What do I wear for my photo session?

One of the most common questions we hear as photographers is “What do I wear for my photo session?”.  The best advice we can give you is to wear something comfortable.  What exactly that means is up to you.  Are you more comfortable in jeans or do you like to dress up?  If you’re not comfortable for the shoot, it may show in the photos.

Beyond the comfort aspect, you will want to consider the purpose of the shoot.  Is it a family portrait or will the shots be used on a corporate website?    Your purpose may dictate to some degree whether your attire will be casual or more refined.

Another consideration is colour.  If there is only one person in the portrait, choosing clothing colours will be easier.  If there is more than one person in the photo, consider wearing clothing in similar tones.  You don’t have to get too “matchy, matchy”, but similar tones will keep the focus evenly on the subjects.  If one person is in bright yellow while the others are all in subtler earth tones, anyone looking at the photo will be drawn to the person in bright yellow.  Trendy colours tend to date a photo more than classic neutrals.  Dark or subdued colours tend to be flattering.

Add some texture and variety to your look by layering clothing pieces and adding accessories – simple jewelry pieces, a scarf, etc.

Fit is also important.  Avoid anything that is too tight or very baggy.  Long sleeves may be a more flattering choice than short sleeves or sleeveless.

Finally, you may also want to avoid:

  • clothing with text or logos on it as such items will also draw the eye of someone looking at the photo (though there will, of course, be times when text and logos are completely appropriate); and
  • busy patterns – a patterned scarf may be fine, but a striped dress may be a bit distracting.

These guidelines apply equally to children.

That said, these are just guidelines and you are welcome to wear whatever you want for your session, keeping in mind that comfort is key.

One final note, if you normally wear glasses all the time, you should probably wear them for your photo session.  Keeping the glasses close to your face (not slipping down your nose) and tilting your chin down slightly will help to reduce glare.


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