Tips & Tricks | Dressing for your portrait session!

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Tips: For Clients

This is one of the most common things my clients ask and for good reason too! Lets face it, you probably don’thave professional photos taken often and maybe this is a first for you. It’s okay to not know what to wear and I understand you want to look and feel your best… it’s super important that you do! Here’s why.

Whether this is your first time having portraits taken or you’re a seasoned pro the fact is, you’re going to cherish these photos for a lifetime! It’s incredibly important that you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed during your session and choosing what you wear has a surprisingly big impact on your final images and how you’ll feel about them later on down the track.

Remember, it’s my job as a professional photographer to guide you on the day, direct you into comfortable poses and choose the most flattering angles and light. All I need from you is a little preperation in what you’re wearing, then let me do the rest… 🙂

Here are my top tips on choosing what to wear to your portrait session.

Things to avoid.

1. Avoid the the “plain white shirts, blue jeans” look. I’m all about showcasing your personality and that won’t work if you’re all dressed the same!!

2. No all BLACK outfits. I know, this is hard trust me… 90% percent of my wardrobe is black. I only shoot outdoor sessions and colours always look better outside. Dark colours (like black) don’t photograph well and in large groups of people, it’s easy to become “lost” in a photo. So, colour colour colour! (it might feel a little strange to begin with, but trust me on this one!)

3. Slogans/writing on shirts and branded clothing. NO NO NO. No football jerseys or old surf tees. These are perfect for a backyard BBQ or the pub on a friday night, but not for your portrait photos! Writing, logos, text and brands distract from what we’re trying to capture.

4. Everyone wearing “busy” patterns and textures. You’ve heard the saying less is more (don’t you dare show up naked) and this definitely applies when dressing for your photo session. Example, if the guy is wearing a light coloured checkered shirt, ladies stick with co-ordinating colours and a simple outfit with NO patterns. OR, if you want to wear a pattern/floral, flowing skirt or dress have your man wear a light coloured shirt with no patterns.

5. Not dressing comfortably. If you’re not comfortable in your outfit, I can guarantee you it will show in your images. Wear something that makes you feel confident and fabulous! Yes this is an excuse to go shopping but dress for your body type! If you find yourself going back to your favourite jeans and dressy tee, then wear that. BUT BE COMFORTABLE!

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Things to embrace.

1. Neutral colours. YES! Nothing photographs more beautifully outdoors than natural colours. Keep the basis of your outfit simple, light coloured denim, creams, whites, browns and greys. Images with soft, natural colours and textures will always photograph more beautifully in the outdoors.

2. Colour coordination… NOT colour matching. (Yes, there’s a difference) As a rule of thumb, I like to tell my clients to pick ONE COLOUR that they’re attracted to and follow that as a guide. If you need some inspiration, I find Design Seeds to be handy. Adding blocks of colour to your outfit will make you and your personality pop in the images. Follow the rule of neutral colours for the basis of your outfit, then add onto it with pops of colour in jackets, cardigans, button down shirts for the guys, skirts and tees for little girls. (see the blue tie on the little boy below?)

3. Accessories and textures! Less is more, so maybe all you need is some pop of colour with a chunky necklace and bangles, high heels or scarf. Add texture in the form of lace shirts/dresses, chunky knit wear or a waist belt. Don’t forget to stick to your colour palette too.

4. Button down shirts for the guys! YES, nothing screams handsome more than a nice good quality, button down shirt. Roll the sleeves up for a more casual look and leave it un-tucked too. Be wary of heavy patterns and checkered colours that are too “busy”. This rule applies for both the dads and kids of the family too! Oh and don’t forget to iron your clothes!

5. Shoes… everyone forgets about the shoes. Wearing nice footwear can make or break your outfit. Heels are fun, but don’t wear a pair that you can’t walk in (wedges work well). If you’re going for a casual jeans and favourite tee, thongs or a nice pair of ballet flats are great. For the guys, you can’t beat a good pair of leather/suede dress shoes or a clean pair of Converse or Vans. If you’re a bit brave, bare foot photos on the grass, ALWAYS WORKS.

6. Follow the seasons. It should go without saying, but obviously if it’s the middle of winter, don’t dress in your favourite summer outfit. You’ll freeze and it won’t be fun. Same thing goes for summer. I generally like to shoot around sunset or sunrise so keep in mind if it’s a hot afternoon, don’t wear something that you’ll begin to overheat in, or sweat in easily. Yes, your sweat marks might show. Following the seasons also means embracing seasonal colours! Florals, whites and creams during Spring and browns and earthy colours throughout Autumn.

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Oh and the most important thing of all, is to just have fun!

Have these tips helped you? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think 🙂

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