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style inspiration & what to wear

A portrait is an important piece of personal and family history.  It's a time to dress up, have a little fun, and let your true style shine through.  Below are a few tips and tricks to help as you plan your wardrobe for our session.  While these are not hard rules, please do keep them in mind as they are strong recommendations for planning your portrait session.

Surroundings Matter

Be mindful of our session location.  If our session is during the summer at a park, avoid wearing green as you may blend into the background.  Also, think about where you will hang printed portraits or canvas' from our session.  Do you want your outfits to compliment a particular room/color scheme in your home or office?

Things to Avoid

  • Small Patterns: Thin stripes, tiny checks, small dots and herringbone; they are confusing and do not photograph well.  

  • Avoid Light Colors with Fair Skin: This includes flesh tones, beige, tan, peach, pink, white and yellow.  They tend to wash out a picture.

  • Avoid Solid Black: Wearing black from head to toe does not translate well in portraits.  It takes away visual interest (and is often not as flattering as hoped).  Try pairing black with a colorful cardigan, adding a splash of color with a scarf, or layering a black cardigan with a pop of color underneath to help break up the dark color and add style and interest.

  • Avoid Matching Group Outfits (unless it is a uniform): Do not have a group wear the same color on top, for example, as this can appear lackluster in a portrait.  Often the colors also end up being slightly different and clashing.

  • Avoid Flip Flops: These can come across as too casual and do not photograph well.

  • Avoid Words on Clothing: Do not wear clothing with logos or words, it can be distracting for portraits.

Things to Wear

  • Bright Solid Colors: These are beautiful for portraits, adding visual interest and complementing skin tones.  You can wear a solid bright shirt or accessory.

  • Coordinate: Family and kids in colors that complement each other look best.  Often families pick one focal point and plan their outfits around it.  The kids are generally the main focus so pick a dress or shirt you love for your daughter or son and then pull colors from that to build outfit choices for parents and siblings.

  • Texture: Various textures and layers of color and fabrics add visual interest in a portrait.  Think knits, scarves, cardigans, headbands, tights & ties.  Fun jewelry that compliments your style, nothing too trendy which may date the picture later.

  • Makeup: Wear a little more makeup than you would everyday.  

  • Universally Complimentary: V-neck clothing, long sleeves, summer dresses


Men & Boys: Nice dark jeans, dress shoes/boat shoes and a collard shirt.

Ladies: Nice jeans paired with a dressy top, a cute dress, splashes of color or patterns, fun jewelry and high heels or stylish flats.


  • Check clothing for loose threads.

  • Ensure all garments are freshly ironed and without lint.

  • Nails should be manicured & trimmed, no chipping paint.

  • Don't worry about minor skin blemishes or scratches as these can often be edited.

  • If you wear glasses, try to wear contacts as the reflection can be difficult to avoid.

  • Drink plenty of water the day before, it is wonderful to hydrate skin.

  • Get a good nights sleep!


Most Importantly

Be yourself!  Feel comfortable and confident in your clothes and style and that will shine through in the final product!

Questions or Style Guidance? I'm always available to help!!! 

Call / Email / Text pictures of your outfit plans and I love helping plan out wardrobes together!

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