What to Wear to a Photography Session

Updated: Mar 20

Getting ready for a photoshoot can get quite stressful!

The reason for a photo session can dictate the location – an engaged couple who love the woods can find a nice park or wooded area in the city, a family which adores flowers can choose an arboretum or a park, baby’s 1st birthday can be at home or an event hall.

When to have your photo session depends on your availability but also the photographer’s vision – Golden Hour or morning light or stark contrast of the mid-day sun for those fashion-forward shots.

Posing can also feel a little challenging when there is no direction given by the photographer or if a couple feels uncomfortable being intimate in public.

Clothing on the other hand is very personalized and can’t be borrowed from a photo of another couple the way posing can be. Everyone wants to look great in what they are wearing, whether it’s a brand new outfit or a tried but true pair of jeans.

Clothing should also compliment the occasion celebrated, no one wants to see a casual outfit during a wedding shoot or a Halloween costume on the 4th of July.

Tips to what to wear in your next photo session

Sometimes the beginning is the hardest part because inevitably everyone in your family has their own taste. Maybe, starting with a single person’s opinion can help direct the ship in the right direction and away from the spiky reefs (arguments). Once the outfit has been chosen for the first person, everyone can riff off them with a similar color scheme, patterns, or style.

A mix of patterns

While I don’t normally recommend wearing patterns (checked, polka dots, stripes, hearts, etc), if well combined, can work quite well as is illustrated by these well-dressed families I photographed in Daejeon, South Korea. Such a cohesive look makes it seem as though the clients have really put their time into planning this session, which makes the photographer very pleased and more excited to shoot.

One color

Choosing a single color for everyone to wear can be incredibly challenging because not everyone may enjoy wearing that color or even have it in their closet. If you’re able to go out and purchase some new clothes, keep this photogenic style in mind!

Similar tones

While talking your dad into wearing pink or similar color with your daughter may feel like it’s going to make or break your family, perhaps sticking with similar color tones can do the trick.

Think 40 shades of grey, no really!

Think sky blue, cobalt blue, and navy.

Think yellows, oranges, and reds (this is a warm color palette)

Think greens, blues, and purples (this is a cool color palette)

Think whites, greys, and blacks

Do you see what I’m hinting at?

Let’s honor where you’re from!

A photographer’s dream is to have a client who is eager to showcase their native costumes or clothes during their session. Encourage them to go all out with accessories and things! It only adds to the atmosphere and theme and can definitely help to make photos more colorful and unique.

Matching footwear

Don’t underestimate the importance of shoes! Here in Korea, couples frequently purchase similar shoes in addition to matching shirts, jackets, or hats. Of course, they offer his and her sizes so girls don’t have to drown in a larger size but the styles are usually leaning in the masculine direction, rather than making fellas wear sandals or heels.

Everyone accessorize!

Creating fun and playful images during your photography session can be as easy as adding an accessory that everyone can wear. Think scarves, glasses, hats, umbrellas, drinks, or blankets – can all add to the photograph and create a sense of cohesion and good times!

Even a white bed shoot for some is a cute prop for a Halloween-themed session.

Another Session? Another You!

If you happen to have a second session with your photographer (always welcome!), feel free to change up your styles to create completely different looks. If the fall session had darker hues, brighten it up for spring!

Grab that gown and go!

Your photo session is your personal holiday! Treat yourself! Pamper your loved ones! It’s a special occasion, and even if it isn’t – make it one!

You may have an old homecoming gown lying around, or a tux you wore to someone’s wedding that is gathering dust, or you want to borrow a stunning outfit just for this occasion. Go ahead! Be my guest and let me photograph you!!!

So there you have a few wonderful ideas for your next photography session to make you look fantastic! It is no secret that clothing is one of the first impressions we get about people and since photographs haven’t learned to speak yet, you want to look your best in them! Remember that those memories last a lifetime and while you can have a new photo session at another time, your photographs will always remain on your photographer’s hard drive whether you liked your outfit or not.

Who knows maybe one day your very special outfit will make your photographer’s “How to Dress” blog post 😛

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