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What to Wear

What to Wear for Your Portrait Session

Here are some tips to help you get the most from your portrait session. If you have a question or concern not addressed by this article, please contact the studio for assistance!


When photographing multiple people in the studio, I recommend coordinating your attire rather than choosing a "uniform" outfit. Wear tones that harmonize, or plan around a certain color palette.

You may wish to stick with solids or subtle patterns. Maybe something simple, like shades of black and gray with jeans. Jewel tones like purple can work well too. If you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask!


Your accessories will be visible. They will either draw attention away from you, or compliment you in the portraits. For women, jewelry choices are important to consider. Do you want to go with something more classic, like pearls? Or more modern? Make sure to pay attention to where the necklace falls in relation to the neckline of your shirt or dress. For men, a sharp tie can add to the portrait, while a loud patterned one can detract. Details are important, so make sure to consider your entire outfit when planning your studio portrait.


If you get your hair cut before your session, please try to do so a week in advance. It will give your hair some time to adjust, so that it looks more natural the day of your session.

Stick with a style or haircut that you know you love. Don’t try something new the day of your portrait session, because if you don’t like how your hair looks, you’re not really going to love the portraits themselves either. For those concerned about receding hairlines or stray hairs, know that I can take care of these concerns and minimize the appearance of these issues when I retouch your images.


Unless you're only having a headshot portrait, please plan your shoes to coordinate with your attire, and make sure that your socks are the appropriate color as well.

If you’re going outdoors, chances are good that you’ll be traipsing through mud, dirt, loose gravel. It may be wise to wear a pair of walking shoes and then change into your dress shoes once we have walked to our location (e.g. heels can be difficult to wear while walking through a field).


If you plan on wearing make-up for your session, slightly heavier makeup photographs well. Pay extra attention to the eye makeup, avoiding clumps in the mascara. Please do not wear make-up or hair products that contain glitter -- the sparkles tend to look flakey in pictures (think dandruff!).


We always take care to avoid unwanted glare on glasses. We recommend glasses with anti-reflective glass, or simply removing your eyewear for part or all of the session.

Please be aware that transition lenses can be extremely difficult to work with in an outdoor setting, so if possible, bring a "normal" set of glasses, or let us know ahead of time so that we can plan for a partially shaded location to minimize the transition effect.

Senior Portrait With Transition Glasses A senior portrait taken with transition glasses. We have several techniques we use to compensate for the lenses getting darker, but they work best out of bright sunlight.

Complexion Problems

Do not worry about complexion problems. These will be addressed when your portraits are retouched. If you plan on tanning close to your session, make sure to allow for a few days so your skin tone has time to "naturalize."

Dental Appliances

If you wear Invisalign or a retainer, please remember to remove it prior to your portrait session. Though subtle, clear retainers still may show up in your portraits. If you have braces but want them retouched out of your portraits, please be aware that additional fees may apply.

Last Minute Touch Ups

Right before your session is a great time to look in the mirror and make sure you look sharp. Straighten your necklace or necktie. Reapply lipstick. Check that nothing is stuck in or on your teeth. Finally, check your hair -- and make sure everything looks in place.

Note: Professional/Corporate Portraits

Please remember that professional attire is really best, unless you have a relaxed work environment. For men, that means in the least, a dress shirt with dress pants. Depending on how formal you want to look, consider a tie, sports jacket, or suit. For women, an office appropriate dress with jacket works well, as does a blouse with dress pants or a skirt.

You'll want to go with a more timeless, classic style, so stay away from loud patterns or trendy clothing. Neutral tones like black, grays, browns, and navy will always look great -- as do lighter tones like white (shirt/blouse) and khaki (pants). It's okay to add a splash of color in your outfit -- a sharp looking tie or scarf, but it's best to stick with a non-trendy pattern that isn't "loud." The same goes for jewelry or accessories -- make sure they complement your outfit, rather than taking attention away from you.

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Want more inspiration? We have several inspiration boards on Pinterest you may find helpful!