FAQs: Portraits – What to Wear? and Other Pointers

Portraits: What to Wear?

Clothing choices for portraits are important, but don’t have to be difficult. Here are a few suggestions – and some “do’s” and “don’ts” – that should help.

Keep It Simple!

Keep your clothing simple and coordinating. When a group is dressed in similar colors, the attention of the portrait is focused on the faces and individuals that make up the portrait. Dissimilar colors in groups tend to be more distracting.

Don’t:             Loud or busy patterns and large logos should be avoided.

Don’t: Plaid, small checks, stripes, and loud large prints & neon are very distracting in an image and should be avoided.

Do:            Solid colors are best.

What about White?

White is great if we are going to the beach for portraits, but otherwise it’s to be avoided. White clothing is generally brighter than the person wearing it, and tends to wash people out. You – and not your white shirt – should be the star of your portrait!


Black is classic, always in style, and looks good in just about every environment (except the beach). BUT – black by itself can be boring. Adding a pop of color with belts, scarves or other accessories adds some interest – or you can pair a black jacket with a bright top for a great choice.

Coordinate or Match?

Everyone in the portrait should have color-coordinated outfits. We suggest a theme, but not a uniform.

The Fit

When shopping for kids, moms (me included) like to buy clothes that have “room to grow.” In portraits, that “growing room” wrinkles and is unattractive. We want to choose outfits that fit well, not “glove tight” but without a lot of “growing room.”

On the Bottom

Since your slacks and skirts will show in your portraits, keep everyone in the same color on the bottom. If you’re going with jeans, make sure that everyone’s jeans are similar in tone. Avoid mixing washed faded jeans on some people and dark jeans on others. Keep the bottom the same – then, change it up a bit on top.

Where do I start?

If you are still struggling, choose a color you like to wear to start with. For example, if you like purple, then you can mix grays and blacks with different shades of purple. Think in terms of keeping your family in the same palette of colors.

And of course, if you have questions about particular combinations, just text or email me some photos, and I’ll help you decide!

Other Pointers

Many clients forget about make-up, nail polish and haircuts, and what a big difference they make to your photographs, so please keep in mind the following:

  • Make-up: Ladies, be sure to bring any necessary makeup for touchups.
  • Nail Polish: Make sure that there is no chipped polish on hands and feet. We may make some portraits barefoot.
  • Haircuts: Men should avoid getting a haircut just before a session.