What to Wear ~ Know Your Color Palette

Do You Shine Like a Diamond?

Not every color looks good on every person. Have you ever looked in the mirror when you’re trying on new clothes and your skin appeared green? The reason for your skin color transformation was due to wearing an unflattering color, according to your skin’s undertone.

So the next question is: Do you know your color palette? You may be a cool, a neutral or a warm. The first step to determining which of the three you are, is to discover your undertone.

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While skin overtone can change based upon factors such as sun exposure, illness, or blood pressure, your undertone is defined by genetics and will never change. A simple test to determine if you’re a COOL or WARM is to put a dab of pink-based foundation on one cheek, and a dab of yellow-based foundation on the other. Spread the foundation evenly on each cheek, creating a thin layer. Check the mirror for which foundation blends in versus which one appears painted on. The one that blends is your match.

Pink means COOL and yellow means WARM. Easy peasy. If your husband or son won’t sit for this foundation test, read on to discover other ways to find undertones.

Hair Color

We are talking natural hair color, here.

If your hair is colored, let’s hope your stylist has helped to find a color that goes with your skin undertone.

You cools might rock very dark brown or black hair to sunny blonde. You have skin with a bluish undertone ranging from the fairest of the fair to very dark.

If your hair is dirty blonde, blonde with ashy streaks or warm-toned browns with highlights, these are all considered neutral. Skin tone for those of you who are true neutrals can be difficult to determine and is variable from warm to cool.

You’re probably a warm if your hair color is in the dark brown to dark blonde shades. Skin tones for warms range from greenish to yellow undertones and some have an olive complexion.

For those sporting red hair, the shade of red lets you move between color palettes, but you’ll typically roam within the Neutral Undertones.

What to Wear?

Cool Undertone

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  • Cool colors will include bright to royal and sapphire blues, emerald greens, and moderate to deep purples, like amethyst or shades of lavender.
  • Warm colors might include ruddy hues, such as rose and reddish pinks to tomato.
  • For neutrals, your best bet is pure white, navy and grays.
  • Don’t you dare do oranges or yellows.

Neutral Undertone

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  • You look fabulous in peachy hues, and jade green to muted turquoise.
  • Pinks, such as soft rose and blush-toned pinks are your BFFs.
  • Icy blues should also be included in your fashion choices.
  • Burgundy and fire engine red (don’t be shy) will look amazing on you.
  • Taupe, grey, and off white, like eggshell and ivory, are super when you want to go neutral.
  • Bright (red is the exception) and vibrant colors can overwhelm neutrals.

Warm Undertone

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  • Your best warm colors are oranges, reds, golden yellow, amber, and honey gold.
  • Cool colors that work equally well on warm skin tones are greens and blues.
  • Olives, deeper turquoise, green moss, fern, pesto, red purples like magenta and orchid are also good choices.
  • If your chosen portrait scheme is more neutral, stick with taupe, light chocolates, off whites and wheat.
  • Colors to avoid are light blues and jeweled tones.

 

Color is fun to consider in your wardrobe.  However, it is important to keep comfort first. If you are dressed comfortably, you will act more naturally during the photo session. By focusing on colors and styles that look best, you will confidently enjoy the process and the portraits will shine…like a diamond.

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

Plaid Is Not a Neutral ~ What to Wear at your Portrait Session

Never wear anything that panics the cat.
-PJ O’Rourke

So you’ve made the decision to pull together the whole family for one big photo session. You’ve wrangled the hubby and your teens, tweens and toddlers, and now Grandma and Grandpa have asked to join in. You thought setting the date was challenging with syncing everybody’s schedules, but now you’ve got to figure out what to wear.

You’d like to create a beautiful and timeless family portrait and you know that finding the right colors and clothing that will flatter all ages and shapes is important. In order to help ease you into what should be a fun and engaging family time, I’ve listed a few hints on what to wear (and what not to wear) that will tell your loving story.

Roses are Red, Denim is Blue

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For years, white tops and blue jeans were all the rage, but not any longer. Now, pairing blue jeans and simple solid-colored tops are popular for that casual, “We dress like this all the time” look. Denim comes in a variety of shades and styles, so make sure to mix it up with pants, dresses, and jackets that play to each person’s body shape.

Color photos featuring jeans and tees work well, but if you choose the blues, pay attention to the hues. In black and white, everything will be a shade of black and grey, and these types of photos display denim particularly well.

 

Though your teen may like neon colors, tell Junior to leave the fluorescent yellow tee in his drawer. Neutrals and coordinating colors are best when working with more than one person in a portrait.

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White is Outta Sight

While all-white outfits may seem like a good idea and are very popular (thank you Claire from Modern Family) the color white is not always the best to capture in a photograph. Very pale pastels and whites can make you appear washed out, unless you’re rocking a Southern California spray tan.  When wearing a white top, because our eyes notice white first, you’ll see your blouse and then think, ”Oh that blouse has a face.” We want you to see your face first.  If you want to wear that extra special white outfit, I can compensate by using different backgrounds and lighting techniques.

Polka Dots, Paisleys and Prints. Oh My!

Colorful prints are so much fun to wear. The selection is mind-blowingly endless, and the blaze of colors help you stand out in a crowd. My suggestion, though, is to keep busy patterns to a minimum. Wild prints tend to draw the eye. One print may create visual interest, but two is a crazy party. The focus should be on your faces and not on summer prints and Grandma’s garden blouse.

Here is a spontaneous family portrait at a reunion:

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A Family of Twins

Matchy-matchy is now a no-no in the photography world. A very good rule of thumb to follow is: No mini-me’s. Matching outfits are not only totally ’70s but are sure to land you on the awkwardly family photo website.

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Allow your kids to be kids and let them rock what they’re comfortable wearing (of course, within reason). When they wear clothes they like, rather than a suit and tie with a starched white shirt, their enthusiasm will shine right through the lens and you’ll capture happy-happy kiddos. A proper suit may be appropriate for office wear, but not for a family-fun photo.

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To reiterate, color coordination is your aim. Solids are the best. Basic black, grays, deep purple, and navy all work well with jeans and slacks alike.

 The Long Sleeves Rule

When dressing for your studio session, avoid no-sleeve and short-sleeved clothing, and short pants. My mantra is, with long, you can’t go wrong. Three-quarter length sleeves work well, too.  Even in casual portraits long pants trump shorts. Every. Single. Time.

Exposed arms and legs are a major fleshy distraction to the visual storytelling we do with portraits. Do you want friends and family commenting on your large biceps (girls, please) skinny white legs (got you, mister) or your beautiful face? I thought so. Leave certain things to the imagination, and remember, pictures are a forever thang.

Accessories: Dress for Success, Not Excess

Jewelry, hats, scarfs and the like should be strategically used to compliment and not overwhelm. Less is more, if you get my drift.

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Keep comfort first. If your family is dressed comfortably, they will act more naturally during the photo session. By focusing on styles that look best on each family member, everyone will confidently enjoy the process and the portraits will shine.

See you in the studio!

 

“I capture personalities in Portraits.”  ~ Donna Edman

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

What to Wear for Your Photo Session

Getting ready for your photo session?  Here are some helpful ideas!

Coordinate and Compliment
but no Mini-Me

 When styling a photo session, let’s start out with a basic color palette.  For group sessions no patterns are best.  If there is a “Center Stage” person who is to stand out, it helps to have just that one person in a pattern of which the rest in the group can pull from with complimentary colors and accessories, keeping their outfits more simple.  Another idea is to have all folks in your group wear different colors but all within the same tone.  This means for all colors to be bright, dull, or neutral.  For pants, jeans or dark colors are best.

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Accessorize
… add color & interest

Think outside the box.  Scarves, hats, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, flowers in the hair for girls – All of these things can make an image look interesting and feel complete.  However, don’t overwhelm the subject, as the viewer’s attention should remain on the subject’s face.  See how in this photo, her blue headband is accessorizing his blue shirt, and his tie is accessorizing her nail polish? The location colors also compliment the subjects!

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Layers and Texture
… add detail and depth

Tweed, crochet and embroidery details, lace, hand knit items, smocking, ribbons and ruffles can add interest to a photo creating layers and textures.  Also adding different layers of clothing and accessories can add another dimension to the overall texture of the image.  These are especially important in black and white images.

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Subtle Props
… add meaning

The absolute best prop is something that is meaningful to you.  This can be grandpa’s vintage camera, a child’s favorite stuffed animal, a vintage magazine, mom’s handmade quilt or the family’s pet.   Without distraction, props add meaning to, and compliment  your image.

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On Your Feet
… shoes matter

The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit.  Slipping on a pair of hip distressed boots, colorful stylish flats or funky colorful Converse can tie everything together. Pick a color or texture to accent your clothing. Sometimes wearing no shoes at all look best, especially if you’ll be posing where the bottoms of shoes can be seen.  And don’t forget to add another splash of color with some funky socks if your overall look is fun and bright.

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How Will They be Used?
… where will they be displayed?

Think about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly.  For a business or actor’s head shot, consider your industry standard.  Then decide to match or deviate from it.  What message do you want to portray – conservative, artistic, trustworthy?  Will the image be displayed on a business card, website, brochures? Will the family or children’s image be displayed in the drawing room, family room, bedroom?  Is the image to say, “conservative”, “fun”, “funky”?

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Don’t Date Yourself
… A timeless look extends the life of photos

Considering Who You Are Today, choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Use soft neutral tones with a pop of color then add interesting accessories, layers and textures.  I do love color so consider bright and funky as long as it’s not distracting from your face or personality.  Of course, this is a personal choice and many folks will go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choice as a time stamp.

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Movement
… clothing that flows and moves

In both the studio and in wide open locations, I love movement and flow.  Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress or scarf or hat that moves when dancing, spinning, jumping.

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Get Comfortable
… to be You

Make sure clothing and accessories are comfortable, without the pull or scratch of some new items, especially with children.  Allowing children help to pick out their outfit can make them much happier during the session and  allows their beautiful personality shine through in images.  Think of layers instead of changing outfits.  For both children and adults, make sure you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.

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Patterns are Good
… in moderation

Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good does of personality.  Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the folks in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary.  A patterned dress can actually be the secondary focus  and part of the story as long as it doesn’t distract from the face.

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Think About Location
… dress to compliment

Make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings.  In a park, a little girl can be dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with boots.  That same look might be out of place in an urban setting in front of a harsh graffiti wall.

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A Few More Tips
… things to do & not to do

  • Avoid anything with logos, graphics characters, labels, etc. They distract from the face and take the professional portrait down a few notches.
  • Wait two weeks after a hair cut for the most natural look.
  • Don’t make everyone wear the same color. Matching is boring and dated.  Let everyone have a their own spin on the same color palette.
  • While staying current, avoid obvious fashion trends that will be dated soon.
  • No bright white socks and no sneakers unless we’re talking about something fashionable like funky Converse. Remove watches or jewelry not complementary to the session’s look.
  • Clothing should cover your arms to at least the elbows. All that extra skin can distract from your face.  With that said this depends on the purpose of the portrait.
  • Nails should be trimmed and clean. Gals, newly applied nail polish or none at all.
  • Guys, make sure your neck and any facial hair is trimmed of those pesky little hairs.

Check out Pinterest for some great examples at “Paint the Moon” and other fashion pages.

These ideas were gathered from Annie at Paint the Moon.  The best  collection of What to Wear tips I’ve found.

Images are selected from my work, Annie’s and a few others. 

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Fine Art and Commercial Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

Irina, Jet and a 1936 Ford Roadster

Do you like the look of a Vintage Photo?  Here’s the story behind a recent photo session.

This project was 2 years in the making. Although I had the model who would dress in authentic vintage wear, the goggles, access to the Borzoi and location, I couldn’t find the right car. I wanted a classic 1930s convertible.

Recently, as my husband and I were driving, I saw this shiny dark blue miracle of a Roadster parked at a gas pump. It was like the clouds of heaven opening up. “That’s the car!” I shouted as I directed Bill to pull into the station. I waited for 3 breaths before opening the car door. I didn’t want to be “that crazy lady” as I approached the owner.

Although surprised by the request, he was delighted to offer his car for the project.

212-mat-wmThe car is a 1936, Irina’s dress was made in 1938 and her hair is makeup are 1930s style, her shoes were made in 1940, Jet is a Borzoi breed popular in graphic art pieces during the 1930s, the goggles are originals from the 1930’s, the house was built in 1902.

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When all these pieces came together it … Made Me Smile.  Hope it makes you smile, too!

Do you like Vintage Images?  Let’s create your personal story in photos! 

Here’s how to contact me > Contact Me.

A huge Thank You goes to:

  • Irina, for coming up with the perfect vintage presentation.
  • Karen, for offering Jet, a therapy dog with Pet Prescription Team who helps children in hospitals and through the family court system.
  • Sabine, for finding and offering the vintage goggles.
  • Jim and Sharon, for offering your fabulous car, and finally making this project happen!

To see more images and a peek behind the scenes from the project, click here >Irina, Jet, & a 1936-Ford-Roadster

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Fine Art and Commercial Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!