Northern Ireland Family photographer

Clothing Suggestions For Your Portrait Photography Session.

What to wear for a photo shoot is one of the questions we get asked the most often and rightly so, because how you dress can have a big impact on the images we create for you. We plan the session to give you the best possible chance of looking amazing for your portrait with help & direction from my experience. But obviously, the subject (you) also plays a big part in the final product. The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is a critical factor in the preparation for a successful portrait. If the clothing is noticeable or overbearing in a portrait, it could easily become a distraction. Clothing that does not attract attention to itself is the ultimate goal. It could be the difference between a very successful portrait and just another picture. You may be asked to change your clothing selection before I take your portraits if you do not follow these basic guidelines.

family photographer northern ireland

1. Comfort

This is the most important tip, wear something comfortable. Being uncomfortable is the worst feeling you can have when you are on a photoshoot. Wear something that you feel comfortable in, something that makes you feel gorgeous and confident. We’ll be asking you to move around and be natural. Don’t wear something you are uncomfortable in that makes your movements restricted and unnatural. When you feel great, that confidence will shine through in your portraits!

2. Colours

  • Stick to clothing in solid colours. Blue, green and red tend to convert best to black & white if that’s the style of portrait you prefer.  Be careful with white though as it tends to be very distracting especially if you have a darker skin tone. As a general rule, darker colours will blend into the background more while lighter colours will give that fresh, vibrant look. This is why you often hear people say that darker colours are slimming. Also, wearing either solid black or solid white, especially on the top half of your body will change the look of your face drastically. Try it out in the mirror before you come.

Coordinate colours with the family. By this we mean, make sure colours don’t clash! When it comes to families we are dealing with multiple sets of clothes (we hope) and probably different colours. The more we can have these colours complement each other the better.

Dress for the same season. If someone in your family is wearing a warm jacket, it’s not a good idea for someone else to be wearing a summer outfit, similar to the point above if the more we can keep styles similar the better. Otherwise, unwillingly, you might have one person standing out in your portrait.

3. Prints & Patterns

I generally advise against bold prints & patterns. This includes logos. Avoid prints of any kind and patterns. No matter how small the print or the pattern, it will become a distraction. In the case of digital portraits, in particular, small patterns in clothing (even a small herringbone or checkered pattern) can cause terrible distortions to appear in the portrait that is not originally there.

A few bonus tips

  • Tone down bright colours. Bright colours attract attention away from the face and may be reflective. Avoid wearing red, bright pink, bright green etc. When choosing lighter colours, stick to pastels, but avoid pink tones. Pale yellow and pale blue work well, especially with jeans or kaki pants. These colours work great in nature for example if you have a sunset photography session booked.
  • Layered clothing works really well – it’s the easiest way to get a number of looks from your photo shoot without having to get changed multiple times. We can get many different shots from different layers of clothing. It gives us a number of options to play with and it can be surprising how the same set of clothes can give such a variety of shots.

Avoid short sleeve clothing and short pants. Long-sleeved clothing is a MUST! For casual portraits, it is equally important to wear long pants instead of shorts. When arms and legs are exposed to the camera there will be more flesh in the photograph in those areas than on the face, itself. This can cause a significant distraction.

Don’t over-accessorise! Overbearing or heavily noticeable accessories can be a major distraction. Simple and minimal works best.

Teens. Teens have their OWN sense of style – I love to let them express it however they wish.

Group/family portrait sessions. Keep your clothing simple and coordinating. It must be carefully selected to blend the bodies together. Avoid loud or busy patterns and large logos. Solid colours are best. First, decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warm-toned (browns, etc.) or cool-toned (blues/greys/blacks, etc.) Then, make sure to follow all of the above instructions. Keeping a group in similar colours focuses the attention of the portrait onto the faces and individuals that make up the portrait. Dissimilar colours in groups tend to be more distracting. White tops with jeans can look very nice and casual, but if anyone in your family is super pale, white can make pale skin look paler. Jeans are a timeless choice and they’re great for fun, casual pictures because they are flattering and don’t show wrinkles or panty lines. Lighter shirts on top give the pictures a more casual and bright look. Pastels are also usually appealing because they enhance natural skin tones. Black or other dark shirts on top give the portraits a more serious and thoughtful feel (not to mention that black is slimming). Everyone should have colour-coordinated outfits (Not a uniform necessarily, but there should be a theme). For the children, choose outfits that fit well without a lot of “growing room”. Jeans/Chinos and white or black tops are always very nice for a family portrait.

Wear something that is true to your personality – This is our number one recommendation. If you are not used to wearing a dress and high heels, then don’t. You’ll feel out of place and that will definitely come out in the photos. We aim to capture you in a relaxed state that lets the real you shine through. While you do need to be mindful of what you wear, you don’t need to dress up like someone you’re not. Family portraits are commonly displayed in high viewing areas to be seen by friends, family and visitors, they already know how you look normally. We don’t want to see a fake put-on version of you, we want to see the best version of the real you.

Want to chat about a family portrait?

Use the calendar below to book a call to chat with me and see how we can get you the portrait you want to brighten up any wall.

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