tips and advice

6 Mindful Tips for Choosing What to Wear to Your Next Photo Session

September 19, 2022

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Have a photo session coming up soon and drawing a total blank on what to wear? Here are some seven helpful tips I always tell my own clients to keep in mind when planning their wardrobes, regardless of whether we are planning an engagement session, family session, or even personal branding photos. Whatever the time of year, occasion, or location, these tips seek to give your practical advice behind mindfully curating your next wardrobe choices.

  1. Accessories are encouraged. Whether it’s a scarf or jewelry, accessories bring texture and layers to your session. Beyond your attire, accessories can work as props too to add to the storytelling aspect of your shoot. For example, if you’re having a beach session – it’s the perfect time to bring out that straw beach tote and beach blanket. If you’re doing photos with your family, maybe you can incorporate a snack like ice cream at the end of the session as a reward and to document some cute memories. Doing engagement photos? Bring a bottle of Champagne and some pretty flutes to toast with! 

2. Think about where you will display these photos – will they hang in a certain room? If so, you might want to take your other decor and colors in mind – if your planning on a large print for your coastal blue + white living room and then wear a bright print, it might detract from the mood you’re setting in that space (whereas an airy sundress for her and seersucker or linen for him stays cohesive with a coastal vibe and will fit in the space) –  or, likewise, an urban trendy loft in the city might call for an elegant dress for her – and a classic suit for him.

3. From a practical standpoint, think about how you can move in your outfits – can you raise your arms to pull your significant other in for a kiss? Can you lift your son or daughter up and run around with them? Does your movement feel comfortable and easy or restricted? All of us look our best when we feel our best, and if you’re feeling stiff due to an outfit, it can be hard to feel natural and at ease.

4. Colors are fun – neutrals are classic – and both can be fantastic in photos. The only things I would recommend staying away from are logos and printed words and sayings. Logos can be distracting, and printed words can be cut off in awkward ways – and no one wants that! While a pop of bright color here and there can have an absolutely stunning effect in photos, we also want to be mindful of keeping the focus on you. Neons and loud, busy prints can have a distracting effect to our eyes – meaning that they can sometimes draw our eye to them versus the person wearing them. While this can be great if we’re shooting fashion or editorial, for family photos and engagement sessions, we want to focus in on your faces and the connection you have with your loved ones – the outfits are just the (very pretty) icing on the cake. When choosing your color palate, focus on coordinating colors and mixing in textures rather than just sticking to one overall color and matching exactly – this will give your photos more visual interest and keep them from feeling dated (remember the the 90s photos where everyone was in a matching plain t-shirt and matching denim? Me too. Let’s leave that in the past).

5. Heels will elongate legs and can look fabulous – that said, for my own photo sessions, we usually do a bit of walking, so if you do opt for them, feel free to bring an extra pair of shoes you can easily slip on if you’re worried about blisters or tripping. If you’re having a session on the beach, shoes are not necessary at all unless you want to incorporate them, and then we love options like a pretty sandal or a boat shoe!

6. Perhaps the most overlooked tip but one of the most important is this – be mindful of little things that can detract from the entire look. For example, phones and keys stashed in a pocket can create really awkward lumps and bumps that we don’t want in your photos (trust me!), so bring along a tote bag you can stash your things in to keep those pockets lump and bump free. Iron and steam out wrinkles as much as possible. Clean your rings. Get a manicure for your nails, or at the very least, make sure they are clean and free of dirt. Remove hair-ties and scrunchees that can cut your wrist off visually. “We can just photoshop it out” is every photographers most dreaded phrase, and often, it isn’t that easy, so take a moment to look over yourself before you jump into your session and make sure nothing is amiss.

Have another tip that you want to share? Feel free to leave it in the comments!

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I'm Rachael and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our photography work, lives, travels, and style. Stay a while and say hello!

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