Trying to choose your outfit/s for your portrait session is a little like trying to decide what to wear on a first date. Does this color look good on me? Does this make me look fat? What will that outfit say about me?! Don’t worry! It shouldn’t be that stressful! Here are some tips I’ve pulled together:
Be yourself — Start with your own personal style. Think about clothing styles you currently have and the stores where you normally shop. Wearing clothes you are comfortable in will ensure meaningful photographs that are true reflections of who you are as an individual. Me? I love sequins.
With that being said, what do you want your images to say about you? If you are in a conservative business, your headshots should look more professional and traditional. If you are in a more relaxed line of work, the sky (or your personality) is really the limit. If you are wanting to make a stunning statement, go for something you don’t normally wear. My parachute dress, for instance. You’re welcome to borrow that for your session!
Location, location, location — Consider the setting of where your session will take place. Will it be at the park, near water, your home, downtown? Imagine your setting and the types of colors that will be there. Since the setting will end up being the background of your photos, it has a big impact on your overall look. For example, if you plan to have the session at a garden, wearing floral outfits might not be the best idea because you would blend in and get lost in the busy background. Ideally, you want the background to complement you, but not match so much that you become the background.
Colors — A good rule of thumb is to pick one or two main colors that will complement your skin tone and be a cohesive bond with the location. If you get too colorful it could distract from your face. However, I am the first to say rules are meant to be broken, and if your favorite clothing is a myriad of colors, well, wear it. Being comfortable is more important! Also, consider the location of your session. Typically, pastels (think peach, mint, or lavender) go well with natural scenes. Primary colors such as blue, red, and yellow match modern locations like the city.
Solids & Prints — Our eyes are naturally drawn to patterns, so dressing in a print will stand out. Once again, if that is your personality, go for it! Otherwise, I would recommend sticking with one print on one piece of clothing. Playful prints such as stripes and polka dots look great, especially on kids. If this is a family session, dress the adults in complementary solids to balance the look. For families, I recommend one pattern, two at the max.
Layering — Wearing a business jacket or cardigan that can be removed for some of the images adds variety. A note about arms — many women aren’t crazy about their upper arms. I would recommend wearing something with sleeves at least to the elbow to camouflage that area. Depending on the season, consider layering your outfits with accessories such as headbands, rain boots, scarves, jackets, and hats. Accessories add variety to your images and can double as fun props!
Jewelry — for more conservative looks choose smaller, classic jewelry pieces. Statement necklaces are a great way to add visual interest to an image if it fits within your job boundaries.
Need help? I’m here! I’ve got Pinterest inspiration boards to share with you. I can also come to you and help you look through your closet. I’ve also got the number of a great personal stylist who can help you do a deep dive into your closet.