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What to wear? What to wear? Clothing Do's and Don't for a Photoshoot

Photo shoots are a blast, from picking out an outfit to the actual photo shoot. STOP right there though! Have you ever considered what to wear to your photoshoot? There are many things to consider when picking out the perfect outfit. You might be asking yourself what colors would I look good in? Are there colors to avoid? Are their certain materials that are a big NO NO? I know it can be overwhelming but that's why I am here to help. I have learned from experience that there are certain outfits that are a big green light and then there are some that are enormous red lights. Lets start with the basics colors.


Your color choice can make or break a photo shoot, but don't you worry your pretty little head it's not as hard as it sounds. Throughout my experience I have realized a few basic rules of thumbs. The first being stick with basic colors! let me repeat that for the people in the back, STICK WITH BASIC COLORS! I know the temptation can be strong to wear bold, colorful clothing. The issue with this is that when your photographer takes the picture and your clothing is very bright it can lead to the viewers eyes being drawn to the color and not the subject. Just take a look at the example. The bright clothes with the over exposed picture leads the viewers eyes to the color and not the people themselves. The best colors you can pick for a photo shoot depends on location and time of the year, but there are a few basic rules to follow.

  • Stick with basic colors

  • Colors should be subtle and subdued.

  • No white in an outdoor winter picture

  • No black in a dark, under exposed, poorly lit area.

These rules are not set in stone by any means but if you follow them they should greatly help the impact of your photos. Remember the location can greatly impact your color options same with the time of the year.

Time of the year & Location

This one is Simple! We touched base on it a little already but we will get into a little more detail here. When picking your outfit based on the location of the photo shoot keep in mind the lighting. Lighting is very important. If your photo shoot is on a beach, for instance, and the sun is shinning down, and you insist on wearing white or a bright color like yellow be prepared for a faded or washed out picture. Not saying this can't be corrected in post editing but its simpler if your outfit matches the occasion. Not saying you can't wear colors like yellow or white, just make them subdued and not so vibrant. For a client who wants a beach session I usually recommend that they stick with simple, airy clothing like a dress or a simple button up and maybe a vest. The colors I would recommend would be something like coral or navy blue, a simple white or yellow dress that isn't vibrant, as well as some accent colors. When choosing your outfit based on the time of the year make your decision based on the weather! No one wants to stand in 100 degree weather while wearing a full suit. Same goes with fall and winter, no one wants to be standing outside in a t-shirt while its freezing! Here is your rule for this one DRESS COMFORTABLE! If you're comfortable your pictures will reflect that. For a fall photo shoot I recommend my clients wear a simple muted sweater or a cardigan. The colors should be more neutral like browns, dark shades, or grays. You can wear a little bit more vibrant colors but again be careful not to over do it! See now that wasn't to hard! The last thing that I find is crucial to a great outfit is the accessories.


Dressing up is always fun. We get to wear ties, dresses, jewelry, a hat if the mood strikes us, but we have to be careful with our selections. This is going to be short and sweat. Do not overdo it on the accessories! I cannot stress this enough! This all goes back to the idea of not wanting to draw the attention away from the main focus, which should be the clients. I recommend, for women, a simple necklace and maybe a ring or bracelet. For men, you can't go wrong with a tie or a watch. When wearing a tie it should be either a plain color or a simple pattern. The color should accent what you're wearing or match the color of the other people in the picture. The reason behind this because when taking photos in a bright area, or when using flash, or when using any type of external lighting the light is going to bounce off of the accessories and make a glare in the photo. Again nothing a little post editing work can't fix, but why make extra work for yourself or the photographer?


As mentioned before, these are not cardinal rules. These are just things I have picked up throughout my career. I hope they help you stand out in your photo shoot or if your a photographer I hope they help you take better pictures to please your clients! Feel free to leave feedback! What suggestions do you have for people when picking out the right outfit?

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