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What to wear for your photo session: the ONE rule everyone should follow

What to wear for your photo session, Ottawa Gatineau photographer

The question of what to wear often comes up when clients are booking a photo session. I've put together a few tips that I hope can be helpful as you plan your session. That being said, I also think rules are sometimes meant to be broken and so take from this list whatever speaks to you and feel free to embrace your individuality. If you love big bold patterns, wear them! If your child is obsessed with Minecraft and only wears t-shirts with big logos, that's ok - it reflects something personal about them at this moment.

There is one rule for any photography session that I think everyone needs to follow:

Choose something that is comfortable, that fits well and that you feel your best in.

With this in mind, here is some general advice on what to wear depending on the type of session.

  • Choose something that "feels" like you and that fits well.

  • Mid tone or darker solid colours tend to work well for most locations (pastels like cream or beige can be too close to some skin tones and can look washed out on camera).

  • Big bold patterns can take away from you so it might be best to keep it more simple.

  • Bring a few different top options or accessories if you want to change during the session to get different looks (layer different items).

  • Try to avoid all white clothing - white can feel a bit too bright on camera and draws the eye away from the face.

  • Choose 2 or 3 colours that work together. Don't opt for the exact same colour for everyone. Having different tones in the same colour family can work well. The idea is to have variety but to look cohesive overall.

  • Prints can help add variety and interest but try to limit to 2 or 3 that work together to ensure the focus is still on you and not what you are wearing.

  • Think about where the photo session will take place when making your outfit choices. If the session is outdoors in the woods, limiting greens can help so that you don't blend into the background. Choose colours that will complement the background.

  • Ensure that everyone looks like they are going to the same place. Dress appropriately for the setting or for the feel/mood you are going for.

  • Feel free to add accessories: jewellery, scarves, hats etc.

  • Try to avoid all white or all black outfits - it can feel too matchy matchy.

  • Avoid big logos or characters on clothing which can distract from your faces.

Have a look through my photography portfolio - for example, the headshot photography or family photography page, and you will quickly see that even if many or all of these rules are broken, the photos still turn out beautifully. I'm a big believer that what matters most is how you feel and the connection between people in the photos.

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