What To Wear To Your Photography Session

…And what NOT to wear.

The big question: What do I wear? This is always such a huge debate for every couple, family, or senior when they schedule a photography session. 

Because I capture real, raw, and authentic moments in our photography session, I want you to be completely comfortable in your outfits! Otherwise, you’re going to possibly look back and regret some of your outfit choices or not spending enough time to find the perfect dress or shirt. 

So I’ll lay it out plain as day.


The Do’s + Dont’s

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Let’s start with color.

Stick to neutral tones. 

This includes: creams, white, browns, greys, black, blues, and greens. 

Colors to avoid: ANYTHING neon! Stay away from bight colors such as red, fuchsia/pink, yellow, orange, and purple. 

If these are colors you love, no worries! Why don’t you wear muted or jewell tones of these colors such as maroon, rust, mustard, lavender, and blush.

 

The reason I tell my couples to avoid neon and bright colors when choosing an outfit is because these colors don't photograph well with skin tones. When the sunlight reflects off these colors of clothing, it reflects that color onto your skin. This is called color casting. Below is an example of this situation. Please note that neither of these images are edited. They were taken minutes apart from each other in the same location using natural sun light as my light source.

This is my cousin and her husband. I did their engagements when I first was really getting into weddings and couples. I didn't even think at the time to direct my couples on what to wear.

On the right you can see her neon orange shirt was reflected onto both of their faces from the sun behind them. On the left, you can tell there is very minimal color casting which can easily be freshened up in my editing process. They both brought 3 outfit changes so even though we had color casting from her shirt in some, they still had beautiful images to choose from.


Patterns + Textures

These are always fun and encouraged! Some photographers tell you no, but I don't know why! As long as you don't go too crazy, I think it's totally fine! Layering outfits creates more movement and dynamics in an image. You can also remove layers throughout the shoot to create a different look. 

If you opt to go with patterns in your wardrobe, I do suggest going with bigger patterns because they'll photograph better. So, big plaid patterns, stripes, polka dots, floral print, or what have you! Have one person in a pattern and the other in a solid. This will help you avoid getting too crazy or too matchy matchy.

 Moire pattern caused by the pinstripes in the shirt.

Moire pattern caused by the pinstripes in the shirt.

 

Why should you stay away from small prints? Because the sensor in a camera will have too much information input into it and your images can create a weird pattern called moire. It is EXTREMELY hard to remove this in the editing process. 

 

 


Choose something comfortable and flattering.

When looking for an outfit, I always tell me couples that they don't need to feel like they have to go buy something new. Look in your closet first. The outfits you already own express who you are. But, if you want to go show off something new in your session, by all means go shopping!

You don't have to get fancy. Carson and I recently did a session in jeans and t-shirts (and of course I wore my favorite shoes: my Chacos!) and I'm absolutely obsessed with our photos.

When looking for an outfit, make sure it is flattering and shows off your body type in a positive way. I am even guilty of this. I personally HATE my stomach area so I often find clothes that are more flowy and flattering to hide the areas on my body that I hate.

Vulnerable moment here.

So, let me tell you a story about the time I didn't listen to my own advice... 

Last summer, Carson and I had our first photo session together. We just bought our condo and celebrated our first anniversary together. I wanted cute photos for us to hang up in our new place and I spent FOREVER trying to find the perfect dress even though I already own a million dresses. I finally found one I thought would work, but it wasn't the most flattering. I kept telling myself the entire session to suck in, but I wasn't comfortable. If I had just stuck with my gut (pun intended) and worn one of the many dresses I already had in my closet and loved, I wouldn't have had to worry the entire session. 

Long story short, I love the images that came from that session with Carson, but I just wish I had worn a more flattering dress. If I had, I would love the images even more. Here are some of my favorites from the session that I enlarged and have hanging in our bedroom!


Shoe Choices

We just talked about being comfortable, and this goes for shoe choices too! I often tell my couples that you're going to run a 5K at our sessions, and believe me. I'm not lying. We will be walking a ton and I will probably even make you run! So, ladies, keep the stilettos at home.

Choose shoes that are clean and comfortable, but also match your outfit choice. 

Ladies: Sandals, boots, bootie heels with a low heel, or even cute tennis shoes are a great choice! Stay away from wedges and any heels over 3 inches. We don't want you twisting an ankle!

Men: Clean tennis shoes or dress shoes are great options. But hey, if sandals are your thing and they match your outfit, I won't stop you! Your fiance might, though. ;)


Hair, makeup, and other misc. 

Ladies. If you color treat your hair, make an appointment about a week before your session so you will look on point! I have had more than one bride ask me if I can Photoshop out her regrowth... I'm not Houdini, ladies. So, treat yourself and just make the hair appointment. Trust me! You will thank me later. 

I suggest doing your hair down or half back. Buns and ponytails are cute, but they don't always photograph well and can make you look bald from certain angles.

Ladies, when doing your makeup, don't go too crazy. Do it how you would normally do it, and then turn it up half a notch. For example, if you typically don't wear lipstick, maybe try a light, natural shade. Or if you don't do heavy eyeshadow, maybe go for a neutral toned smokey eye.

I suggest keeping the jewelry minimal. Try a watch and a simple necklace or a few bangles and a statement necklace. Do your best to take off any unwanted jewelry or hair ties on your wrists before our session. To all the men out their, take out your wallets, keys, and phones beforehand! You may not think the camera can see it, but the camera can see the outline of your iPhone. ;)

Also, Men. Take a shower and brush your hair. Maybe pluck your eyebrows. Just being honest here! haha ;) Your lady will thank you later!


This is probably a crap load of information and you may be slightly overwhelmed. But, long story short:

Choose a neutral color pallet of clothing, avoiding bright and neon colors.

Patterns and textures are great, but just don't get too crazy!

Choose shoes you can comfortable walk and even run in.

Most importantly: Choose an outfit you are comfortable in. And don't feel like you have to go shopping to find the perfect clothing choice for your session!

 

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