a wrap dress over a potato-sack-shift-dress. We still want structure, but a flowy bottom to the dress. Style & Select explains it well – “Many think that blouses or dress that have no definition will help ‘hide’ what you want hidden, but it actually does the exact opposite. Women should wear something that gives shape to the body.”
5.) Avoid small stripes, and opt for a warm white.
While stripes can be flattering, be sure to choose stripes or patterns that aren’t too thin, small, or close together (think pinstripes). These can cause an odd visual effect in camera. Technically speaking, Adobe says – “Sometimes called moiré or a glitch, aliasing is a phenomenon where a digital camera has trouble translating an intricate pattern.”
When it comes to wearing white, I encourage choosing a warm white or an off-white, like ivory! Cool-toned/ pure whites are super reflective of any ambient light surrounding them (such as the grass or trees or sky – causing a color cast) and tend to photograph blue.
When you think you’ve found some promising options, try laying outfits out next to each other to see how they look altogether. I always welcome my clients to text me with any questions or photos of outfit options so I can help you decide. I am here and I am happy to help!