Behind the Lens: What should we wear?

by Cassie Lynn

What should we wear?

It’s the number one question photographers get asked before a portrait session.

I’ve photographed hundreds of families, and, I am telling you, I have seen it ALL! But after a few years of doing this photo thing, I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of easy tips and questions to ask yourself as you prep and dress for your session.

1. Color and color schemes

color-1.jpg

This can be the toughest part about choosing outfits for your shoot.  There are so many different colors out there and narrowing it down can be a little confusing.

To start, try thinking about...

  • The season (bright spring vs. rustic fall)
  • The look of your environment or background
  • The look or mood are you going for (fun and bright, or soft, subtle, or gentle)
  • The outfits you already own - keep it easy!

Try a couple colors that “go” together and avoid everyone being in the same color, so it’s not too matchy matchy. People will blend into each other if they all wear the same color.

The blue and yellow combination in the example gives off a very fun and playful feel to the photo. Another example of a good color combo is of the couple who is wearing the deep purple and blue. The deeper colors give it a soft or romantic feel. Color can definitely change the way the portrait feels.

Some colors combos that are fun to photograph are blue and yellow, red and navy blue, burgundy and a bright mustard yellow. 


2. Pattern

Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to mix pattern…just don’t go overboard. The rule of thumb is to mix subtle patterns together and bold patterns in with solids. So go ahead and wear that polka dot collared shirt and have your significant other wear the striped sweater.


3. Be comfortable!

I cannot stress this enough! To put it plain and simple, if you aren't comfortable in what you are wearing, you will not look comfortable in your pictures.

Another reason I say this to people is because I want them to be as close to being themselves as possible. Being in front of a camera is nerve-wracking enough as it is, and now we add an uncomfortable outfit... yikes.

Pick something that really reflects your personality, and I promise you'll this shine through in your photos.


4. What is your background or environment?

I mentioned this a little earlier, but I want to mention it again because it’s important. Really think about what colors might be reflected in your environment and what would compliment that.

In addition, think about this in a practical way. Lets say we are set to shoot in the middle of a grassy field... maybe those 6 inch high heels aren't the best of choices.


5. Don’t forget the layers and accessories

My favorite tip…do not forget the accessories and layers!

Accessories can definitely help round out your whole outfit or series of outfits. Don’t forget about the scarves, boots, belts, hats, shoes, necklaces, earrings, rings or headbands. Be fun and playful!

This definitely ties in with the idea of color that I talked about earlier. Sometime’s the accessories can be the pop of color and make the photo a little more dynamic and interesting.


Hopefully instead of confusion, you can approach that closet with confidence. Ultimately, it’s all about finding something that reflects your family’s personality!