What Should I Wear for My Portrait Session?

There is no definitively right or wrong answer here, try to be yourself and dress in your own style, but here are a few tips.

For outdoor portraits, casual works best. Jeans and a solid or simple-patterned top work well. Crazy patterns are distracting and draw the eye away from the most important part- your faces! Darker colors are often better; not only are darks slimming, but too-light colors on some skin tones will make you look washed out. Neutrals/earth tones like browns, greens, and blues are nice. Be sure to complement the other people in the photo- don’t dress exactly alike, wear colors that go well together or different shades of the same color. Layering is a good idea, not only does it look nice for photos but you can take off the top layer for a new look without changing much.

Be conscious of your body, hide what you don’t like and accentuate your assets! If you hate your arms, wear long sleeves. Don’t wear tops that show tan lines or bra straps (consider the double sided fashion tape if this is an issue). Articles of clothing that are too small or “don’t hang right” won’t look better in photos that it looks in the mirror. Dress to impress from head to toe- I always do some full length shots, so make sure the shoes match the outfit!

If you wear transition lenses and are doing outdoor portraits, see about having the lenses taken out for the day of your shoot.

Regarding make-up, don’t be afraid to go a little heavy on the foundation and concealer (be sure it’s the right tone, and blend well at the jawbone to the neck area). Wear facial powder, and be sure to bring the compact for any touch ups, especially in the summer months. Avoid too much dark on the eyes, neutral/earth tones work well here too.

Be sure your nails are well manicured- especially for engagement sessions- we will be doing a few shots to showcase the ring! They don’t have to be painted, but make sure the nails are all even lengths with no hangnails. Dark nail polish shows up very dark in B&W portraits, so a medium shade or french manicure is better if you prefer them colored.

Accessories are always fun and can make a difference in the images. Be wary of huge earrings or necklaces that constantly need to be repositioned. Clean your jewelry if needed (especially for engagement sessions). Feel free to bring any “props” that echo your personalities (for example: a football, sunglasses, guitar, etc.)

For babies/kids:

Have a few outfits ready – a dressier one for the studio shots and more casual for outdoors. It is best to not dress them for photos until right before we start. For babies a diaper or bare butt shot is always cute! Any special blankets or stuffed animals are welcome, and it’s always good to have a rattle or favorite toy handy to get them to look at the camera. DON’T bring anything you definitely don’t want in the photos.

For babies that aren’t standing or walking yet, bare feet are best. Not only are they cuter than any shoe, but often you can only see the soles of the shoes on a sitting or laying down infant. For the newest of newborns, have a swaddle or receiving blanket we can wrap them up in if they get fussy.

Be sure to have a bottle (or boob!) for babies and snacks for kids… just nothing messy like chocolate or lollipops- small crackers like goldfish are best. We won’t break them out unless we need to, but sometimes it is a big help!

For maternity sessions:

In addition to the notes above, feel free to bring along one of your husband’s button down shirts, or a cute shawl we can wrap you in.
Be sure you are wearing a nice bra and underwear, and consider bringing a dark and light set (again, avoid crazy patterns). I know it can be tough to find nice looking underwear that fits well when you are pregnant; simple cotton black or white bikini cut works great, just make sure it covers the areas you want it to cover! I had good luck with a bikini when I had my maternity portraits done. For maternity sessions I prefer nails natural- just trim, file, and buff as needed.


I hope this helps you choose what to wear for your portrait sessions- feel free to email me photos of any outfits if you are unsure. As always, I am only a phone call or email away if you have any questions!