There are so many factors that determine the outcome of your photos: location, time of day (lighting), weather, your photographer, etc. But it might surprise you to learn that you actually have a huge amount of control over the overall feel and end result of your photos: what you wear! In my opinion as a photographer, outfit choices can make or break your photos. So that’s why today, I’m going to help you make the best possible choices to ensure you feel as much like yourself as possible!
First of all, let’s clear up some common (and maybe outdated) misconceptions about what to wear for your photos!
MYTH ONE : “Avoid neutrals, they wash you out.” No, no, no! Neutrals are the most photogenic color for portrait photography! Of course, everyone has certain colors that just don’t work for them, but in general, neutrals not only photograph the best, but also are the most flattering and timeless for your photos.
MYTH TWO : “Wear black, it’s the most flattering color.” Don’t get me wrong, I love a timeless black dress, but for photography, it can completely change the entire vibe of your photos. The same can be said of all dark colors–they change the entire vibe of the photo to be darker and heavier. If you want light, airy, dreamy photos, I’d recommend sticking to a lighter color.
MYTH THREE : “Match each other’s outfits!” Don’t try to match your significant other! There’s no team uniform here! Instead, try to coordinate colors that look good together without actually wearing the same thing. For example, if you’re wearing a blush pink dress, perhaps your fiancé can wear a touch of pink in his outfit as well.
MYTH FOUR : “Location is everything for your photos.” While a dramatic backdrop does add an incredible touch of drama to your photos, there is so much more that goes into it from a photography perspective, like the direction of the sun and, you guessed it–your outfits. You two are still the main focus of the images!
Here are some general “rules of thumb” when it comes to styling during a session. Once you read through these, you may have a better understanding of what you prefer and you can start planning your outfits, and of course you are more than welcome to text or email me with questions or ideas! There are no right or wrong answers–if we are doing multiple outfits for your session, maybe you want one to be dressy, and the other casual; maybe you want one to be light and neutral, and the other more colorful.
Colors to avoid : bright reds, neons, bright oranges (they reflect color onto skin and can be difficult to edit!). A color that you don’t necessarily need to avoid, but a caution color is blue. Blue jeans, navy, etc. can drag down the feel of the photo and make it very cold-feeling! Not exactly the warm, dreamy vibe so many of my clients crave!
Avoid patterns smaller than a quarter : Tiny patterns cause something called “Chromatic Abberation” in digital images. Men’s checkered shirts are fine if the “checks” are on the larger side.
Alternate Heaviness: If one of you is wearing very dark jeans, the other may want to wear lighter pants. If one of you is wearing a navy top, the other shouldn’t wear a dark/heavy colored top. To a certain degree, alternating the “heaviness” of your outfits can make your images look more balanced. Something to consider: when you think of your favorite inspiration photos, often times the couple is wearing something that would feel incredibly dressy in real life, but looks perfect for the photo. In my opinion, the camera makes outfits look more casual, so what a perfect time to dress up!
Avoid one of you being casual while the other is more dressy: This can look a bit awkward in photos. If one of you is dressed up and the other is casual, it can look a little odd in your images. Plus, what a better reason to dress up than getting photos taken!
Other things to avoid: Tennis shoes, Graphic tees, Bold logos on shirts, Sunglasses & Baseball Hats.
If you’re hoping for photos with a romantic vibe that includes those timeless, light and airy colors, you can actually make outfit choices that will make your images turn out brighter, softer and extra photogenic! Here are some things to consider. It’s also important to note that you do not need to implement all of these things in order to have a romantic or timeless vibe to your images, but the more you include, the more romantic it will be:
One final thing to consider is hair and makeup. Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, it’s important to consider this: if you wear a light amount of makeup every day, you might want to consider a little extra for your photos, as the camera always makes it look like you’re wearing less makeup than you are! That’s why false eyelashes are often a popular choice for photos, because it’s easier to see them than a natural amount of mascara. If you need local recommendations for my favorite hair and makeup artists, I’d be happy to recommend some!
Lastly, don’t forget that your photographer is there to help you! You guys share the same goal: you both want your photos to be an incredible triumph, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about outfits & styling!
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