Tips on what to wear: Portrait Edition

Preparing what to wear for your portrait session can be complicated. I am here to help you and make it seem as easy as possible. You need to know what the reason for your portrait session is before you decide what to wear. I wanted to break this down into two categories: Professional and non-professional portrait sessions. This should help clear up any confusion. You can read both if you please, but you can also just jump to the section you specifically need.

General Tips

  • Keep clothing simple. Try to choose solid colors for your photo session.
  • Our photographer may suggest a full-length pose. Make sure you coordinate your family's clothing from head to toe.
  • Darker clothing slims. 
  • Scoops or v-necks flatter shorter necks and full faces. 
  • Keep clothing consistent.

Professional Portrait Session Tips

  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you look great
  • Make sure your jacket and shirt fit you well. A poor fitting jacket or shirt will be obvious in the photos (especially around the neck)
  • Don't overdress
  • Turtlenecks are almost always a bad idea (since they crowd the face)
  • Clothes should be neatly pressed and should look new or like new
  • Avoid busy patterns and large lines/stripes
  • Blue/green/turquoise shirts/blouses or accents can help emphasize blue/green/hazel eyes
  • The standard business look for men is a suit jacket, dress shirt, and tie
  • A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie (no jacket), or dress shirt on its own
  • Polo shirts are a good look for some businesses. Be sure the shirt is in good condition and fits well
  • For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts - ideally darker than your skin tone
  • A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea - unless you plan to wear it underneath something (jacket or sweater)
  • Bring a few different jackets, shirt colors and ties so we have choices for the photo
  • Avoid big prints and busy patterns
  • Different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety different shirts/blouses to see what works best
  • For a no-jacket casual look, bring various colored blouses - ideally darker than your skin tone
  • Be stylish and fashionable, but remember the picture is about your face and not your clothes or jewelry
  • Sleeveless tops/dresses can draw attention to your shoulders/arms. Consider bringing items with a variety of different sleeves

(From: Headshots by Steven Noreyko)

Non-Professional Portrait Session Tips

  • wear solid colored clothing
  • choose muted tones that are a bit subdued
  • choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
  • choose 1-3 colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that color palette. For example dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denim – all lighter, softer tones.
  • choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
  • choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
  • choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
  • keep jewelry simple and minimalistic
  • do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes (I’ll explain later)
  • if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session

(From: Clothing for Portraits – How to Tell your Subjects What to Wear)

Choosing what to wear can seem complicated, but hopefully these tips will help you out!