What outfit should I wear for my photo session??? Clients have asked me this question SO many times — how to dress for your body type, shape, skin tone. choosing jewelry and shoes, and so on.
I have FINALLY compiled all your questions into ONE BIG GUIDE to help you choose an outfit that makes you feel like YOU.
Thank you to all the clients who reached out to me with their outfit questions!!! I have grouped the questions into “theme” questions to try to provide answers for everyone. ENJOY!!!
Question #1: How Do I Dress For My Body Type?
So you’ve browsed Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for outfit inspiration and found THE perfect outfit. The girl in the picture looks amazing, and you buy clothes that are basically the same as hers so you can recreate the outfit.
But what’s this? The outfit doesn’t work on you?! What works for someone else may not work for you at all, especially if their hair color, skin tone, and/or body type is TOTALLY different from yours. So, let’s unpack this with a few examples of how to find clothes that fit your body type:
What Is Your Body Type?
When thinking about how to dress for your body shape, first consider how CURVY your body is. Girls on the curvier side can emphasize those fabulous curves with fitted tops that show off your waist. Stay away from boxy or very flowy, loose tops that hide your shape.
If you want to look TALLER consider tucking your top into high or mid-rise jeans/pants to make your legs appear longer. Also look for tops that expose your neckline and make your neck look longer, such as a scoop neck or v-neck.
What Colors Should You Wear For A Photoshoot?
If you are looking for something quick, there are some colors that look good on everyone. A few examples are taupe, teal, navy blue, eggplant purple, pale pink, and true red. You can also go for a cream or bright white top, depending on your skin tone, and this will provide a crisp look when paired with a nice pair of jeans, dress pants, or a skirt. My personal favorites are white and pale pink!
If you want color in your outfits then first determine what colors will match your skin tone and hair color. Decide if you are more warm with yellow undertones or cool with pink undertones. It is helpful to look at photos of yourself as opposed to just looking in the mirror so you can compare your skin tone with various clothing colors.
When choosing your outfit be sure not to MIX too many colors. Pair a coloured top with black or white pants and neutral shoes. Choose a monochromatic outfit consisting of clothing all from the same color, such as white and cream or charcoal and light grey. Look up “monochromatic outfit” on Google to see what I mean.
Here are two VERY helpful links that go into WAY more detail about choosing clothes that suit your body type and skin tone: Click here for a complete guide from Nordstrom on determining your body type and selecting clothes that will show it off beautifully. Click here for a guide on determining your skin tone and your “season” based on your skin tone and hair.
I know, finding my season is completely new to me too, BUT it is incredibly helpful for picking the colors that will suit YOU and not that influencer you follow on Instagram.
Now here are some photo examples of what we talked about in Question #1. After all, this is a PHOTOGRAPHY blog. The ladies in the photos below chose outfits that hug their curves in the right places and elongate their bodies (v-necks, tops and dresses that are fitted at the waist, high to mid-rise pants, tucked shirts, neutral tones, colors suited to their skin tone, etc).
Question #2: Can I Wear A Pattern?
“Michael always says ‘K-I-S-S. Keep it simple, stupid.’ Great advice. Hurts my feelings every time.” – Dwight Schrute
I swear I can find a quote from The Office for almost every life situation. Let this quote be a guide when you are deciding whether to wear a pattern. You will probably be MUCH happier with the photos if you choose an outfit made up of simple, solid colors.
I know, I know, it seems SO boring when you put on an all black outfit, or a white T-shirt and jeans. Where are the cute polka dots? The fun floral?! You paid money to have your picture taken and you are wasting it with this dull outfit. Well I can assure you that it will not seem that way when I send you the finished product!!
Check out the photos below for proof!!! Each of the ladies in the photos below followed Michael Scott’s advice and kept it simple. So go against your instinct to reach for the patterns and you won’t be sorry!
If you are devoted to patterns then consider the location you will be shooting in. If you will ONLY be on a bare sandy beach with water as your background or an empty grassy field, then you can get away with more subtle patterns like plaid or floral. It may even create a theme that suits your location (more on that in Question #4).
Question #3: How Do I Coordinate With My Babe?
When considering what colors you should wear for engagement photos (or any couples session), here are two main ways to coordinate well together:
Dress The Same, But Different
You and your babe choose an item of clothing that is the same or very similar to each other while making the rest of your outfit neutral. One way to do this is to choose a “his” and “hers” jacket.
You’ll want to look like you’ve coordinated without looking like you are the same person. Check out the photos below for some sweet examples of denim and leather coordination!
Keep Your Babe Neutral
The OTHER way you can coordinate well with your babe is to keep him neutral.
Guys, look for black, white, beige, or a combination of those to ensure that you will pair perfectly with whatever outfits your girl decides to wear (even if she changes her mind a few times before our session date). Check out the photos below to see some neutral and classy men’s outfits.
Question #4: How Do I Dress For My Location?
Photos tell a story with the help of the location and YOU as the main characters. This is your chance to choose clothes that help tell that story. The photos below provide three examples of dressing for your location to perfectly capture your love story. We have a snowy mountain adventure, a cozy couple on a stroll in the fall, and a dreamy wind-swept beach couple at sunset.
If you are unsure what kind of outfit would suit your theme, try searching “mountain photoshoot” or “beach photoshoot” on Google to get an idea of what you could wear. You could also browse Nicholas Sparks movie covers. Or just shoot me a message!!!!
Question #5: Do I Dress Comfortable Or Formal?
I have been asked this a lot, and I ALWAYS recommend a formal outfit AND a casual outfit. But they can BOTH be comfortable!! It’s important that you are able to move around in your formal outfit because you’ll probably want photos of you doing more than just standing perfectly still.
No matter what story you are trying to tell with your photos or what location we have chosen for your session, there is a way to dress it up or down for a more casual wear photoshoot. Whether it’s a long bohemian style dress at the beach or an elegant lace dress in the forest, find what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable.
ALSO, you will already be dressed up for a date night after your photo session with me. So be sure to set something up!!!
Question #6: Will A Long Dress Be TOO Formal?
Absolutely not! Every girl looks absolutely stunning in a long dress, and this photo session is your opportunity to wear something that you wouldn’t usually get to wear. Long dresses are also surprisingly practical for photo sessions because you don’t have to worry about flashing your underwear when you are moving around and posing in different ways.
If long dresses are still not your thing, a jumpsuit can serve the same purpose. See the middle photo below for an example of how classy a jumpsuit can look in photos. It is also just as practical for moving around!
Question #7: How Do I Choose Accessories For A Photoshoot?
Here is another topic where Michael Scott’s philosophy is spot on! K.I.S.S….Keep it simple stupid!!! As with busy clothing patterns, TOO MANY accessories will also clash with your background.
Necklaces and hats are perfect accessories for a photoshoot as they can dress up a neutral, solid-coloured outfit. When choosing a necklace, lean towards small, simple shapes rather than chunky or colorful pendants.
Consider layering dainty necklaces for a feminine look. When choosing a hat, you can never go wrong with a neutral color like black or a shade of brown/beige. See the photos below for examples of simple necklaces and neutral hats.
Question #8: What Shoes Should I Wear?
Choose shoes that are SIMPLE and COMFORTABLE. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a heel on them if that’s the look you’re going for. Find some heels you are comfortable moving around in, whether that’s a chunkier heel or a stiletto.
Heels can really dress up an outfit, as you can see in the photos below. It’s a great idea to bring an extra pair of more comfortable shoes if you don’t usually wear heels so you have something to change into.
If heels aren’t your thing, you can still look just as dressed up in flats, mules, loafers, and so on!
Question #9: I Have A Second Outfit, Where Do I Change?
Have no fear!!! I will bring a blanket for your babe to hold up for you while you change outfits. As another option, there is usually a public restroom around depending on the location of our session, OR a car makes a great change room!
Question #10: Where Can I Find The Perfect Outfit For My Photoshoot?
Local Brands to Check Out
Bella and Wren, a boutique located in Fort Langley, is an excellent choice if you are looking for timeless clothes in neutral colors, dainty jewelry, and gorgeous hats. They also carry home and beauty products! Check them out here!
Muse Social Fashion House is a boutique located in South Surrey. They carry SO many beautiful options, particularly if you’re looking for a Boho Chic look. Kate in the left photo below is wearing a lovely neutral dress from their shop. Find them here!
Hunni’s is a boutique located in Langley that also carries a ton of options for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Like the shops above, they also offer a lot of neutral colors and timeless designs. Find their website here!
These are just a few options, but there are SO many lovely local shops to check out if you do a Google search.
Also check out H&M, American Eagle, Aritzia, and RW&Co for photo session outfits.