What to Wear to Your Photoshoot

How do you decide what to wear to your photoshoot? I mean, these photos are important and you’ve probably spent your hard-earned money hiring a professional photographer! Now what??

Don’t worry. Here are a few tips.

The top priority should be comfort. You want to wear something breathable and that you can move in. Most likely, your photographer will have you do a variety of poses; some poses standing, some sitting, some hugging loved ones, etc. You’ll want to make sure that your clothing choice moves with you easily. You don’t want it riding up when you sit or twisting on you when you bend over to hug your littles. You also don’t want to be constantly checking to make sure nothing inappropriate is hanging out or feeling the constant need to tug it down to cover you. These insecurities will create ‘stiffer’ and forced looking photos, which is the opposite of how you probably want your photos to turn out!

Here are some examples of different poses that you might encounter. On the left, the expectant mother sat on the rock in a flowing dress that moved with her and snuggled her husband. On the right, these siblings squatted down in long pants to capture a unique take on a family photo. Again, if you don’t have on comfortable clothing with good coverage, these poses might be more difficult!

Next, choose something that you feel good in. Don’t pick an outfit just because you think it might photograph well; if you don’t feel confident, it can reflect in your photos. The most natural photos and natural smiles come when you feel relaxed. These photos are probably going to be hanging in your home or sent as Christmas cards to loved ones. So wear something that makes you love the way you look! In the example below, look how much fun this mom is having twirling in her dress! She is completely relaxed and glowing with confidence. She feels good about herself which shows in the quality of her photos.

So what should your family or partner wear? Great question!

Generally, the most professional looking photos of families and couples utilize color themes rather than exact matches of patterns or colors. For example, a small variety of greens and blues rather than everyone in the same shade of black and tan. The color themes keep everyone separated as individuals while also preserving uniformity and fluidity. It also creates a softer, professional look. Basically, color themes help keep you all from looking too rigid and posed. They allow more fluid focus of the family unit as a whole and also easy focus on individuals. However, color themes do not have to be solid colors! You can incorporate patterns into your color theme as well; in fact, a good variety of solids and patterns gives a better balance to the photo. Fluidity + good balance = professional looking photos.

All of the families above are great examples of color themes. Varieties of fall colors, various shades of blue and coral, or soft spring colors are great ideas to build your color theme. In each of these photos, the families look like a fluid unit but the individuals are preserved without standing out too much. Your eye sees both together and individual without jumping too harshly between the two. It heightens the photo to a clean, soft professional look. As mentioned before, anything to “matchy-matchy” can actually decrease this professional fluid look. Some examples are below.

These photos of course are cute, but there is a lot of distraction and it difficult to focus on the family as a whole. Do you think these photos look as professional as the previous ones above? Probably not!

Here is another example. The SAME kids, but one in matching outfits and one in color themed outfits. Sure, the matching outfits are cute, but the color themed outfits elevate the photo to look more professional.

Lastly, to get a really professional look for your photos, dress up! Again, you probably hired a professional photographer, which means you probably want your photos to look professional! Otherwise, you could have just asked your neighbor to take a cell phone photo. Now granted, your professional photographer can probably direct you and place you better than your neighbor can, but at the same time, utilize this opportunity!

Here is an example.

That is the same couple, three different times. Which one would you choose for their Christmas card? To hang in their home? Or just a casual social media post? Exactly! Even if your photographer is the best in the area, what you wear can affect the overall feel of your photos.

Here’s another example.

The far left photo in the field of sunflowers is such a great photo! The lighting was perfect, the kids were happy, the background was awesome… BUT, the little boy is in a t-shirt. The SAME two kids on the far right, both dressed up! (Again, color themes!) Look how much more professional that photo looks even though the lighting and the background weren’t as spectacular as with the sunflower photo.

In general, longer, flowing dresses tend to allow the most movement and comfort while also give your photos that boost of professional quality. As previously mentioned, choose one that makes you feel amazing. If you don’t have one, go shopping! Thrift stores are excellent places to find unique pieces for a great price. Once you have chosen your outfit, it is easier to fit the other pieces. For partners, try a button down and pants. This business casual style will boast a clean professional look for your photos. These examples all have longer flowing dresses or skirts coupled with long pants and collared shirts or button downs. They all look so professional!

The same for children if you’re doing a family photo! Little kids in fancy outfits are ALWAYS adorable. Check out this little boy in his pull-over sweater and khakis! And the adorable baby with his suspenders! That little extra to their outfits really elevates the photo quality.

Ultimately, however, it is YOUR photoshoot. These tips are just general advice to help spark some ideas if you need them. You’ll still want to keep in mind what type of look you’re going for, but ultimately there is no right or wrong answer when choosing what to wear. Often, your photographer can give some recommendations if you’re stuck deciding between several choices. Just ask! From dress-to-impress to pumpkin heads, your options are endless! YOU are what makes the photos special. Enjoy your shoot!

September 1, 2023

  1. Debbie says:

    Thanks for the tips. All the photos are great! I think I know several of your subjects. 😉

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