What Not to Wear: Photoshoot Edition

So, you’ve booked a photo session, maybe your first one in years, and now it’s time to pick out what you’re going to wear.

It’s one of the things my families and couples ask me about the most. It can be one of the most stressful parts of preparing for you shoot, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ve put together a handful of tips to help you decide on your wardrobe and what not to wear to your upcoming photoshoot.

  • Avoid neon or overly bright colors: Now this doesn’t mean you can’t dress in color or have vibrant, fun clothing on that shows off your personality. What your photographer is asking is that you don’t come in highlighter yellow or hot pink because it reflects that color onto your faces and the people around you, which can be distracting and date your photos. Instead try deep, rich tones in colors that suit one another to show off your personal style to keep the colors on your clothes and off your face.
  • Leave the logos: This another no when it comes to dating your photos. If you’re hoping to hang your photos or use them in a holiday card, it’s best that you leave your favorite football team’s t-shirt or that sweatshirt with your go-to brand’s logo blown up on the front at home. These are photos you’ll want to hold onto for years and years, so it’s important to choose clothing items that will stand the test of time.
  • Avoid too many patterns: Don’t get me wrong, I love a fun pattern, but too many patterns or too many people in patterns (even if they’re the same!) become busy and distracting in photos. Things like plaid, gingham, polka dots and florals can be beautiful in photographs, but my advice is to stick with one person, in a single pattern if you’re going for it. There are always exceptions to the rules though, so if you want your husband in pinstripes and your little girl in a sweet plaid dress, use your best judgment. If you put them together and it doesn’t feel too busy, go for it! But I recommend airing on the side of caution or reaching out to your photographer for their opinion if you’re not sure.
  • Don’t be too matchy-matchy: Unless you’re dead set on matching up your kiddos or you and your partner, I recommend coordinating your outfits as opposed to matching completely. Pick one or two colors that work well together, like navy and mustard or dark green and maroon, and have everyone in your family dress in one of those colors. You’ll look put together but not matchy-matchy and your photos will look timeless and well thought out.
  • No two people in exactly the same color: I completely understand wanting to have a well-coordinated photoshoot, but when you dress your little ones or your significant other in the exact same colored shirt, like black for example, you start to blend together. By simply adjusting one of your tops to a slightly different shade of the same color, you’ll still look put together and coordinated, but you’ll be able to see whose arm belongs to who!
  • Beware of super short dresses or skirts: Ladies (and gentlemen if you’re into that sort of a thing), the only reason I bring this point up is that it severely limits our options for posing with your and your loved ones. If you’re set on wearing a really great dress that you cant comfortably sit down in without showing off just a little too much, just know that you’ll likely be limited to standing poses in your session. If that’s okay with you, it’s fine with me (and hopefully your photographer!) but it’s good to be aware of that limitation.
  • Save the sweats for your couch: I always ask my clients to dress like themselves and be comfortable, but there is a line, people. I understand that your favorite pair of sweatpants and hoodie from your college days might be the most comfortable you get, we want your photos to be presentable and something you’re proud to hang in your living room. So please ditch the hoodies, sweats and yoga pants for an hour and two and put on some jeans and a shirt you grandmother would approve of for your session.

While these are the general guidelines I like to give my clients, they are far from hard and fast rules. What works for one family or couple, won’t accurately represent another, so wear what feels right for you. But if you’re feeling stressed about dressing for your next photoshoot, I hope these seven little rules for what not to wear help you breathe a little easier and look forward to your session!

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