Updated: Apr 12
Do you want to know the number one question I get asked as a photographer?
Yep. That's right. My clients here in Charleston, SC ask me what they should wear to a photo session. And I GET IT! It's hard to choose an outfit that will be immortalized forever!
My best friend - bless her - recently got engaged. And despite gentle prodding from her now fiance, she chose to wear pink leopard print pants and a puffy coat (it was very cold that day). I laughed at the sight of them, but when it came down to my own proposal (funny enough, just a week after hers), I regretted the outfit I wore. And I had a whole team of people telling me what I needed to wear. But I still chose wrong.
So I have three tips for you, my dear photographee.
Wear Something Flowy but Fitted
This advice is for you ladies. Us photographers LOVE a flowy outfit, something that will catch in the wind and make for a dramatic photo!
However, a flowy outfit needs to be strategic. You don't want to go out and buy a mumu (moomoo? I'm not sure how that's spelled). Regardless of what size you are, you will want your outfit to have a shape. Covering your shape completely will give the illusion that you are two or three times as large as you actually are. That advice goes for you fellas, as well! Give your body shape. And make sure your clothes actually fit you.
Avoid Big Patterns and Prints
Simple colors, and no patterns are going to work best in the camera. A lot of times, big prints or patterns will clash with the background. And on a rare occasion, they'll blend in! I love dynamic colors that are just
slightly muted. Think outside of the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and go with fun vibrant colors like orange or green, or even a more muted color palette like dusty rose or pale yellow.
If you're wearing an outfit (more than a one piece dress), choose one piece that's a neutral (think jeans, khakis, black pants, etc), and use the other piece to be a fun color.
Avoid Matchy Matchy
As Stacy London used to say on What Not to Wear, "It doesn't need to match, but it needs to go." The outfit(s) you choose for yourself and your significant other and/or family shouldn't be exactly the same. We all know those beautiful beach photos where the whole family is wearing a white button down and khaki pants (my mom and I have that photo, and I love it, but I'm also aware of how outdated it looks now). Those photos were very popular for a time, but now we want to see each person's individuality shine through the photo. So have coordinating outfits that aren't exactly the same. In addition to individuality, when everyone is wearing the exact same thing, the people tend to appear to turn into one multi-headed blob human. The lines of the clothes all blur together. And I try to avoid that. I like to see where one person stops and another begins.
I know I said three things, but I have a final bonus for you.
Be Yourself and Be Comfortable
If you're not a fashionista, don't try to be during your photo session. If you are, don't try to be casual! My goal as a photographer is to show you just as you are. So choose an outfit that is something you actually wear (or would wear)! And honestly - while I have the suggestions listed above - if you being you means you're wearing an oversized red polka dot mumu, then let's do it! We will make magic happen regardless of what you wear!
Ultimately, you want to be comfortable. If you're not comfortable, it will show in your photos.
So that's it. I'll see you behind the lens.