When you are the star of your portrait session, you want to look your best. Yet, we often get in over our heads and cannot make a decision. Don't worry. I'm here to help!
First and foremost, do you have a favorite outfit? If your answer is yes, then WEAR THAT! It doesn't matter if it's a ballgown or an over-sized t-shirt. If it makes you feel good, you should have your picture taken in it.
What's your favorite color? Rock that. If you love red (like I do), own it and wear it. Prefer black? Run with it. Pick the colors that reflect your personality and make you feel like your true self. You should also look for colors that complement your skin tone, eye color and hair color. Google "am I a summer or winter" and you'll find quizzes to help you figure out which colors you look best wearing.
Accessorize! Whenever I wear a baseball cap, I tend to wear it backward. I had a guy in a photography class I took years ago tell me once I had a unique style. I paired the baseball cap with carpenter jeans and a fleece. (They were in at the time.) The backward baseball cap made me feel like I was ready to get down to work and spend the day taking pictures. It was part of what makes me me.
Now, on another day, some really stellar hoop earrings are the finishing touch to my favorite little black dress. The hoop earrings make we feel like a rock star.
My point is accessories really do complete the outfit whether a hat or earrings or heels--whatever completes your look. Use your little finishing touches to your advantage. This means props, too--flowers, an instrument, a paint brush, a book--an item that has meaning and helps you express yourself.
The ultimate goal when planning your outfits for your portrait session is to show your style and embrace your uniqueness. Take my two daughters as great examples. My oldest LOVES dresses, glitter, and anything that sparkles and shines. My youngest not so much--though she rocks some bling if the mood strikes her. In my motherly attempt to make them match for Christmas, we all agreed on red plaid. Sounds straightforward, but check out the picture below and see what they each picked out.
My diva is wearing a high-low evening gown (or as close as you get to one for a nine-year-old) with rhinestone belt and floral headband. My free spirit is wearing jeggings, a plaid blouse (with a few strategically placed sequins), and a furry vest.
Those smiles? Because they are being true to themselves. So wear what makes you happy and what you are going to have the most fun in. You'll see the results in your pictures.
If you still need some inspiration, take these things into consideration:
- The Season: Every season has colors associated with it, whether they are ones you want to play up or ones you want to complement. Look to those colors to pick out what you want to wear. For example, if you are having pictures taken in the fall, stick with a neutral palette that complements the deep reds, oranges, and browns you'll likely encounter in the great outdoors.
- Layers: Not only will the weather dictate what colors make sense, but it'll also affect how much clothing you should wear. Spring can often be unpredictable, oscillating from cool or warm in a matter of minutes. By adding layers, you will have some versatility in your overall look and be able to mix patterns, solids, and accessories.
- Casual vs. Dressy: Always prepare a few outfit options--one that is how you dress normally then one that steps it up a notch. Make sure, however, you can sit, stand, dance, and comfortably move in whatever you wear. Don't break out the 6 inch heels if you haven't mastered walking in them or the wear a skirt you have to keep pulling down because you're afraid your underwear will show at certain angles. Dressy doesn't have to be an evening gown or tuxedo; it could mean a pair of slacks and a buttondown. So bring that along in addition to your jeans and ironic t-shirt.