• Kristina Simmonds

What Should I Wear In My Photo Shoot?

This is BY FAR the most common question I receive when people are inquiring about photography sessions. Whether it’s for a family, a high school senior, or professional headshots, everyone worries that their clothes won’t work for the session style. What’s my response?

Wear what you love and what makes you feel amazing!

That’s not to say that some patterns aren’t challenging for photographers or certain colors can photograph differently. They certainly can. But that’s my job and I will always work with clients to make sure they can wear what they love.

If you don’t feel comfortable and happy in the clothes you’re wearing, it will show in your photos. Every. Time.

What color should I wear?

Of course, that being said, there are certain color schemes and palettes that I am happiest to work with. I'd be lying if I said otherwise!

Soft shades of green, blue, and yellow certainly photograph well outside. Harsher shades of orange and pink are some of those “challenging” colors that just don’t always get along with nature. Have a family shoot coming up? Look to the color wheel!

  • Neighboring colors on the wheel are “friends” and work as instant palettes for creating a family look (blue/green, green/yellow, purple/blue, orange/red, etc.)

  • The closer the colors are to each other on the wheel, the nicer they play together (Palettes A, E, F, and H)

  • Create interest by skipping a color on the wheel, what I like to call “friend-of-a-friend” colors – i.e. choose green, skip the blue, and add purple (Palette B)

  • Complimentary colors – those directly across the world from each other on the wheel – provide a vibrant color group to work with (yellow/purple, blue/orange) but can be difficult to coordinate, try to connect them with a color in between (Palette D spans yellow to purple but includes blue as a bridge)

  • Denim and Brown act as earthy, rich bases you can build on and work with almost anything in your closet (Palette C blends violets with brown and Palette G has that IU red & jeans feel to it)

Should I dress up?

This one depends 100% on you.

Have your feet not rested in anything except for cowboy boots and sneakers for decades? I think casual is the best plan.

Wouldn’t be caught dead at dinner in anything other than a proper suit and tie? Then business attire it is.

Don’t go out and buy clothes that you wouldn’t normally put on. Don’t try new colors that you aren’t comfortable wearing. Be yourself and wear clothes you love. My #1 goal in a portrait shoot is to capture the wonderful, unique YOU. So JUST BE YOU!

How do I choose so many outfits?

If you’re looking to book a longer session, say 2-3 hours, you’re probably also thinking about multiple outfits. This can be overwhelming for some people but have no fear; I have suggestions for this too!

I usually suggest something like this:

  • A favorite everyday outfit (What would you put on to just hang out with friends?)

  • An outfit that makes you feel special (What would you wear for a date night or special event?)

  • One outfit that says something unique about you (College spirit gear, costumes, uniforms, fun accessories, etc.)

  • Extra items that can added to the above (sweater, scarf, hat, jewelry, etc.)

These are NOT hard and fast rules, of course. They are just to get the mind going and help to spark those outfit ideas. If one or two outfits popped into your head as you read the above list then I think you already have a good start.

What should I definitely NOT wear?

No outfit or color scheme is an absolute no-no for me as a photographer. I’ll work with you. It’s my job after all! But if you want my opinion on what generally looks most appealing in photos, I’d suggest you stay away from the following:

  • Large, distracting logos

  • Neon colors

  • Multiple prints in the same outfit (paisley and stripes, for example)

  • All black

  • Extremely tight clothing

These are not rules by any means. If you always wear Adidas logos and the brand speaks to you, then wear a big Adidas logo. If you are known for your pattern mixing and know how to rock those stripes and polka dots, then by all means, DO IT! No one should tell you what to wear, least of all me. People just always ask for this list so I include it as a guide only.

Once again, I’ll circle back to wear what you LOVE and wear what makes you feel AMAZING! We are capturing a moment in time. We are capturing a feeling. We are capturing your spirit. We can't do any of those things if you're worried about the rules.

Have questions about your upcoming shoot? Did I forget to include your biggest question about clothes? Post it below!

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