This is a question that is asked at every single consultation, and rightly so! Clothing choice is an essential part of the overall look of your images and should be addressed. Since we are a full service studio, this is something we discuss in full at the session consultation. We will discuss color and how different colors affect skin tone, color harmony, and clothing style. In a sense, we are styling your session for you!
I have stood in client's closet and discussed what they like and helped them put an outfit together that they will be comfortable in and will look great in the session. It is a team effort.
Many people head to Pinterest where they find a plethora of boards related to clothing ideas. There are thousands and they offer some great advice!
But, here are a few pointers to consider!
Clothing choice is just as important as lighting, location and posing in order to create a great image. If the clothing choices are not conducive to the image, then the image might not be as good as it can be. The clothing will distract from the great portrait potential. And, the same goes for the lighting or the posing.
So, keep these things in mind.
1. Wear clothing that is comfortable to you.
So, I have mentioned this to people, and often the response is, "Well, I will wear my sweat pants, then." Sure! Sweat pants are great if you are taking an athletic portrait! But, what if you want something more formal and elegant? Sweat pants do not fit in that scenario. So, when I say, comfortable, I mean clothing that is not necessarily new, as you are not used to wearing it and it might bother you during your session. Which, in turn, will lead to an uncomfortable session and it will show in the images.
2. Wear clothing that will fit the image you want to create.
As mentioned above, wearing sweat pants and/or a workout outfit for an athletic portrait session at the gym is perfect! Wearing that for a formal setting in a classy venue, usually does not work as well. It all depends on the vision for the image. If you and your family want a light, airy, fun, session, wear jeans and light colored casual shirts that compliment each other. If you want to show that you are an athlete that loves formal wear, wear a formal outfit and bring along your athletic equipment.
3. Wear clothing that suits you and your personality.
In keeping with all of the above statements, you can wear clothing that suits your personality to create a great portrait. The image below is one of my favorites. These guys wanted to create a special image for their mother for Christmas. They wore really nice suits, dressed up, and looked fantastic! But, they also wanted to show their true personality-one that they knew their mom would absolutely love. So, they wore flannels and showed me how they used to wrestle when they were younger, and this is the result. Mom loved it!
Other things to consider-
wear solid colored clothing
choose muted tones that are a bit subdued-or bright colors-depending on what the image is about
choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
choose 1-3 colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones. OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.
choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
Wearing large patterns can distract from you-the subjects.
Muted tones work well as to not distract from you-the subjects.
Bright colors are awesome if this is a fun, session full of color.
Choosing two or three colors that are in the same tonal range will compliment you is best. For example, if you choose mustard and navy, then have everyone wear jeans, mom wear a mustard colored sweater with a navy necklace, dad wear a navy shirt, and son or daughter wear a light patterned shirt of both.
Stay away from trends. Trendy clothing usually goes out of style, so if you want your image to be classic and timeless, wear that type of clothing. Remember the hippie era and bell bottoms? I do! And, I love that style! If you want your portrait to be handed down to family members and not have them chuckle at your clothing, though, then wear jeans and a complimentary shirt!
Your photographer should be advising you and going over all of this with you before the session. As mentioned before, clothing choice is just as important as location, lighting, and posing in order to create a great portrait.
Keep in mind your vision for the portrait. What is it you want to convey? If it is a full of color fun emotion, then wearing muted colors and having your session in front of concrete doesn't work. You need bright colors and a bright location.
Wear clothing that is comfortable, yet suits the image you want to convey. Wear clothing that is flattering to you that is not full of large patterns so there are no distractions.
Bottom line-most of the time you want to be the focus in the image, not your clothing. Clothing is important, just not the most important part. (unless you are modeling clothing for a department store. Then, it is.) But, for the most part, for family sessions, you and your family are the focus and should be, and your clothing should compliment you in the best way possible.
Below are some example of good clothing choices that compliment the subjects, lighting, posing, and backdrops!
Good color harmony and perfect for these girls and backdrop!
See the different colors that compliment each other and how they all wore them?
Clothing can make or break a portrait, and we are here to help you be sure your portrait is the best it can be.