Your Portrait Session :: To Wear or Not to Wear

Choosing just the right outfit for your portrait session can be quite stressful.  You want to look awesome for your photos, and you want your clothes to both flatter you and say something about your personality.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your portrait session and help you alleviate some of that stress.

1. Step it up a notch, but be comfortable

Think about your style.  What do you wear on a daily basis that makes you feel like you?  For a portrait session, I would amp it up just a notch or two.

Choose items that are a little bit dressier, fancier, or funkier than you wear everyday, but not too far out of your comfort zone.  You want to look awesome, but you still want to look like you.

Also, make sure that you are comfortable in your clothes.  When you are uncomfortable, you get all squirmy and figity, and that can show up in your photos.

That means that the clothes need to fit you well.  Watch out for clothes that are too tight.  Here’s a quick rule of thumb:  If you are constantly tugging on your cloths or readjusting them, it doesn’t fit well.  (And then use that as an excuse to do some more shopping!)

Not sure if it fits?  Ask somebody!  Grab your best friend, your husband, or the lady at the clothing store, and make them tell you the truth!

2. Bring 3 to 5 outfits with you (including accessories!)

It is good to have more outfits with you than you need for a portrait session.  Depending on the amount of time you have scheduled with the photographer, you will probably wear one to three outfits.  You want to have a few backups with you, as well.

Why bring the backups?

Ever spill coffee on yourself on the way to work?  Every snag your sweater as your trying to unbuckle your two-year-old from the car seat?  Ever regret the outfit you chose as soon as you arrive at the party?

This is why you need a few extras.  Being a little over prepared could save you a lot of grief in the long run or just make you feel more confident about your styling choices.

And… DON’T forget accessories!

Accessories can really take your outfits from normal to fantastic.  You certainly don’t need (or want) a thousand accessories for each outfit, but run through the checklist and make sure you have at least one killer accessory per outfit: shoes, hat, necklace, earrings, bracelet, rings, scarf, belt, hair clip, hair band…

3. Be mindful of what is flattering and what is distracting

We want to draw attention to your face and minimize any problem areas that you might have.  Covering more skin and wearing darker colors can help with this.  Do you have to wear this for your session?  Of course not!  I’m all for rockin’ prints and bold colors, but you might want to keep it in mind.

Avoid clothing that shows off tan lines or is unintentionally see through.  Tan lines or visible bra straps just ain’t classy!

Be cautious of bright white shirts.  Your eye is attracted to the lightest and brightest part of the photograph.  If you wear white, this will be your shirt.  Which means the main focus will not be your face!


Hopefully, this will help you plan your clothing for your portrait session.  Remember to have fun with your clothes, and remember that your photographer can often help you with styling questions!  Just ask!!!

If you have some questions or other great tips, post something below.  I would love to hear your tried and true tips for choosing the perfect outfit!  🙂

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