Clothing for Portraits – What to Wear: by Darlene Hildebrandt
• Wear solid colored clothing so that we see all of your faces and no one person stands out. If you wear stripes or flowers, you will stand out from the rest of your group.
• Choose muted tones that are a bit subdued so that you are the subject not your clothes and you don’t stand out from the group. Bright colors project (especially reds, oranges, and yellows), which also makes you look larger.
• Choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light) so that one doesn’t look bigger than the other. White top, dark pants will make your top look bigger. White pants, dark top will make your butt look bigger.
• Choose 1-3 colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that color palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones. OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones. So that we see the people first and your portrait looks stunning. Wedding group photos look so good because they’re all wearing the same colors and the people stand out!
• Choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow because your arms take up more skin area than your face and will draw attention and it may also make your arms look larger
• Choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies so that your legs don’t take attention from your faces, and you will be able to sit and bend without showing too much leg
• Choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach) because white just sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s all you’ll notice in your portrait
• Keep jewelry simple and minimalistic because too much draws attention from your face
• Do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes – no fancy up dos with jeans, no pony tails with evening gowns, etc. This is common sense, or so you’d think, but I’ve had ladies go to the hair salon and get fancy up dos then show up in jeans and a t-shirt. It just simply doesn’t make sense cause you wouldn’t normally do that to put on jeans and go to the park for a BBQ or something. So tell them “it is because your portrait will be more timeless and represent more closely who you are, not just what you look like.”
A few things NOT to do … many of them obvious no-no’s but important to include again as a refresher. Author “PRINT the Moon”
• Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly. I’m having flashbacks to me wearing Esprit tee-shirts with my Guess jeans back in grade school, right along side my little brother in his Gotcha shirt (and if you’re sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, you must not be an 80’s child, LOL). Note: There are a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo, for instance, in my six year old’s birthday session we did a total punk rock theme to go along with her party … she wore a Johnny Cash tee with her tutu and baby sis rocked a Ramones tee.
• If anyone is needing a trip to the salon, be sure to let the hair cut grow out a week or so in order to look most natural.
• Don’t make everyone wear all the same color … matching is boring and dated. Coordinate colors and looks, letting everyone have their own spin on the color palette (and every person does not – should not – have every color used in the color palette). And please no families all dressed in khaki pants, or all in denim and white shirts.
• While trying to stay current and fashionable, do avoid obvious trends that will be dated soon. You can do fashion forward while still remaining timeless.
• No bright white socks and no sneakers unless we’re talking about something fashion forward and simple like Converse or Vans. And also be sure to remove watches or jewelry not complementary to the session’s look.
OTHER CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS
One suggestion from Sassyfrass Studios, “pick a color and the weave it throughout the outfits to tie it together (Example the baby is in a red dress, dad with red in his tie and mom with red heels). Once you've got the outfits picked out, try to add at least one more accessory like a hat, a fun t-shirt under a jacket, or cool shoes. Use items that reflect your personality”.