11 Tips for the Perfect Portrait Outfit

Hey ya’ll! One of the most frequently asked questions I get regarding any given photography session is “What should I wear???” So I decided to write up a post to help you pick the perfect outfit so that you know you are going to look great in all of your pictures! 


1)      Wear patterns and textures

Patterns will help make your images look more dynamic and interesting than just a plain shirt or top. However, don't go TOO crazy or bold because you can end up taking the attention away from you and onto your clothing. That's OK if you're on the Red Carpet, but generally something that's less desirable for portraits.  ;)

2)      Wear layers

Layers are AWESOME! Ok, maybe not for Randy in "A Christmas Story", but for the vast majority of others, wearing layers is great. That's especially true for portraits! Wearing a solid color under a flannel shirt or a denim jacket over a dress not only helps you look more relaxed and fashionable, but you can also wear different pieces or even take the jackets off to give completely different looks without the need for a full wardrobe change.

3)      Wear flowing fabrics

Another tip for a dynamic picture is to wear a fabric that moves. For example, a chiffon or a flowy dress that moves a lot with the breeze. Or for a bridal session, a long veil looks great in pictures, even if you aren't planning on wearing one on your wedding day.

4)      Coordinate, not match

I always like to tell people to coordinate, but stay away from matching. If everyone in the picture is wearing same shirt and/or color, it starts to look really flat and boring, much like those family portraits in the 90's. One idea is to pick 3 or 4 colors and everyone wear a different variation of them. This way you still have complimenting colors, but there is still some diversity to keep it from looking boring.

5)      Wear colors, not just black and white

Along the same line as #4, it's generally best to not wear black or white. Try wearing a darker blue instead of black or an off-white instead of pure white to create a little more contrast and interest to your outfit. Of course, all other colors in between are great as well and can really add more vibrance and "pop" to your portraits. However, it's usually best to stay away from neons and other overly bright colors as they tend to reflect that color everywhere, ending up your face, neck, and arms. No one looks good with a neon green face... 

6)      Wear your hair up with it’s windy

This seems simple, but you would be amazed at how many people don't think about the wind blowing their hair everywhere. My wife actually wore her hair down during our engagement pictures on a windy day and I remember how difficult it was to work with. So don't forget to take a couple minutes to check the weather where you going for the session. If it looks like it might be a little windy, go ahead and plan on pulling your hair up or pinning it up to the side. You images will look much cleaner if your hair isn't blowing everywhere.

7)      Wear your wedding makeup!

An engagement or bridal shoot is the perfect time to test your wedding makeup! If you are hiring someone to do your makeup on your wedding day, consider having them do your makeup for your engagement or bridal shoot as well. This not only allows them a chance to work with you to figure out what you like before your big day, it gives you peace of mind that your makeup will be looking phenomenal for your session as well!

8)      Wear heels if your man is tall

If your significant other is significantly taller, think about wearing heels for your session. This can help you not look quite so short next to him.

9)      Wear accessories/jewelry

Accessories and jewelry go very well with portraits! It adds a little extra shine and dimension to your images and can add an extra touch of interest. You can also add and take away different pieces throughout the shoot to change up your look.

10)   Wear confidence

The most important thing to wear is CONFIDENCE! Pick clothes that you think you look great in. And if you don't like a certain part of your body, DO NOT wear something that accentuates that part of you! For example, if you are self-conscious about the way your arms look, wear long or 3/4 sleeves instead of sleeveless. The idea is that what you are wearing should make you feel confident and relaxed, which is a perfect storm for photography greatness! :)

11)   No logos

It's best to stay away from logos when possible. Nike checks and Polo ponies can be distracting in photos so unless you are sponsored by them, it's best to stay away when possible. 


Additional Tips

Another thing to think about is outfit changes. Plan ahead of time if you are thinking about doing an outfit change during your session. If there isn't somewhere on location to change, you might be forced to change in your car.

Also, try to stay away from things that are TOO trendy. We want your images to be timeless, and there are some trends that you would probably regret in a couple years, so just keep that in mind if you tend to keep up with the latest fashions.