Clothing for Portraits advice
This is my clothing for portraits advice and what to wear for that image that pops! I will just get right into it with a list of recommended and another list explaining why.
The list of recommendations:
- wear solid coloured clothing
- muted tones that are a bit subdued
- similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
- choose 1-3 colours 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 denim – all lighter, softer tones
- a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
- long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
- dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
- keep jewellery simple and minimalistic
- do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes
- if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session
Okay so I added a few bonus pointers on hair and makeup but they go right along with the clothing.
- wear solid colours so the viewer sees your face first. This also stops one person from standing out. Someone wearing stripes will stand out in a sea of solid colour.
- choose muted tones that are a bit subdued. This will make you are the subject, not your clothes. You will also not stand out in the group. Bright colours 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. Wearing a white top with black pants will make your top half look bigger for example.
- pick 1-3 colours for your group portrait. Pick ones with similar tones that go nicely together. 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 denim – all lighter, softer tones. So that we see the people first and your portrait looks stunning. This is why wedding photos look so good, they are all wearing the same colour palette.
- wear a top with sleeves at least to the elbow. Your arms take up more skin area than your face. This will result in the viewer being drawn to your arms first. Not your face. It will also make your arms look longer.
- 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. This will also make it a lot easier to sit and bend during the shoot.
- dark socks and footwear. Only because white sticks out so much and that will be noticed first before your face.
- Jewellery should be kept to a minimum. As with the other points. Too much will draw attention away from the face
- do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes. No need for fancy up dos with jeans. Similarly no pony tails with evening gowns, etc. It just simply doesn’t make sense. You wouldn’t normally do that to put on jeans and go to the park. This will help the images look timeless and better represent who you were then
- if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session. Fresh hair cuts rarely look their best the same or next day. Allow some time to live with your new look before your portrait session. Get practising styling it and letting it settle in and grow out a little.
Putting it all together
Most people opt for dark or black for colours. This is because they have heard it will make them look slimmer. To some degree that’s true. But light colours can work too if everyone in the group does similar. Little kids in denim and white tops with bare feet is super cute, as is little girls in white sun dresses. Don’t be afraid of other colours or tones, just keep them similar. Follow those tips above you and can’t go wrong. Remember these are just clothing for portrait advice. Feel free to break the rules!
If you want to discuss your ideas for a shoot, then please contact me here.
You can also find my prices on this page and you can book there too.