5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Outfit for Your Photo Shoot
Updated: Mar 4
If you're currently struggling to figure out what to wear to your upcoming photo shoot whether it's an engagement shoot, a family session, a solo shoot, or otherwise, these 5 tips will help you hone in your options and focus on achieving a natural and effortless but coordinated look. These are intended for outdoor, natural light photos.
1. Don't over coordinate.
Do you remember those family photos that you used to have taken where your mom would buy everyone the exact same colored t-shirt, likely from Old Navy, jeans, and either barefoot or coordinating shoes. It was too much! Nobody looked like an individual at all. It was just a sea of white tees and faces, and there was nothing interesting about the photo.
Wear different colors, patterns, layers. This not only allows everyone in the photo to express their individual styles, but it also provides more visual interest to your photos. Don't get me wrong - you don't want one person in jeans and a t-shirt and another in a tux, but you don't all have to wear the exact same thing to have a cohesive look to your photos. Try picking a color palette or style instead.
2. Be yourself.
Have you never worn a pair of heels in your life? Your portrait session is not the first time to do so. Make sure you are comfortable in what you're wearing. You want to feel like a total badass but also act naturally! If you're constantly picking a wedgie because your pants don't fit correctly or wearing shoes that are giving you blisters because they aren't broken in yet, it will show in photos. Also, don't pick your photo shoot day to try out a new hairstyle. Stick with your go-to look or at least give your new look a few practice runs to prevent frustration.
3. Consider your environment.
I implore you not to match your environment exactly. For example, if you're taking photos on a beach, don't wear tan because you'll blend right in. You want something that will provide a little bit of contrast. It's okay to also have a little bit of a difference between the style of your clothing and the style of the location. You don't have to wear anchors and boat shoes by the water, unless that's your vibe. But don't be afraid of mixing it up like wearing a formal outfit for a venture into the woods. This can make for gorgeous moody photos!
Also, you will want to consider movement. If you're somewhere windy like a mountain top, don't wear a short dress that will fly up with every gust of wind and stick to all of those body parts that you want to keep hidden. Wind can be a beautiful thing, and I absolutely adore a veil blowing in the breeze or a long flowing skirt, but too much of a good thing isn't the best in this case. On the other side, you also don't want to be too cold or too hot. Skip the leather jacket in the dead heat of August, and don't come in your sandals in December.
4. Observe all your angles.
A good photographer will take photos of you from all angles - front, back, side, up, down. We will tell you if you have a big hair sticking up or a shirttail coming untucked, but we can't change your outfit choice. This isn't your work from home Zoom meeting where pajama pants on the bottom are acceptable attire. Plop yourself in front of a full length mirror or have your friend snap a full body photo before deciding on your clothing to see if everything looks good from every angle.
You know that favorite dress shirt you own where now the buttons pull a little bit too much to wear to work? Leave it at home! How about that jacket that really only looks good from the front? I'm all for body positivity and appreciating your body for the way it is and the things it does, but I never want anyone to get their photos back and wish they picked a different outfit because of the way that tie on your dress falls weirdly on the back.
Sunglasses, hats, scarves, suspenders, jewelry all add visual interest to your outfit and provide something to possibly play around with when posing. I also highly recommend layering because it adds extra dimension to your outfits. Some good examples include: jean jackets, flannel shirts, and tights under dresses.
My Favorite Places to Shop
Piper + Scoot - https://piperandscoot.com/
Madewell - https://www.madewell.com/
American Eagle - https://www.ae.com/us/en
Poshmark - https://poshmark.com/
Meaghan is the owner and lead photographer of Rhode Tripper Photography, a moody wedding and adventure-lifestyle photography company. She lives in Rhode Island, USA with her husband, Evan, and her rescue pup, Arya. You can frequently find her hitting up all the best foodie spots, barcades, and music venues around Providence, RI likely with her Fuji camera in tow.