The difference between an ‘ok’ photo and a great portrait.

What you wear for your portrait photography session can make or break the photograph. Preparing for the shoot by coordinating your clothing with others in your group is an important process. Here, we will take you through a few things to think about in order to create a complimentary portrait.

1. Match Style

There is no right or wrong when it comes to what style of clothing you wear for your portrait session as long as it is consistent. There is a time and a place for both casual and formal attire within portrait photography. What you wear usually needs to match the environment you are in – if you are going to the woods for a family portrait session, wear clothing that is suited to that location such as jeans and a casual shirt. For a beach shoot in the summer you might choose to wear shorts and flip flops. Studio portraits can lend themselves more easily to formal dress.

It is also very important to be consistent with each other. Communicate with everyone in your party to make sure you are all wearing the same style of clothing. If one person is in jeans and a t-shirt while another is wearing a formal blazer, this can make the photographs feel unbalanced. Putting a little bit of time and thought into your clothing before the session can make a huge difference to the way the final pictures look.


Image of a family with four children standing for their portrait

2. Match Colours

Discuss with your group what colours you are all going to wear for your shoot. Matching this to the season and the environment works well. If your photography session is taking place in autumn, orange, yellow and burgundy compliment your surroundings nicely. If there is one thing you take away from this blog post it is to wear solid colours rather than busy patterns. Thin pin stripes on shirts do not photograph well and busy patterns can be distracting.

We suggest that you choose two base colours which are normally quite neutral such as black, grey, white or denim and then an accent colour or colours to add to those, for example red or blue. It works best when everyone in your group isn’t wearing the exact same thing but they compliment each other. If you choose red for your accent colour, one person could wear a red scarf while someone else wears a red jacket or another in a red skirt.


Image of an older couple posing for their portrait in the woods

3. Jewellery and Accessories

As a general rule, we recommend that you don’t wear big, statement jewellery. We want you to be the star of the show rather than large earrings and necklaces that distract the eye away from your eyes. Keeping it simple and minimalistic is key. Think about everything you put on from your head to your toes. Footwear must be considered – when wearing dark trousers, dark socks and shoes should be coordinated. If you have chosen to wear dark tones for your outfit, you don’t want bright pink socks poking out the bottom of your daughters trousers!

4. Be comfortable

The most important thing is that you are comfortable in what you are wearing. Be sure that every item fits you well so it looks smart and flattering. Shirts or jackets that are too big can look scruffy and reduce the quality of the portrait. Even if you opt to wear casual clothing, it still needs to look smart – no holes, scuffs or stains.

Image of a young couple walking along the beach for their engagement portrait

If you have any questions or would like more guidance in putting together a complimentary, coordinated colour palette for your professional portraits, please speak with your photographer further. We also suggest that you have a look online at more examples of professional photographs for inspiration for your session.

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