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Studio Shoot - What To Wear (and avoid)

Clothing Suggestions For Your Portrait Photography Session:

Selecting 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.

PLEASE NOTE: The short version of this article is this:

Post editing does not include removing items or jewelry that the client forgot to remove. It also excludes ironing clothes, erasing bra straps, removing excessive lint, changing the colour of a piece of clothing, shaving body parts and painting chipped fingers & toenails. Please make sure to remove items you do not want to show in the photos, eg piercings, jewelry. Ensure your outfits are clean, ironed and brushed free of excessive lint, especially for dark clothing. Make sure your underwear does not show when moving.

WEAR CLOTHING THAT FIT. I personally have been guilty of wearing clothes that are too big in effort to hide body parts. But, it actually creates the opposite result. So make sure to wear clothing that is tailored and fits you well. I will help pose you in the most flattering position for you.

DRESS KIDS IN CLOTHES THEY LOVE. For family photo shoots, dress your kids in clothes that they love. Don’t force kids to wear something that they don’t like. We want to keep them happy during the session. In addition, make sure your kids are fed and bring snacks and treats to keep everyone happy. Schedule your session after nap-time to bring out the sweet, happy nature of your children. For babies, make sure the nappy isn't visible or blends in with the rest of the outfit.

DARK CLOTHING TENDS TO SLENDERISE. Darker clothing helps to blend the bodies with the dark coloured background, so that the faces are the most important part of the photograph. Dark colors definitely tend to make the subject more slender.

Light colours would be more suitable if a white backdrop is preferred - Although the popular choice these days is dark backdrops. White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket are perfect however. If you are worried about not appearing slender then it is safer to avoid white. Please note: make sure your dark garment is brushed free of lint, especially velvet material. Studio lighting will pick up every single piece and make additional editing work lengthy (Only large & obvious pieces of lint will be edited out in standard editing)

TONE DOWN BRIGHT COLOURS. Please try to avoid plain white tops and fluorescent colored tops. Plain bright white tops will be the brightest thing in the image and will distract from your face (bright colors attract attention away from the face and may be reflective). Avoid wearing red, bright pink, bright green etc.

PRINTS, BIG TEXT AND PATTERNS ARE A DEFINITE NO. This includes logos. Avoid thin stripes, 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 herring-bone or checkered pattern) can cause terrible distortions to appear in the portrait that are not originally there.

AVOID SHORT SLEEVES 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 is a major distraction.

MATERNITY SHOOT: With a maternity shoot, you can have clothes that fit tightly to enhance the tummy. Some photos of the bare tummy is also nice so you'll need a top which gives easy access to the bare tummy - like a button up shirt. Don't forget to bring props like baby shoes and ultra sound photo.

Stain & Hair free. Make sure your clothes have no visible stains. Also ensure your dark clothes have been brushed to remove pet hairs and lint. Studio photoshoot photos are very sharp and every little piece of lint and hair will show. I'm not joking, every tiny details shows.

Don’t over accessorise! Overbearing or heavily noticeable accessories can be a major distraction. Simple and minimal works best. Thin scarves work very well for ladies.

Jewelry: Before the shoot, remove any jewelry or piercings you do not want to show in the photos. You are welcome to bring different items of jewelry to compliment your various outfits.

Glasses. Eye glasses may or may not be worn. Non-reflective lenses, of course, are a big help. Better yet, sometimes it’s possible to obtain a matching set of frames without any lenses. This is particularly helpful, if your lenses sometimes distort the outline of your face.

Make Up, Hair & Nails.

  • Bring your hairbrush to fix your hair in studio.

  • Make sure your nails are nicely manicured and that the nail colour compliments your outfits. Natural nail colours work best.

  • Hair styles should be simple and must be off the face. Hair falling down onto the sides of the face create distracting shadows. Bangs that come down too low onto the face will keep light from getting into the subject’s eyes – the very most important part of the face.

  • It is always a great idea to have your make up and hair professionally applied for your photography session (we have a makeup artist on request) . It will make a huge difference in how you look and feel.

Nails: I have to repeat this one as it is so often missed unfortunately: Ladies, Please please make sure your nails are nicely manicured. I often bring in the hands into the photo to enhance a pose and a badly manicured hand just ruins the whole photo.

Drugs: I have to mention this as it did happen before and there is no ways to fix it in post editing. No drugs are allowed in the studio or our premises. Some drugs also make the pupils dilate a lot and ruin close up shots, those shots cannot be fixed or edited.

Proper Necklines for a Portrait. The most flattering neckline for anyone is something that comes up close to the neck. A wide-open neckline tends to thicken the neck in a photograph. On the other hand, a neckline that comes up to the base of the neck – a turtleneck or a v-neck top is the most flattering. It tends to slim down the person and frames the face beautifully.

Group / family portrait sessions. Keep your clothing simple and coordinated, you don’t need to have everyone in the whole family wearing the exact same thing as it was fashionable in the 90's. I recommend that some of the family members mix it up a little by coordinating. By coordinating, rather than matching, we are looking to find a mix of unique clothing items that all look good together. Avoid loud or busy patterns and large logos. Solid colors are best. First, decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warm-toned (browns, etc.) or cool-toned (blues/grays/blacks, etc.) Then, make sure to follow all of the above instructions.

Keeping a group in similar colors focuses the attention of the portrait to the faces and individuals that make up the portrait. Dissimilar colors in groups tend to be more distracting.

Jeans are the 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 color-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 / khaki’s and plain tops are always very nice for a family portrait.

The day before the shoot: Prepare and pack everything you need for the shoot. Clothes, ties, hats, jewelry, accessories. Also pack your deodorant, a hairbrush and makeup touch up bag. You are also welcome to bring your phone music playlist that I can plug into my Bluetooth speakers.

FINAL THOUGHTS. Your portraits are meant to be enjoyed for generations to come. Fad-type clothing should be avoided, unless you are planning to have new portraits made annually. You will feel very rewarded when you view your photographs. All of your efforts will be worthwhile.



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