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!

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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!