What to Wear

What to wear tips for everyone

Wear similar tones of clothing Think in black and white tones; if everyone wears dark blue and one person wears white, the eye will be drawn to the person wearing white. If there’s a reason that one person should stand out, then do it. If not, change your color selections. Also if family members have dark hair and are sitting in front of someone with dark cloths your portrait will lack contrast. Think of how the family members will be sitting in the portrait.

Denim in any color for pants and jackets works well. Its classic, it’s informal and it comes in lots of great colors from blues to white. It never goes out of style. Groom your hands and nails; they usually end up in some pictures. Never assume a portrait is going to be from the waist up, it might be however you can miss out of some great posing by limiting my creativity.

Avoid patterns, logos, branding, and busy designs. Stripes, plaids, checks and busy patterns like paisley all tend to be distracting. Caveat – if your personality demands that you break these rules, then by all means, wear plaid with stripes in multi colors.

Avoid anything shiny or reflective. Shiny objects like belt buckles, bold jewelry and reflective watches often catch the lighting and we end up not getting the image anyway. If it is a family heirloom or something important tell me so that I can make sure I get the shot without the reflection.

Unless your watch has a story, it’s best to take it off during your portrait session. In fact, it’s best to take it off well before you arrive so the marks on your wrist have a chance to fade.

Classic jewelry, like pearls, is always elegant make a great choice.

Beware the color red it attracts attention! If you want to stand out on purpose, wear red.

If you choose red for everybody, its best if the reds match…

White makes for a summery, informal family portrait. White always works for family portraits, no matter what time of the year it is. It shows a nice contrast if you have a desire for black and white photography.

Neutral tones allow you to focus on the faces and not get distracted by the cloths.

Portrait Tips for Women

Wear long sleeves, or at least three-quarter length sleeves.

Choose v-necks, square-necks and turtlenecks.

Avoid cowl necks and other floppy necklines.
Avoid button downs and crew-necks unless you have a very long neck.

Classic jewelry, like pearls, always makes a great choice.

Blouses with collars that open and lie flat look great over a jacket.

Layers look great. A single-breasted jacket over a tight-fit, square-neck top looks fabulous.

Fitted tops always look better than loose-fitting clothing.

No matter what you choose, make sure you can cross your arms comfortably without the shoulders riding up.

This v-neck is flattering for any neck shape.

The zippered jacket is both casual and informal and sets a very different tone from a single-breasted suit jacket.

Groom your hands and nails trimmed and clean. If nail polish is chipped redo it before the shoot. If you bite your nails remind me so that I do not pose you with a close up of your hand. (I am not that retarded most of the time but I have be known to slip! LOL

Try not to get a sunburn the day before your photo shoot! (Can we talk! Can’t tell you how many have come in the day after a day at the beach)

Have lip stick and makeup with you to touch up just before the portrait shoot.

Dark color choice is professional, neat and forces you to look at the face.

Portrait Tips for Men

The more formal the portrait, the darker your colors must be.

You can get away with light colors for an informal portrait or location shots in the summer on the beach.

Turtlenecks look great, especially under jackets.

Do not wear a jacket that is much lighter than what you’re wearing underneath it.

Crew-necks sweaters or layers work fine on men.

Don’t be afraid to wear white t-shirts under button-down shirts. This is a classic look suitable for headshots.

Portrait Tips for Children

Dress kids in similar tones.

Even though kids may be attached to their superhero t-shirts, let them wear them to the portrait session, just not during it!

Kids can get away with brighter colors and patterns, but avoid logos and branding.

Even though kids love their cartoon t-shirts, they look dated quickly and are too informal even for casual portraits. 

Super hero, cartoon t-shirts and logos make great back yard snap shots but not so good for multi generational portraits!

Bright, summery colors are fine as are light-hearted props like fairy wings and magic wands.

Watch out for the unintentional props. If you can part with string bracelets that are tied on, it’s always best unless the kids made them and you want to capture the moment in a timeless portrait.

Think GAP Kids ad! Classic, timeless kids clothing.

Print this out and review the day before the  Portrait shoot.