After you book a photo session, you need to pick an outfit. Finding something to wear can be stressful. There are so many options to choose from, and looking at inspiration boards can get overwhelming. Here are my top 15 tips for picking the perfect outfit for your photo session. 

Coordinate, don’t match 

Color is very important. Neon colors and colors that don’t match can pull your attention away from the subject. If you are getting your photo taken with other people, it is important to coordinate your outfits, not match them. Instead, your group should pick 3-4 colors that complement each other. 

To avoid wearing the same colors, pick a color scheme ahead of time. You can find coordinating colors with a search on Google or Pinterest, or by using the color wheel. Planning your outfits ahead of time is necessary to make sure your group will look great when photographed together.

Pick an outfit you feel comfortable and confident in 

You don't need to look like a model for your photoshoot. Choose outfits that show off your personality. Even if you want to dress up for your photos, you should wear something realistic for you. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothes, your face will show it. 

We all have parts of our bodies that we don’t love. Finding an outfit that makes you feel beautiful and confident is the best way to get naturally beautiful photos. 

girl sitting on blanket in the fall
headshot woman in front of white wall
girl in black dress in front of arches in the fall

Match your style to purpose and location 

The outfit that will look best for you depends on location and your session. Think about the goal you want to achieve by getting your photo taken. Do you want to look professional or candid? Posed or natural? Your outfit should reflect your goal. 

Also consider the location of your photo session. An urban location might call for a more edgy outfit. A natural setting might inspire something more light and loose. For both indoor and outdoor sessions, your outfit should complement your surroundings. 

Create a style board for inspiration

You can create and share your style board with your photographer on platforms like Pinterest. A style board can help you plan the best outfit for you. It can also give your photographer an idea of what you’re looking for. Sharing your board ahead of time will help you prevent any issues, like an outfit that might be hard to photograph. 

Style within your budget 

It is not necessary to buy new clothes for your session. There is a good chance you already have an outfit in your closet that would work well! It can be tempting to use your photo session as an excuse to get a new wardrobe, but first, take a good look at the clothes you have. 

Pick one or two base pieces you love and build on them. If you do want to go shopping, pick a store that fits your budget and matches your style. Picking an outfit that you already feel comfortable in is important. Never pick clothes you haven’t tried on first!

Minimize patterns 

Along with background, you should also consider patterns. Some patterns can add to a photo, but most take away from them. Distracting or clashing patterns can make a photo look messy. If you want to use a pattern in your photos, choose one that is easy to coordinate with. If you’re unsure if a pattern will work, choose solid colors instead.

Find appropriate accessories

Accessories can be a fun way to add color and personality to a photo, but limit the accessories you choose. Too many accessories can be distracting. And they don’t have to be jewelry. Hats, belts, scarves, glasses, and even socks can add something fun and unusual to your outfit. 

Your shoes are the accessory you should always plan first. Your shoes are just as important as your clothes. Scuffed or worn shoes can take away from the subject. If needed, clean your shoes before your session. 

Large family in outdoor setting
Family in traditional clothes in the fall
Large family outdoor session

Avoid logos 

Even for sports sessions or photos taken in an urban setting, don’t wear visible logos. Wearing words of any kind will take your eye away from you and turn the focus to your clothes. It’s also a good idea to avoid any recognizable characters on clothing. Solid colors and patterns are the best way to keep your photos from becoming distracting. 

Choose something timeless 

We all have photos of ourselves that don't age well. I have an album of photos in my home from the ’80s. My girls have fun laughing about my big hair and colorful outfits. 

Choosing a timeless outfit is important. You don’t want to look back at these photos in 20 years embarrassed about your outfit. Unless the theme of your photoshoot is period-based, stay away from clothing trends that might look dated in a few years. 

Layer & texture 

Adding layers and texture is a great way to make your photos look better. A lack of layers and textures can make your outfits look flat. Cardigans and opened button-up shirts make great layers. Lace, denim, and tulle are a few playful textures to experiment with.

Pick a second look or backup outfit 

Some photo sessions include more than one look. For these sessions, pick a second outfit that is different from the first. This way you can have a different feel that creates different photos within the same session. 

For sessions that do not include a second look, it’s important to have a backup outfit. You never know what might happen once you get to your session. The weather might change. You could lose a button or spill something. If you have a backup outfit you can make sure you look your best. 

Bring an emergency kit 

Bobby pins, safety pins, extra hair ties, and makeup are essential things to bring with you for a photo session. You never know when you’ll need to pin a piece of clothing down or fix your lipstick. Being prepared will help you feel more relaxed, leading to better photos. 

Natural hair and makeup look best 

Natural hair and makeup are essential for great photos, especially headshots. Unless your photoshoot theme requires lots of makeup and complicated hairstyles, it’s best to stay away from them. Your hair and makeup should be natural and neutral. Pick colors that complement both your skin tone and your outfit. 

Engaged couple in street
Engaged couple in Jamaica
Engaged couple in gardens

Dress for the weather

When picking an outfit, make sure you consider the season. In summer, a heavy sweater will look unnatural. If you are inside, it’s easier to get away with dressing how you want, but for outdoor locations, you need to fit in with your environment. You also want to dress for the weather. If it’s going to be cold, don’t wear a tank top and shorts. If your photos are dependent on a specific season, choose an indoor location or schedule your session during that season. 

Make sure your clothes look their best 

Lots of wrinkles, stains, and missing buttons can make your photos look messy and unprofessional. Check your clothes before your session. They should be clean and wrinkle-free. You don’t want to ruin your photo session because you forgot to iron your shirt! 

Planning is key!

For any photoshoot, you need to plan ahead of time. Set aside enough time in advance to create a beautiful outfit that fits your personality and the purpose of your session. Planning your outfits in advance will help you feel more comfortable and confident, which will result in better photos.

Don’t forget to reach out to your photographer if you have any questions! It is part of my job to ensure you feel as confident as possible leading up to your session. I am always available to look over outfits and give suggestions!