Photography Tips and Tricks

April 30, 2020

What to Wear to Your Portrait Session

By far, the question my clients ask the most is, “What should we wear to our session?” Friends, I get it. We had our portraits taken last summer and it was a challenge finding the perfect look! As portrait session approaches, today I wanted to share some tips on what to wear to your portrait session!

Coordinate, Don’t Match

This is my biggest rule of thumb when giving wardrobe advice! Yes, you want your group to look cohesive, but you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a uniform. I know it’s tempting to have everyone wear a white top and jeans, but please, resist the urge! Instead, pick one neutral base and then add on one or two accent colors. I love starting with a blue, white, or khaki base and going from there!

Some color combinations I love are:

  • Shades of blue, white, blush pink
  • White with pastels (mint green, pinks, blues)
  • Khaki, forest greens, and cranberry red (lovely in the fall!)
  • Navy blue, white, and mustard yellow
  • Assorted neutrals (shades of beige, tans, olive green, and creams)
What to wear to your portrait session, Samantha Ludlow Photography, Syracuse photographer, Syracuse family photographer, Syracuse wedding photographer

Play Around with Patterns and Texture

Once you’ve chosen a color scheme, you can start building interest by choosing different textures and patterns. You can do this by adding a variety of fabrics or layers to your outfits. This creates so much interest in your images, allows each individual to stand out, and keeps the image from looking flat!

For example, for our family portraits I chose the colors white, blue, and grey for our outfits. To start, I chose a lacy, solid blue dress for myself and a simple grey suit for Caleb. I then added some interest by choosing a blue patterned dress for Elizabeth, and a blue dress with a white smock for Abigail. This kept us from all blending into each other in the photos and added some dimension to the images.

Some of my favorite patterns are:

  • floral
  • plaid
  • pinstripe or seersucker

Pro tip: If you have three or more colors you’re trying to coordinate, just one patterned piece can help tie them all together!

Here are some great examples of texture:

  • Long, flowy skirts or dresses
  • Tulle skirts
  • Crochet, eyelet, or knit accents
  • Layering jackets or sweaters over a button-down shirt
What to wear to your portrait session, Samantha Ludlow Photography, Syracuse photographer, Syracuse family photographer, Syracuse wedding photographer

Get Fancy

Whether we’re doing your session in a field or downtown, there’s no such thing as being too dressed up! Formal wear adds a tailored, classy look to your images that casual clothes will not.

Some general rules of thumb:

  • Avoid jeans if possible. If you do choose to wear jeans, pick a “dressy” pair in a dark wash.
  • Avoid sneakers. Sandals, heels, flats, loafers, dress shoes are all better options!
  • Avoid graphic tees or anything with words. Chances are they won’t photograph well and the might look sloppy.
  • Make sure it’s comfortable. The biggest reason people avoid dressing up is that it’s uncomfortable. Choose pieces that fit you well (or get them tailored) and that you can move in!

I know that it might feel foolish to be wearing a suit in the middle of a wheat field, but trust me – the photos will be amazing!

What to wear to your portrait session, Samantha Ludlow Photography, Syracuse photographer, Syracuse family photographer, Syracuse wedding photographer

Don’t Break the Bank

My final tip on choosing what to wear to your portrait session is to utilize what you already own! I know how tempting it is to go out and buy a new outfit for each session, but is that really realistic? Depending on your family size and how often you want photos done, probably not! While you might have to buy one or two items, chances are you already have most of the ingredients you need right in your own closet! Do some digging and you might even rediscover some pieces you’d forgotten about!

What to wear to your portrait session, Samantha Ludlow Photography, Syracuse photographer, Syracuse family photographer, Syracuse wedding photographer

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