People are always asking me what they should wear for a portrait session, and the number one thing I tell people is to wear what looks good on you. Clearly, the type of session you are planning to schedule, the location, and weather play a big factor when selecting outfits. Below are some general guidelines:
- Stay away from clothing that is trendy, because it will look dated in a couple years.
- Stay away from clothing that wrinkles easily, is ragged or ill-fitting.
- A lot of photographers will tell you should stay away from patterns, but I personally haven’t found them to be a big problem.
- But I would advise you to stay away from logos.
- You want to select clothing that complements your attributes and hides your flaws. If you don’t like your arms wear long sleeves.
- If you’re planning to do a session that includes multiple people you want to consider what they will be wearing as well.
- I tell people to match but not all wear the same exact outfit. It used to be for family portraits everybody would wear a white T-shirt and blue jeans, it was easy and simple, but now looks dated.
- You want everyone to look like they’re going to the same event, meaning one person shouldn’t be dressed for a cocktail party while the other people are dressed for the beach.
- You also want to dress for the same season, so if somebody is going to wear warm clothing everyone should wear warm clothing.
- As far as colors I tell people to try to stay within the same color family, meaning if one person is wearing royal blue the other person isn’t clashing by wearing lime green. You want everyone to incorporate the same color palette you’ve picked out whether that be all fall colors or pastels. I’ve even had people tell everyone to wear sunset colors.
- After you selected the clothing lay everything out side-by-side to see if it goes together, you might also want to consider doing a dress rehearsal.
- I can’t recommend this for obvious reasons but I find that many of my clients will buy and return clothing just for the photo shoot.
- If you’re still having problems coming up with ideas look online for inspiration.
- My favorite example of a group photo where everyone’s matching but not matching is the old Tommy Hilfiger advertisements, I’ve actually attached a few below.
When it comes to a headshot session you really want to consider what you are planning to use the photos for. If you’re planning to use the head shots in a professional manner you want to dress professionally. I find many people are opting two dress a little more casual for head shot sessions because they want to promote a lifestyle and seem more approachable. When it comes to headshots I find the simpler the better. You definitely want to stay away from clothing that is distracting, whether that be patterns, bold colors or ruffles. Many times I will match the background with what you’re wearing just because I find that my subjects face will stand out more in the photograph. You also want to consider the cropping when selecting your clothing, some clothing does not look good cropped. I suggest for headshot sessions is to bring options lots of options. Many times people will show up with three shirts and none of them will be appropriate to take photos in.
The Photographs Below are great examples of wardrobe for group photos. These are examples from the Tommy Hilfiger advertisements. I did not photograph these.