The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is a critical factor in the preparation for a successful portrait. If the clothing is noticeable in a portrait, it could easily become a distraction. Clothing that does not attract attention to itself is the ultimate goal. It could be the difference between a very successful portrait and just another picture. Remember we can only offer suggestions it’s your portrait session so you have the final say!
First lets have an understanding of colors so that you can dress in such a way as to enhance your photographs and not detract from them:
Understanding complimentary colors will allow you and your partner to wear compatible clothing.
Now that we know certain colors warmth and others emit a cooler presence we then want to define what colors to wear with what colors. Or in simpler terms which blouse will match his shirt.One of the easiest way’s to do this is by understanding complimentary colors. Below is a color wheel. Use the outer most wheel and pick a color. The color directly opposite it is it’s complement.
Wear long sleeves and slacks. The eye is always drawn to skin. Shorts or high skirts are often a distraction. However, if that is what you want, that is what we will do. Women be careful with sleeveless shirts unless you are comfortable with your arms and shoulders (pictures tend to make them look larger)
A dress shirt collar is great. Turtlenecks and scarf’s also frame the face well. However we many times will put you in casual poses so you might find casual attire more versatile.
Solids are usually the best choice. Please avoid bold patterns and bright colors.
Dark colors slenderize, light colors add weight. The exception being that I do not favor black. Black absorbs light and the details within the garment are lost. If two people wear black they many times blend into each other looking like one big garment.
Fashion clothing is great for selling clothes, but in ten or twenty years, what may be “hip” today is a dinosaur tomorrow (remember leisure suits)? Dress conservatively unless you wish to get photographed annually.
Wear light colored tops and darker colored slacks. A white shirt with khakis or blue jeans is fine for most settings. Black tops tend to absorb too much light and doesn’t photograph well.
Matching outfits really add harmony and a sense of togetherness. Such as matching khaki’s or matching blue jeans.
Try to match footwear as well.
Dark tans don’t tend to react as favorably to film as you might expect.
Please watch your footwear. A nice outfit with your favorite five year old sneakers could blow the
Entire shot. Remember in some poses you will be photographed full length.
Gentlemen should shave just before leaving for the session. Any beard shadow is intensified on film.
Bring some props that will further enhance the portrait. A rose, bouquet, sun hat, picnic basket, sunglasses, guitar, pet, whatever you think will help express your individuality.
Women it doesn’t hurt to bring some makeup just in case you need to freshen up or cover a blemish. If we are going out doors, it might be nice to have some bug repellent. Please don’t “over do” make up. You may want to wear a subtle lipstick. Heavy, bold make really becomes prominent in photographs.
Bring some suggestions. Look through some of your favorite magazines and or bring some pictures you feel are the most flattering. Feel free to make suggestions. Please don’t feel intimidated, remember we’re portrait partners!
GROUP PORTRAITS – Clothing for group portraits must be carefully selected to blend the bodies together. First, decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warm-toned (browns, etc.) or cool-toned (blues/grays/blacks, etc.)
The most flattering neckline for anyone is something that comes up close to the neck. A wide-open neckline tends to thicken the neck in a photograph. On the other hand, a neckline that comes up to the base of the neck – a turtleneck or a v-neck top is the most flattering. It tends to slim down the person and frames the face beautifully.
Hair styles should be SIMPLE and MUST be off the face. Hair falling down onto the sides of the face (currently very much in style) create distracting shadows. Bangs that come down too low onto the face will keep light from getting into the subject’s eyes – the very most important part of the face. Eye makeup should be blended – no sharp demarcation lines between colors. AVOID WHITE above or below the eyes. It does not photograph well at all. Too much color above and below the eyes attracts attention to itself. It actually takes attention AWAY from the eyes, rather than attracting the viewer to the eyes. Foundation makeup should be blended at the jaw line, so that there is no demarcation between the face and the neck. Subtle lipsticks work better than bright red which draws the viewer’s attention directly to the lips.
Eyeglasses may or may not be worn. Non-reflective lenses, of course, are a big help. Better yet, sometimes it’s possible to obtain a matching set of frames without any lenses. This is particularly helpful, if your lenses sometimes distort the outline of your face. We typically use flash even outdoors and we cannot guarantee that the flash won’t create a glare in the lens. The choice is yours.
Illness- We suggest you postpone your portrait session if you’re ill with a cold or other condition as your skin tone will usually be pale, your eyes may not look normal and if you’re not up to par it usually comes across in the finished photo.
Finally, lay out all the clothing onto a bed. Shoes, socks, stockings – everything should be included…shoes, too! Then, take a careful look at the collection. If your eye goes to any one item in particular, you can be certain that the same thing will happen in a photograph. That item should be changed.