What To Wear for a Photoshoot?

The wardrobe selection for your professional portrait or family session plays a very important role in telling your story. Here are a few tips that may be helpful in choosing the right look for you!

As I am preparing to get my family ready for our first set of professional photos as a family of 4, I realized (from a client side), just how difficult it can be to find the perfect wardrobe selections for an entire family. Surely, deciding what to wear for individual portraits is difficult enough but coordinating more than one person can be a bit of a challenge.



Coordinate, Don’t Match

The Brown Family

The Brown Family

We have all seen the pretty pictures of families or couples wearing the same matching top and denim jeans. My suggestion to clients is to coordinate your wardrobe, don’t match. When selecting outfits, look for colors that complement each other. For instance, earth tones (think the colors of Fall) should be paired with earth tones (brown, tan, darker hues of orange & Red).

Stay away from too many prints and patterns. If your child has a favorite plaid shirt, use that color combination to select everyone else’s outfit choices. Also, plaid and floral should not be paired together. The two patterns will clash. When thinking of your finished images, the eye should flow from one person to the next. Think of it as harmony.

I recently found out that my favorite store, Target, now has an area on their website for selecting Family Outfits. How awesome is that! They're one of my favorite places to shop for clothing (and everything else). I also love Old Navy and recently found out that they, too, offer family photo outfits. Make sure you slide something in the cart for me!


Be Cute But Comfortable

When selecting your final outfit choices, try on your clothing in front of a mirror. Move around, sit, stand, and walk so that you can see what everything looks like in motion and standing still. Doing this will help you visualize what your clothing will look like on photoshoot day and can also help minimize any wardrobe malfunctions ahead of time.

While it is important to dress nice, it is also equally important to be comfortable in what you are wearing. If you are not comfortable, it will show in images by the body language and facial expressions. If your outfit is too snug or too loose, it will show. If the material in clothing is thin and you can see undergarments or the lines of undergarments, it may be a good idea to correct prior to photoshoot day.  It is important to remember that most photographers will charge extra to do detailed wardrobe fixes once the photoshoot is done so it is very important to catch any issues you might have ahead of time.

Dress for the “Big Print”

The Greer Family

The Greer Family

When thinking of what to wear, visualize where you would like to display printed images from your session in your home. What does your décor look like? If your living room decor has hints of light blue, grey, white, and yellow a large print of your family in Black and Red may not be the best choice. This does not mean that you must “match” the same color scheme, but coordinate outfits to compliment what is already there.

In the example above, this may mean that you select a wardrobe of pastel colors… blush pink, light blue/navy blue, and different combinations of denim.



Invest In A Professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Budget this into your final costs. Professional hair and makeup make a world of difference when it comes to photoshoots of any kind. Hiring the right professional for your needs will greatly impact the result of the images you hoped to obtain. This does not mean changing your appearance dramatically for portraits. My suggestion is always to have final hair and makeup be natural unless you are going for an extra dramatic look.

If You MUST...

The Bonds Family

The Bonds Family

I will preface this statement by saying that I am not a fan of matching but I also understand that this is not always avoidable. Here's what I recommend. For larger families, I know that it may be more difficult to have everyone coordinate. This is something that I discuss with my clients during their consultations.

For this scenario, I recommend adding in pops of color wherever possible. Add in personal accessories that break up the consistent color from one person to the next.


Gabriela & Jeff

Gabriela & Jeff

When All Else Fails, Hire A Stylist

There is a reason why stylists are great at what they do. A stylist can help ease the stress load of finding the right wardrobe selection for your session. Prices will vary based on skillset and your individual needs so this is something additional that will have to be calculated into the budget if you find yourself in need.


Check For Inspiration Online But Keep Your Photographer In The Loop

As part of my consultation process, I discuss the client’s vision, expectations, outfit ideas, and then discuss the best method of communicating these ideas leading up to the shoot. This is usually done through a secret Pinterest board or sending images via email or text. I have found over the years that this helps build an understanding of what the client wants and how I can achieve it. It also helps when finalizing locations and visualizing the day.

Looking for more tips on what to wear for your photoshoot? Check out these resources below

Follow B. Rich Photography's "Photoshoot Wardrobe Ideas" on Pinterest

Here's a quick Facebook Live video with more information on What to Wear!

Do you have any helpful wardrobe tips that you would like to share? Place  your ideas in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!