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What to Wear for your Portrait session

December 11, 2014

One of the first questions I am asked when someone schedules a portrait session is, “What should I wear?”  So, I thought I would prepare a little handy, dandy guide to help you!

                                          “What to Wear for your Portrait Session” Guide



Here are a few suggestions/ideas on clothing, hair, etc for your portrait session. (For families, groups, headshots, and engagement sessions)

Think about your own personal style. You will feel most comfortable and your portraits will reflect you, if you choose clothes and styles that are your own. If you love sweater dresses and boots, wear your best version of that. If you are a dress pants, blouse and blazer person, then wear a version of this. Do you prefer casual or dressier? Heels, tall boots, or flats?  Wear the best of your own personal style. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show.

Start with one outfit piece that you really like. From there, build from it. Layer, layer, layer! Layers add dimension and depth. Layer your dress with a cute belt and pendant necklace. For fall and winter, add cardigans, belts, statement necklaces, scarves, and blazers, all great layering pieces.

Avoid fluorescents, and avoid whites directly near your face. Fluorescent colors tend to         color cast on faces, necks and hair.  I always recommend versions of primary colors. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal). White tops generally wash people out in photos, so I suggest staying away from white altogether unless it’s just an accent color. Men, if you wear a colorful tie and a jacket or vest, a white dress shirt is ok.  Small checks, plaids and stripes are acceptable, just not too large and busy for group shots.

Wear clothes that fit, and fit well. Keep in mind that for pictures, too large of a shirt, or a jacket that’s falling off the shoulders looks unkempt.  Choose something that fits perfectly, or even just a little bit snug. Make it look almost tailored. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jacket will not compliment shape. It hides hips and waist for women.  Even if it’s just a little snug in the shoulders, it should lay nicely around your hips and waist, creating a tailored look.

Dress for the weather, and be flexible. Be prepared to be flexible with wardrobe, in case you have to switch it up last minute. Dress appropriately for the weather that day, even if it doesn’t go with your original plan. And you know New England weather! You need to be comfortable or you will not look relaxed.  Please bring a coat or jacket that works with your outfit.

Ask a friend or loved one. They will see you better than you see yourself when trying on clothes. If he/she tells you it looks great, believe them! We’re our own worst critics.

Accentuate your best assets. If you’re self conscious about your stomach and upper arms, but like your legs, wear a shorter dress with a fitted blazer or cardigan over it. Showing off your assets, while concealing the parts you don’t like so much. Be aware of the neckline. A v-neck or crew neck is much more flattering than a turtleneck.

Shoes are a very important part of wardrobe. Wear shoes that coordinate with the outfit you choose. And men especially, please polish leather shoes.

Wear your hair how you normally would for work/evening out. No new hairstyles or haircuts. If you must have a haircut just before your session, please tell your stylist you are having your picture taken and to please trim but not drastically cut.

Make-up. Ladies, please wear make-up such as you would if you were going out in the evening. A little more concealer, foundation, eye make-up and blush than what you would regularly wear during the day is recommended.   Lipstick is a must. If you don’t normally wear any color on your lips, this might seem strange but trust me on this one. All it takes is a little. You will look much more alive and vibrant with some lipstick that matches your skin tones. And please, bring your make-up and a comb or brush with you to the session for last minute touch-ups.

Thanks! Feel free to ask me any questions. And I look forward to working with you! 

If you would like to contact me, you may email me at: or we can connect at one of these locations.

© Nanette Faye Photography 2014

Document may not be reproduced without the expressed consent of the writer.

One Comment leave one →
  1. dardeela permalink
    December 11, 2014 4:23 pm

    This is great! Maybe I should start wearing lipstick…


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