What to Wear - A Guide

I know it can feel a bit overwhelming to pick what to wear for photos, so I wanted to give you a quick rundown of some things to consider that will help you look and feel confident so that you can relax into the experience, have fun, and have the focus be on you and not on what you're wearing. A little disclaimer: I don't claim to be any sort of fashionista. I've been living out of a single suitcase for the past 3 years! This is just my two cents on what I've seen work best in past shoots - It's nothing about fashion or preferences. It's about tones, comfort and what makes a good photo.

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The most important part of all of this is that you feel like yourself. A lot of people get excited and go shopping for new clothes for the shoot. While brand new clothes can definitely bring out your confidence sometimes, I want to also make sure you wear things that you know you're going to be comfortable in. I know for certain shoots, some of you will be wearing special occasion dresses and such... If that's the case, then of course you'll be wearing things you don't wear on a day to day basis... but for casual shoots I really recommend you wear your most comfortable, most favorite clothes you already have. Your best bet isn't going to be a brand new pair of jeans you've never worn and don't know the little quirks of, or an ironed, starched collared shirt. Stiff clothes make for stiff photos. Your best bet is the pair of jeans you've had for 10 years and your favorite comfy sweater (for example, weather permitting). We want you wearing those trusty pieces you just know will work and don't have to think about adjusting when you sit down or stand up. I want you to feel so comfortable that you have to put exactly zero energy into thinking about how your clothes are fitting you. So go ahead and get some new stuff if you want to. I totally support whatever you want to do... but be sure to bring some clothes you normally wear, just in case. 

Now on to some specific tips...

Some tips!

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Bring some options. To get the best results, bring about 4 or 5 outfits and then I can help you pick and choose depending on the location we're shooting in and what complements the environment. Jackets, jewelry, hats, and those kinds of accessories are also great to bring. Just don't bring your whole wardrobe. We want to spend as little time as possible picking out outfits so we don't eat into our session time too much.

Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals! I recommend sticking with neutrals for casual portraits. When I say neutrals, I’m not just talking about grays, browns, black or whites, though. There are neutrals for every color. Forest green is a neutral of green. Mustard is a neutral of yellow. Navy is a neutral of blue. Burgundy is a neutral of red. Plum is a neutral of purple. Denim is a neutral of everything (I kid, but truly… denim is fine pretty much no matter what. Denim gets a free pass)

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For the most part, we want to keep colors a bit muted so that they don’t distract. Unless, of course, we want the color to capture the viewer’s attention. Gem colors are great for creating visual drama, for example. Picture a sapphire dress in the desert or a garnet dress set against a landscape of blue and green tones. Gem colors can be stunning.

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I'd just encourage you away from bright or fluorescent colors for most types of shoots. Bright reds, oranges, and pinks tend to reflect on faces and make them pinkish which really is not a good look for anyone. Bright blues and greens can have a greening effect on skin which is also not flattering. Obviously there are ALWAYS exceptions to every rule. These colors can work beautifully when used to contrast against a stunning landscape like in this photo to the right. I was so glad she was wearing red that day.

A word about patterns. Patterns can be tricky. For example, I love flannel. Go ahead with the flannel! But big stripes or chunky patterns can get distracting. I love florals for photos, but not all florals. The smaller the pattern, the better. We want to feature you, not the pattern on your clothes.

A word about movement. Anything blowing in the wind will add energy to our photos. Dresses, loose sleeves, shawls, hair... all these things love to blow in the wind and that is wonderful!  I also just recommend wearing clothes that are broken in so that YOU can move. I may have you sitting down, then standing up, then running around a bit. Keep all of this in mind when choosing your outfits. You don't want to have to constantly adjust tight clothes. You'll be much more comfortable and natural if you wear clothes that allow you to move freely.

No makeup!

No makeup!

For the ladies! A lot of people ask me if they should get hair and makeup professionally done prior to their shoot. My answer is that is totally up to you. Whatever makes you feel best. I don't think getting your hair and makeup done is necessary but it really depends on the look you want to come through in your photos. In post-processing of the photos, I will even out skin tones and accentuate what needs accentuating. Most people will be happier with photos where they look natural than with photos of a glammed up version of themselves. Unless you're a person whose status quo is glam, in which case you might be a lot happier in full-face and a salon blowout. You do you! My bottom-line advice is don't do anything too different than what you'd normally feel comfortable in.

Odds and ends.

  • I strongly recommend ironing your stuff and hanging it on the way over. I've shot people who traveled to meet me for our shoot and their shirts still had the fold lines from being packed in their suitcases. Once you notice it in the photos, you can't un-notice it. It's all you see.

  • Don't worry too much about blemishes, I will edit noticeable ones out in post processing.

  • Feel free to share Pinterest board or Instagram posts with me so that I can get a taste of your style and what's inspiring you to do this shoot. And if you want some inspiration from me, all you have to do is ask. I'd love to collaborate on a vision.

Well that's about it! 

If you still want some more guidance all you have to do is ask! I'm happy to provide feedback on your ideas or clarify anything I've already mentioned here. Don't hesitate to reach out.