Frequently I am asked by my awesome clients "what should we wear for our portrait?" or "how should we prepare?". It's terrific to know my clients want their portraits to be fantastic, because so do I. Preparing and dressing for your portraits is really important. When it comes to deciding what to wear, the goal is to make "people" stand out, not the clothing. And, of course help them look their best! So here are some tips and suggestions:
- If there is something that makes you feel uncomfortable during the shoot, please let me know. For example any disabilities etc.
- If there are any shots that are a MUST have, please let me know ahead of time before the shoot
- If there are any ideas, on how you want your session to look, please send me examples prior to our session. For example some clients will send me example images of what they like, or pinterest boards. I can't promise anything but it will be important for me to know what you are wanting.
- I will always take multiple shots.
- Share your expectations and intentions. Let me know what kind of look you want
- Tell us how and where the photo will be used (so we can be sure it's appropriate)
- Drink lots of water and be well rested (so your eyes will not have dark circles)
- Arrive on time. Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes early (we may have other clients scheduled before you)
- Please call if you are running late or arrive early
- Keep jewelry extremely simple - small is better
- Avoid jewelry that would distract from your face or that looks dated
- The picture is about your face, not your jewelry
- Consider if facial piercings or multiple ear piercings are appropriate for where your photo will be displayed
What to Bring
- Various changes of clothing (see above)
- A good attitude
- Lip balm
- Hair brush/comb
Ladies Hair and Makeup Tips
- Make-up should be clean and natural
- Wear a heavy layer of translucent powder - your face will appear flawless in photos. Shine disappears, pores seem smaller, skin looks even, and blush is smoother
- Avoid shimmers or products with lots of sparkle or shine
- Avoid frosts or overly-bright colors
- Don't get a new hair cut just before the shoot (you may want to let it grow-in a bit or get used to styling a new cut)
- Do not try/use any new product on your hair, face or body the day before or few days before your shoot. In case you have a bad reaction to the product
Lips – any shiny lip gloss in a color like berries or browns, avoid frosts or glitters, avoid dark colors. Bring your lip gloss along for refreshing!
Face – a light application of non-SPF foundation helps smooth out the skin and cover any blemishes. The goal is for a matte finish, not a glow so avoid foundations with bronzer or shimmer or mineral makeup. Note: The reason to avoid foundations with SPF or shimmer is because it reflects light and will effect the exposure of the photo. If you can’t find a non-SPF foundation, then just go for the lowest SPF amount offered. Finally, brush a light translucent powder all over to cut down on shine.
Cheeks – light blush to add some color. Avoid bronzers or glittery blushes.
Eyes – brown eyeliner and a little waterproof mascara to bring out the lashes is fine. A soft brown always looks nice and compliments most eye colors. Avoid eye shadows with shimmer or glitter.
Eyebrows – trim or pluck if needed. A rogue hair can show! If waxing, be sure to do it a week prior to avoid having redness.
Manicure/Pedicure – It’s amazing the detail the camera can capture, so be sure to get a fresh manicure (if you wear nail polish)
Hair - If you're planning on having major changes done (dye, cuts etc) plan them at least 2 weeks prior if possible so new cuts or styles relax a bit.
Please Arrive With
- Hair styled and makeup already applied (if not using makeup artist)
What to Wear - Everyone
- 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)
- 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
What to Wear - Men
- The standard business look 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 it's 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
- Men Prep Tip – Be clean-shaven or beards and mustaches trimmed. For clean-shaven guys, you may think a little stubble won’t be seen on camera, but it totally shows in close-ups, so spend the extra time to shave and put on your “handsome”!
What to Wear - Women
Remember: Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Select something that makes you look and feel good.
- 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
Consider solid colors or faint patterns. Busy, loud patterns or logos tend to draw too much attention to the outfit and away from the face.
Try to avoid wearing all white or fluorescent colors since it can be distracting, throws off camera exposure and makes a person stand out from the others in the photo. (This is ok for a Bride, of course!) Wearing a vest or jacket over a white shirt helps break it up and is fine. Also, fluorescent colors can reflect on your face. So, unless you want to be bright orange, it’s best to stay away from fluorescents.
Choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light) Too much contrast is distracting to see faces.
Textures and layers always look nice. Knits, scarves and sweaters for the fall and winter outdoor portraits are great on camera!
Ladies – hide those bra straps! Wear a bra that hides well under your outfit. Consider wearing dresses or tops that cover your arms partially or fully. Bare arms tend to stand-out in a photo and can expose more skin than your face, thus drawing attention to your arms, not your beautiful face!
IRON your wardrobe please. I can’t stress this enough. Every detail will show up in your portraits, so be sure to iron out any wrinkles.
Turtlenecks hide the neck and can make a face appear wider or bigger, use sparingly.
Below are some color combination ideas (see bottom of the page), but feel free to come up with your own combination. Contact me if you have any questions and remember you can always email me photos of the outfits you’re considering if you need some help with selecting!
Feel free to bring multiple layers or different shirts etc. We can change it up and I can help advise.
What to wear guides
Choose approx 3-4 coordinating colors from a color palate.