what to wear
As a photographer, I get asked "what should we wear?" Dressing yourself in the morning is hard enough when you don't have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. Choosing what to wear for a photoshoot can be an intimidating task! So if your nerves start to fizz when you think about what to wear, don't worry! This is so normal! The most important thing to do is wear something that is comfortable and that is you.
It's not uncommon for people to want to shop for new, fabulous clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And thats totally fine! But what about comfort? Do you think you'd be more comfortable in jeans and your favorite shirt then a cliingy little black dress? Then rock your outfit! If you have something tried and true that hugs in all the right places, don't feel like you have to wear something brand new. That does not mean that a shirt and jeans will be everybody's jam! If you want the big, flowy dress and heels because that's you, then be you! Wear what makes you comfortable and feel your best.
Match Your Outfit
to the season and to the location
Plan your outfits around what you know about the conditions at the location we'll be shooting at. You'll want to be warm enough (or cool enough), have pain free feet, and look relatively native to your enviroment. The idea is to authentically capture you where ever you are.
Think through your clothing choices logically based on location, vibe, and comfort level.
Aim for neutrals, earthy tones, and metallics. These colors complement the outdoor environment almost anywhere you go and look dang good as a printed, framed photograph.
Neutrals mean soft tones, you don't have to go all beige! Primary colors are incredibly striking, but can sometimes hae the effect of detracting from the main subject (which is you). Instead of electric blue, maybe go for a shade more like sky blue. Instead of bright orange, you could try an apricot shade.
A rule of thumb here is to choose to either complement your natural environment or contrast it. A mustard yellow dress in a deep green forest will look epic, whereas a bright pink dress, patterned dress doesn't really fit in with your surroundings. It all depends on what look you're going for!
For families, it's best to keep your color scheme limited to four colors. You can choose one person to wear a feature color and have everyone else's outfits complement that.
Incorporate Texture & Movement
Pick fabrics that move and flow with you. Ones that add a cozy texture or get picked up by the wind, filter that late afternoon sun, and glow in the morning light. Natural fibers like linen, cotton, or wool are amazing. Avoid stiff-seeming garments with collars as they look a bit too formal and often get tucked into weird spots and need adjusting.
Be Careful with Pattern and Prints
Avoid large bold patterns as they often dominate the photograph and detract attention from your beautiful face. Usually, subtle smaller patterns work best. Flannels or a light floral print are great when they complement the location but less is definitely more. Try to limit yourself to one pattern at a time. Matching patterns is a tricky task to do well. If you're not quite sure what category your patterned clothes fall into, shoot me an email or sent me a text and I'd be happy to help!
You can't come this far, painstakingly planning your outfit, only to stop at your ankles. Shoes are a key part of a look and ideally complement your outfit. If you wear heels like a pro, go for it! But if you're anything like me and just can't seem to master the whole walking in anything taller then a sneaker thing, then do yourself a favor and ditch the fancy shoes! In most cases, we'll be walking around on relatively uneven terrain and I don't want you spraining an ankle. I'll be giving you energetic prompts to follow to, so be ready for action!
Select the right shoes based on location, and consider what you'd normally wear if I wasn't following you around with a camera. Being barefoot makes sense on the beach, and boots are beautiful in the mountains. Leather is great for boots, and know that sandals win over flip flops by a long shot. Always consider context when choosing footwear for both aesthetic appeal and practicality.
Let's Talk Props
Props don't have to scream "Props!" Go for subtle things that accentuate your personality and help to tell a story about your life. Think pets, an instrument, sporting gear, an umbrella, bike, or maybe some drinks. Avoid just standing there saying "cheese" as much as possible. I want your photos to reflect you as a person.
Nick & Sara brought champagne and the cutest glasses to complement their adorable engagement shoot.
The fine art of
Hats, sunglasses, socks, and jackets are a great way to jazz up your accessory game. Throw some fun extras into your bag but avoid large distracting pieces. If you couldn't tell by now, I'm interested in shooting you (not just your clothes or your bling).
Watches are a bit of a weird one, especially in couple sessions. The big fat circle face of a watch is particularly apparent when people are holding each other's faces and bringing them in for some sugar. I know that is difficult to leave the eletronic watch behind (I feel naked without mine!) but do it for the photos. Best to leave the watch behind unless it is a sentimental piece.
What about Logos?
Much like crazy patterns, clothing with writing or logos on it tends to be a bit distracting. We're not getting paid for Adidas's not-so-subtle product placement. However, if the logo or phrase isn't tacky, is in theme with the shoot, and fits your personality, I'm all for it.
Here is an example of a logo that works it a photoshoot. For a photoshoot for mountain biking, a t-shirt sporting a biking brand fits with the theme. However, if this had been a family photoshoot, the shirt could be inappropriate.
the do's and the don'ts
Makeup and Hair
I will start out by saying that this is your personal call! I want you to feel confident and beautiful. Personally I like a more natural look. Eye makeup that is dark will make your eyes appear darker in photos. Just alittle something to keep in mind! As for hair, I'm a sucker for a wild mane that blows in the breeze. Up-dos are alright too and I totally get it. Sometimes we feel like a fancy situation calls for fancy hair. When it comes to really capturing a moment, hair down is the way to go.
With your hair down, you get movement, you get interest, you get some perfect slices of imperfection in the best way.
Hair and makeup can play a big role in your images, but hands play a crucial role in portrait photography as well. Sometimes photographs magnify bright nail polish, chipped manicures, and dirty fingernails. And once you see it, you can't unsee it. It can be very distracting to an otherwise wonderful photo. Treat yourself to alittle subtle manicure or make sure your nails are neat and tidy before the shoot.
- Dress for the season.
- Dress for the location.
- Complement - don't match (unintentionally).
- Wear something comfortable that you feel like yourself in.
- Natural fibers and earthy colors look amazing in most settings.
- Avoid large prints, logos, and patterns (unless it helps tell your story).
- Throw some accessories like a hat or denim jacket in your bag.
- Feel free to bring some props that are very you!
- Be ready to have fun, don't feel like you have to stand perfectly saying "cheese".