When you book a shoot, you probably already have a location and time of day in mind. But did you know your outfit is just as critical when it comes to styling your photoshoot? What you wear sets the tone. Different patterns, colors, and textures can either work in your favor or work against you. Your outfit should make you feel good in front of the camera, and just as importantly, it should make you look good. In this article, I'll give you tips on styling your outfits for shoots as well as provide a few sample color palettes to guide you.
1. Determine The Mood
Think about how you want these photos to feel. Is this a holiday photoshoot with family? A romantic engagement shoot? Are you taking serene oceanside photos, or edgy cityscape portraits? When choosing what to wear, you should coordinate with the feeling of the photoshoot. If you're going for a romantic feel, lean into warm tones like mauve, burgundy, and creams. If you want peaceful and airy photos, dress for it with whites, light blues, soft greens and delicate pastel florals. If you want photos that will hang in your house year-round, I suggest choosing neutrals, earth tones, or styles that reflect your house color scheme.
2. Choosing Fabrics
Fabric styles can be really fun to play with in photos. If you are doing group photos, try mixing up fabric types by having a few outliers wearing a texture like corduroy, velvet, lace, or satin. It will add dimension to your photos, and it can make a shoot feel more creative. Different fabrics catch light differently and might bring opportunity for unique photos. For example, I wore a floor length green lace dress for my engagement photos, and the shadows from the lace added a beautiful and romantic element to the shots. It's also important to think about movement. Looser clothing items that move with the wind can add depth and drama. Think about how to make your photos more dynamic with the fabrics and styles you choose.
3. Coordinate, But Don't Match
Everyone in your photos should not be wearing the same color. You want everyone to be distinct, but not look out of place. This goes for colors as well as patterns. For example, if everyone is wearing stripes, it's going to cause a headache when you look back at the pictures. If everyone is wearing blue, all of your bodies are going to blend together and it removes opportunity for dimension. Select a color palette of colors that complement one another. You want colors that blend well without competing. Avoid pairing opposite colors (like green and red, purple and yellow, orange and blue, etc). I've provided a few example color palettes below.
4. Stand out
The key for photography is contrast. The subject should contrast with what is around them. You don't want to blend right into the background. If your only backdrop is blue, you might not want to wear blue yourself. If you are in a green field, it might be hard to spot you if you are also wearing green. This goes for patterns too. If you are taking photos in a busy setting like downtown, try choosing a simple pattern so you don't blend into the noise of the setting. If your scenery is neutral, try going for a bold or bright color in your styling so that you stand out. Think about where you'll be and go from there. The goal of your photos is to see you.
5. It Should Feel Like You
Most importantly, you should choose an outfit that makes you feel good. If you love wearing yellow, wear it. If you feel cute in a big floppy hat, bring it! Don't choose a color scheme or an outfit simply because it's trendy. Make sure it will feel like you when you look back on the photos. You can always bring multiple outfit choices to the photoshoot too. Your personal style can bring a lot to the table. As a photographer, I want my clients to feel beautiful and confident in front of the camera, and having the right outfit can help more than you think.
I hope you found this article helpful. Remember, photographers are happy to help you when it comes to styling. Every photographer has their opinions and can tell you what they think will look best in front of the camera. We want your photos to look beautiful just as much as you do, so don't hesitate to reach out!
If you have more specific styling questions, you can reach me via email or over on my instagram. Happy shooting!