What to Wear: Styling Your Session!

Need help deciding what to wear for your portrait session? It’s not just about looking cute (although that is important, too). Your wardrobe will serve several purposes during your shoot. Understanding what clothing does for you will really help you in making your wardrobe selections. 

Clothing is Color

Think of your clothing as the dominate color palette in your art piece. So let’s start out by thinking about where you will be hanging your prints. What colors will compliment the room? Or, if you are going to be using your pictures for your website, what colors will compliment your web design? Think in terms of a complete palette and don’t forget to incorporate texture and pattern. When you are picking out clothes, try laying them out in the room where you will be hanging your portraits. Do they compliment the room? If they look great laying on the couch in your living room, for example, you know your pictures will look great on the wall above the couch. Coordinating your clothing with your portraits’ ultimate destination will give the room a very polished look. If you have a very neutral room, guess what? You can go crazy with color, if you want!

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Clothing is Mood

The color, texture and shape of your clothing tells a story about you and sets the mood of your portrait. Wearing a tuxedo is very different from wearing a sweatsuit. Of course you know that! So think about the mood you want to create in your picture. Now imagine what you are wearing when you feel that way. Do you want to feel excited? Wear crazy patterns and bright colors! Do you want to feel trendy? Elegant? Happy? Lovely? This is very personal – not everyone feels the same emotion from certain styles.

Clothing is a Prop

This is key if you are nervous about being in front of the camera. Accessories are not just the staples of a complete outfit, they give your hands something to do when you feel awkward. Jackets give you something to hold onto. Pockets are a place to put your hands. A necklace is something to play with (and it looks cute). A hat is something to peek out from. Cute boots seem to make foot placement so much easier (kick up those heels anyone?). If you wear nothing but a top and a bottom, what will be your anchor?

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Clothing is the Thread…

…that ties it all together. Think of your family’s wardrobe as a single outfit. Start with the statement piece. Usually the mother wears this, but sometimes it’s the child if he or she is the focal point of the portrait. The statement piece is the person in the picture with the boldest pattern and the most colors. Everyone else in the portrait will use this outfit as a reference for their own clothing. It’s like designing a room around your favorite painting. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the focal point will stick out too much, or that everyone else will be dressed plainly. It just means that there will be a common theme throughout. It’s all about creating a cohesive portrait and showing connection through clothing as well as interaction.

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