March 21, 2023

What to Wear to Your Portrait Session

Posted in: Portraits, Preparing for Your Session

Deciding what to wear for your portrait session can be sooo stressful, am I right? And if you’re doing couples portraits, you ladies quite often have to choose your significant other’s clothes as well, so now you have to deal with two closets! That is why every session with me includes a planning call where we talk about outfits for everyone who will be in front of the camera (including your ponies and pooches!). Here are my go-to tips for choosing your outfits:

1. Choose something comfortable

If you’re uncomfortable, it will show. Genuine smiles come out when you’re not worried about what you’re wearing, you’re just enjoying the moment! So wear that comfy sweater and the jeans that fit like a glove! Skip the heels if they make your feet hurt (or break them in ahead of time if you want to wear them). Feel like you can’t move in those pants, even if they look great? Skip them. You’ll be much happier if you can move. I don’t like to put my clients in stiff poses, a lot of my portraits come from posing prompts that involve movement; I just capture as it’s happening, so make sure you can move comfortably!

2. Choose something weather appropriate

This goes right along with choosing something comfortable. If you’re cold (or sweating), or your shoes are hurting your feet, the fact that you’re uncomfortable will show as the session goes on. I know how much you may want to wear that dress, but if the session will be outside and it’s 20 degrees with two feet of snow, make sure you have a coat and some boots to go with it! Layering is a great way to make sure you’ll be comfortable. If you really want to wear a dress and some heels, but it’s cold out, we’ll do those portraits first while you’re still warm. Then you can throw on a coat and some boots and we’ll do some more. This way you get the portraits you want, variety in your portraits without even bringing along a second outfit, AND you can still be warm.

My husband and I got married in early May in western NY. If you know western NY, you know the spring weather can be anything but predictable (we’re talking lake effect snow right at the end of April, then 60 degrees the next day). I had a dress with thin straps, and it ended up being about 50 degrees with a chance of rain on our wedding day. Thankfully, I had asked my grandmother to crochet me a shawl in anticipation of this. Having something warm to throw on after the first round of portraits made ALL the difference.

3. Choose something that shows you off!

These portraits are of YOU, the last thing you want is for your clothes to be a distraction. My general rule is to stay away from any clothing with words/letters on it. Between our phones, advertisements, street signs, and more, we are reading all the time; because of this, the eye is drawn to words first.

Solid colors and/or small/light patterns are usually best. Big, bright, busy patterns can be quite distracting and aren’t usually flattering (unless that’s your style!). Some exceptions can be made to this “rule”:

  • Branding headshots – depending on your business, you might have a polo shirt or jacket with your business name/logo on it that you’ll want to show off, and this is exactly where you should!
  • Senior sessions – senior sessions are the perfect time to capture where you’ve come from with an FFA, 4H, or letterman jacket; and where you’re going with a t-shirt or sweatshirt from the college/trade school you’ll be attending.
  • Special t-shirts – if you (and your significant other) want to use t-shirts to commemorate or announce something special through your portraits, absolutely wear them!

4. Choose something that feels like YOU

These portraits are of you, after all! These are all just guidelines to help you out, not hard and fast rules. The whole goal is to have you feeling prepared and comfortable when it comes to your session, not frazzled and self-conscious.

So, there you have it! My 4 easy tips for finding the perfect outfit for your portrait session. When you book a session, we talk about how you want to look and feel, go through options from your closet, and talk about prep to make sure you look exactly as you imagined. Ready to book your dream session? Let’s chat!

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Equestrians | Couples | Graphic Design