Wardrobe Selection For a Professional Portrait

WardrobeSelection-1If you are reading this blog you are probably looking to have some professional portraits taken of you or your family. It also means that you are looking for information so that you can be prepared for your session, good for you! Years of experience as a professional photographer has taught me a few things that I think will help you when planning your portrait session. You have already touched on the first step, preparing your wardrobe for your portrait session so I hope the suggestions below will be helpful.

The individuals in the photo above chose to wear neutral colors. The difference between this and the portrait below is that the focus goes to the woman wearing the red blazer. When people wear neutral colors that work well together your attention is not taken away from the photo as a whole.

Hint: Avoid patterns, prints, plaids, and bright colors.

WardrobeSelection-2The photo to the left is a perfect example of just how distracting the color red is in a portrait.

These elements all divert attention from the purpose of the photo, which is to get a focused and flattering shot of the subject(s). There are certain colors that distract from a photo such as red or orange. Choosing to wear either of those colors will always cause a distraction from a headshot or family portrait because the color is so prominent. If you are going to be in a group portrait always be sure to balance out the outfits ahead of time or all of the attention will be focused on the one individual wearing the brightest color or pattern. Try to choose outfits with the same color theme, and coordinate as best as possible. This means don’t have one person wearing plaid or red and the rest in neutral colors.


Choosing an outfit that is complimentary to one’s body type is also essential. Always try on your wardrobe beforehand and have a few honest people judge whether it is appropriate for you. Be comfortable in the outfits you choose. Form fitting clothing is usually best, however this does not mean skintight. Your shirts or jackets should fit to your natural body shape free of lumps and wrinkles. Baggy clothing will look sloppy and tend to make you look larger than you actually are.

The best advice one could offer is to always bring extra outfits to the shoot. Make sure they are a different style and or color, allowing variety in case you don’t like how the shirt or pants you are wearing look in the photograph. Sometimes all it takes is being comfortable in your attire to loosen up and be yourself. Your portraits should portray confidence, happiness, and most of all express a certain comfort in front of the camera. Having the right attitude during your shoot is imperative to creating the feeling and flow of your portrait session and greatly influences your final portrait.

Above is a group photograph displaying good color coordination. Notice how your eyes go straight to the individuals faces in this example. This is not only due to coordinating their wardrobe, but also because they are comfortable with one another and their photographer.

Hint: Bring medium and dark colors if you are concerned about your weight. The camera tends to add a couple pounds sometimes, especially with white or light colored clothing.

It would be a shame to waste a perfectly good photo shoot on photographs that no one is satisfied with because of wardrobe choices. Taking advantage of these small pieces of advice could save your photos and lead to a successful portrait session. You may even end up with better images than originally expected. Your photographer should be happy to help you out with any questions you might have so speak with them ahead of time and I am sure they will appreciate your taking the time to plan ahead. A photographer who is professional and skilled at their craft will want the shoot to turn out just as well as you do, and planning ahead is everything.

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