Picture this with me — it’s the night before your scheduled photography session. You’re standing in front of a closet full of clothes, trying to get ready for the next day. Fast forward to 30-minutes later…do you have an outfit picked out, ready to go, or are you staring at a pile of clothes on your bed that have been cast off as “absolutely no way” or “hmm maybe” but in reality, you just have NO IDEA.
If you’re anything like most people, it’s the latter – and that’s totally normal! And I want to help. Keep reading for some handy guidelines to take the stress out of planning, whether you’re part of a solo session, a couple, or a large family. Don’t worry, I gotchu.
If I could make one single requirement for any and everyone who will ever stand in front of my camera, it’s that you may NOT wear anything uncomfortable. Hear me?
Sure, we’ll be able to get some pretty photos. But you’ll be miserable, the people you’re with will be miserable because you’re miserable (it’s contagious!) and no matter how hard you try, we’ll be able to see the discomfort on your face. Remember, we’re not out here trying to get posed looks and forced smiles, I want to capture true emotions. And if you’re truly uncomfortable? That’s going to show.
So, try on your clothes before the session, make sure they fit, make sure there are no weird buttons or pinches or zippers or ANYTHING strange. Do a few squats. Pick something up off the ground. Run around the house for a minute to make sure nothing bunches or rides up or falls down. I know (really!) that this is a lot to ask of a garment, but I promise you’ll be so much happier with your photos if you truly follow my prompts without worrying about ripping your pants or exposing something that should probably remain covered.
Make sure it “goes.”
Please do not read this as “make sure it matches” because that is SO not what I mean.
As precious as matching might seem in your head? It’s not going to work in the final product. BUT, you have to make sure you don’t royally clash. A simple way to do this? Place everything on a flat surface (your bed, your floor, dining room table, whatever works), and step back.
Does it work? Do the patterns (yep, you can have multiple patterns if you’d like! Just please, please no logos. Please. I’m begging.) and textures complement each other? Are the colors different enough so it doesn’t look like you were trying to match, but failed? Bingo.
This also goes for the formality of your outfits. Friends, if I had a quarter for every session I’ve seen on Facebook or insty or in other photographer’s portfolios (none of my clients — yet) where a woman was wearing a dress, fully dolled, and her husband was wearing a half-zip, jeans, and sneakers…I’d have SO many quarters. So please take this into account. Whether you’re a couple or a family of 6, make sure you look like you belong together. Nobody has to be in a tuxedo, but let’s keep the effort consistent.
Know your surroundings.
Where is the session happening? Is it outside? In your home? Both? Cool. Now, what are the main colors in those settings? If it’s an in-home session – is your style generally more neutral, or do you go for bright, bold colors in your decor? Let this influence your color palette based on what you’d be happier to display.
If you’re going to be outside, we generally have a good idea of what that color palette is going to be, depending on your geographic region. If you live in an area with lots of green space? Maybe avoid greens when making those choices. Live in the desert? Let’s keep those rust and tan colors to a minimum, and pull out something with a pop of purple or blue!
Basically, do what you can to make sure you stand out among your surroundings. When you’re looking at these photos 30 years from now, you don’t want to have to squint to see you because your brown pants and green shirt perfectly camouflaged you with the woods.
Please leave your hat and sunglasses at home.
Or in the car. Or on the ground way over there out of the frame. But under no circumstances, unless you have SPECIFICALLY discussed it with your photographer and have a VERY good reason, should you find yourself in front of a camera with a hat and sunglasses on.
Okay, I know hats are like, very in right now. And I’m not here to tell you how to dress. (JK that’s literally what I’m here to do.) But if you want to wear it as an accessory to your outfit and you feel like you’ll be incomplete without it? We’ll figure it out. But please, please keep baseball caps of any and all kinds away from your face while I’m trying to take your picture. I’m trying to photograph YOU. Your face, your laugh, your emotions at that specific moment. I don’t want to see (and I especially don’t want to deliver) photos of your chin and the top of a hat. Please don’t make me.
Ask your photographer – for real.
Guys, I cannot TELL you how happy I get when clients text me asking my opinion on what to wear. I (clearly) have a lot of opinions, but more than that, it shows that they trust me. And friends? When I’m on the other side of that camera, I need you to trust me. Because I’m going to ask you to do some weird stuff. But guess what — it’s going to get some great photos. Promise. So never for one second forget that we are in this together. If you need to text me at midnight because you have NO IDEA what to wear, I’m going to look at every outfit option, give you my honest opinion, find something perfect, and then tell you to go to sleep because self-care. Gotta get those 8 hours.
Hopefully this shed some light on the process, but let me know if there are any other questions on this particular topic. And comment below or find me on insty to share other photography pain points. I’m not just here to help you get better photos when I’m on the other side of the camera. I want you to have better photos, ones that you love and will look at forever and share proudly for generations to come, no matter who is pressing that shutter button. So let me what you need!
Until next time!