plan ahead. don’t wait until the night before your session to start planning your outfits. give yourself plenty of time to plan and shop, so that you aren’t stressing at the last minute. need some inspiration, visit my portrait styling board.
decide on a color palette. ask yourself, where are you going to hang your portraits? if your going to hang your portraits in your black + red family room, then you won’t want to wear orange + brown, it won’t work well. if your room is neutral, like mine, you may want colors that pop.
design seeds is a site full of fabulous eye candy. the artist finds beautiful images, and pics a color palette out of those images that you might not otherwise notice. It can be applied to home decor or clothing, i use it when picking out color schemes for portraits. you can even search by theme (winter, spring, vintage, nature, etc). It helps your eye to see color patterns that go together. I’ve pinned many of my favorites here.
be comfortable. wear clothing that you are comfortable in, something that you would actually wear. for example, if you don’t wear ties, don’t wear a tie, if you feel uncomfortable, you’ll look uncomfortable. wearing an outfit you’re comfortable in will only accentuate your style and personality.
want to wear heels for your beach photo shoot? swap them for flip flops, which will help you look more natural and relaxed. if a strapless dress is in your “maybe” pile, think about whether or not you’ll feel confident or will constantly be adjusting your dress.
the better you feel in your clothes, the better you’ll look in front of the camera, so don’t overthink it.
select one focal piece. maybe a floral dress or plaid shirt has been the inspiration for your color palette, if so you’ll only want one focal piece. I’d suggest this focus piece to be on one of the children (not an adult).
pick 3. it’s a good idea to pick 3 colors to work with as your main colors, then consider grays, whites, blacks or browns. Not necessarily all of them together, but one or two that work with the 3 colors you chose.
layers. cardigan, necklace, headband, scarf, button up shirt, tights, hats, ties. Layers & accessories add dimension, pizazz, fun, texture and therefore richness to the overall look. often, less is more, one or two layers is perfect, for example you wouldn’t want to wear a headband, scarf and vest, on the other hand a coordinating hair bow and a cardigan would work well, not necessarily the same color though. which brings me to my next suggestion.
split the colors up. lets say you’ve selected your 3 main colors. you don’t want all the colors on top or bottom, split them up using shirts, skirts, shoes, etc.
split up the pairs. you’ll have natural pairs in a family, mom and dad, brother and sister, mom and baby. as a mom you may be holding the baby in a photo, so you won’t want to be wearing the same color.
relax. take a deep breathe. we’re going to have fun no matter what!
express your style. your clothing should represent the ‘real’ you. clothes that express your style + personality. what do you feel good in? what do you look good in? what are you comfortable in?
colors. wear colors that compliment your skin tone and hair color. don’t experiment with new colors on the day of your portraits, wear colors that you know look good on you. think about the environment we’re going to be photographing you in. for example, if we’re doing fall colors, don’t wear pink, that’s not a color you’d see in fall, and your clothing will clash with the colors in the background. for urban portraits, just about anything works, because we’ll find the right place that works with your clothing rather than the other way around.
wrinkles. please be sure you’ve cleaned and pressed your clothing, in other words, please don’t bring clothing you just scooped up off the floor right before your portraits.
girls, girls, girls. you’ll need to wear the appropriate bra for your outfits, bra straps are extremely distracting in a photo. if your going to wear a dress or skirt, please wear something underneath, spanx, spandex, etc. this will avoid any embarrassment when positioning for poses. it may be helpful to wear a cami to make outfit changes easy outdoors or in the car.
props n things. if you play a team sport you may want to bring your jersey and a football, or basketball, or soccer ball, etc.
the dos. do get a manicure and/or pedicure, do wax or thread brows/face 48 hours prior to your scheduled photo session to minimize skin irritation.
the dont’s. don’t get a spray tan, don’t try out a new hair cut the day before. guys, don’t shave within 4 hours of your scheduled photo session to avoid skin irritation.
…and last but not least, don’t forget that you’re amazing!
compliment each other. don’t wear matching outfits. wear colors that complement each other and pieces that have common shades.
colors. wear colors that compliment your skin tone and hair color. don’t experiment with new colors on the day of your portraits, wear colors that you know look good on you. think about the environment we’re going to be photographing you in. for example, if we’re doing fall colors, don’t wear pink, that’s not a color you’d see in fall, and your clothing will clash with the colors in the background.
dress on the same scale. you should both look like you’re headed to the same place. be sure your fiance isn’t wearing his favorite Nike tee with shorts and sandals, while you’re wearing Jimmy Choos, dressed to the nines . wear clothes that are on the same level of dressiness or casualness.
play off location. consider the surroundings when choosing colors. if your photos are in a park, a green dress might camouflage you with the grass and trees. a complimentary color, like a red dress, would pop against the green if you want to stand out. for a more subdued look, try a cool color like a blue. if you’re going to be shooting in a wheat field, try a casual sun dress or shirt and jeans.
prints. solids. texture. don’t fear wearing a print. i recommend having your partner wear a solid color to even things out a bit. patterns and prints will show off your figure, while hiding any parts you might not want to accentuate. color-blocking breaks things up, and by adding textures or prints, it will only add interest to the outfit. i don’t recommend wearing logos or fabrics that will distract from your lovely faces. the photos should showcase you both as a couple, not your favorite clothing brand or sports team.
layers. clothes often photograph better when they are layered, so consider adding a cardigan, blazer, or jacket to finish your look.
style. for business head shots wear the type of clothing you would wear on a typical work day. for theatrical, modeling, etc. wear the style of clothing you would wear to an audition.
color. wear colors that compliment your skin tone, hair and eye color. don’t experiment with new colors on the day of your portraits, wear colors that you know look good on you. avoid white, bright colors, busy patterns, big buttons or other features that will distract from your face. solid colors and fine textures work well.
shirts. sleeves. be mindful of the neckline shape and size, as well as the type of collar and sleeve. chances are the photo will be cropped in tight, and some sleeves and collars will look odd cropped. you may want to bring a variety of necklines to the shoot. ladies, wear a nude color bra and be sure the straps match your shirts neckline.
the fit. wear clothing that fits well, avoid baggy clothing, it will make you look boxy.
layering. for men, layering is wonderful, a blazer and collar shirt, for example, or a t-shirt and light fall jacket. also, thermals, crew necks and v-necks are fantastic. for women, layering can work as well, but it’s usually a good idea to keep it simple. sheer material is very nice, and spaghetti strap tank tops, scoop necks and v-necks are wonderful.
..think simplicity, yet stylish.