Figuring out what to wear for a photo session can be stressful. Wardrobe is something that can make or break a photo session, and how you look can affect your confidence level during the shoot and will have a great impact on how you feel about the outcome. What you are wearing is just as important as lighting, location and posing. Ideally, you want to choose clothing that will help flatter you and make you look your best, and to help draw attention to YOU rather than what you are wearing. You'll want to avoid just throwing something together right before your session --take the time to consider your wardrobe and make those pictures look their best. Here are some tips to help you in the selection process:
Dress comfortably for your body type
Everyone has areas that make them feel self conscious. Feeling confident in what you’re wearing will have an impact on how you feel about the outcome of your photos. When you think about body type, don't think about height and weight, think about SHAPE. Dark colors work great to minimize problem areas, but don't be afraid to use pops of color, patterns, textures and accessories to accentuate the right places!
Think of the theme
At Pretty Bird Photography, we do many specialty shoots many of which give a specific mood and feeling to the end photograph. Think of the theme you want, do you want a vintage feel, or a more modern look? Do you want your photos to feel peaceful and serene? Or do you want them to be energetic, fun and bright? Consider the types of props you might use, and the setting and background of your pictures, and let your clothing choices reflect the style you want in your pictures.
Think of the setting
Consider where you will be taking the pictures, and how your clothing choices in that setting might look. Some styles combined with some settings can look distracting and out of place. Consider the colors in the surrounding area, and consider choosing complementary colors for that setting.
Decide on a color scheme
The first thing you'll want to consider when thinking of color is if you plan to hang the portraits in your home, and if so, what colors would compliment your decor. Do you like bright colors? Neutrals? It's worth considering if and where you will hang the pictures, and letting that guide you towards the right palate.
Admittedly, I have a lot of pictures in my house of my family in matching clothing. I like the uniformed, organized, symmetrical feeling it can give a photo. However, it can be boring, doesn't give much room for personality and overall, it doesn't really "draw you into" a photo visually but rather makes you skim it over since nothing catches the eye. I've since switched to coordinating colors rather than matching for my personal photos, and done right, it can make make your photos unique and interesting. I recommend picking two to three colors and then working around those pops of color when considering where to add your coordinating browns, blacks, greys, white and denims. Remember, think POPS of color to break up the neutral tones. Don't go overboard because it can lead to a distracting mess.
Avoid all white or all black clothes
Whites tend to "blow out" in photos causing it to loose detail and sometimes even washing out skin tones. Instead, consider using white as an accent color, perhaps underneath a jacket or top. The same goes with black, you can get clipping, and loose detail. Depending on the background, dressing in all black can leave you looking like a floating head.
Select one focal piece
Once you've chosen a basic color palette, choose a patterned piece for someone to wear. It can help to have a piece that the rest of the group's clothing/accesories can pull from, to make the whole image pull together well. Sometimes (not always) it's easier to find the right patterned pieces in girls and women’s clothing, so consider starting with the females and pulling colors from their outfits to create something for boys and dads.
I know I just told you to pick a pattern, but remember, everyone in the photo shouldn't wear patterns as it may distract the final image. Think of solids and neutrals, and using accessories to add flair.
Just like patterns, characters on shirts can be pretty distracting and can ruin the effect and mood you might want to convey in your picture.
Distribute the colors
Once you've selected your main colors, break them up! You don't want all the colors in once place, like on top with all your shirts, but rather distributed evenly throughout the photo in different pieces, like in jewelry, hair accessories, shoes, skirts, pants and ties.
Split up the colors
If you have natural pairs in the family: like parents or siblings --any pairs that might end up standing close to one another, consider splitting up the color distribution, and not dressing the set in like colors. The condensed colors can stick out like a sore thumb.