Photography, Photography Tips, Tips & Tricks

How to dress for a portrait session – solo

Choosing an outfit for your everyday errands and activities usually doesn’t require too much thought. You might mindlessly reach for your favorite pair of jeans and a T-shirt or a nice top. What if that outfit was going to be captured in professional photographs forever? Suddenly, putting together a look feels like rocket science. You may find yourself thinking, “Do I feel my best in this outfit?”

Every fashionista can agree that the right outfit gives a huge confidence boost, so it’s important to think about what you’ll be wearing for your portrait session. Here are some tips to help you look and feel your best when you’re the sole subject of a photoshoot.

Communicate your style with the photographer

First, you’ll need to establish with your photographer the purpose of the portrait session and the style you wish to convey. If you’re collecting photos to use on your business’s website or LinkedIn, you’ll likely want to dress professionally and choose a more neutral setting. On the other hand, if the photos are for personal use, there’s a bit more freedom in how you choose to express yourself.

Talk to your photographer about any ideas you have in mind for the session so they can be sure to have the right equipment. If you think you want to showcase more than one outfit, be sure to mention that, since it will play into the timing of the shoot. Plus, if you establish the style before the session, your photographer may be able to offer some specific tips on how you should dress.

Plan your outfit(s) a day in advance

Avoid waiting until the morning of the photo session to choose your attire, especially if there’s more than one outfit involved. It’s always better to be prepared at least a day in advance to be sure there are no surprises like a mysterious stain or a missing pair of dress pants. Check the weather for the day and time of the session — even if you’re going to be indoors. You don’t want to accidentally get caught in the rain on the way into the building and soak your hair or your good heels!

Speaking of heels, you may want to bring along a second pair of comfier shoes if you’re planning to wear heels during the session. This is especially true if your setting is a grassy field. You can walk around in the comfortable shoes and change into another pair for the photos. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you also have a better chance of keeping your shoes clean.

Dress for confidence and comfort

Also on the topic of weather: a portrait session will be more enjoyable and successful if you’re comfortable, so make sure you won’t be too hot or too cold. It’s also best to choose clothing items that you know you are comfortable in. Those really tight skinny jeans may make your legs look awesome, but if they’re uncomfortably tight, your discomfort will be noticeable in photographs. You want your photos to look as genuine as possible, so comfort is key.

At the same time, it’s important to find the balance between comfort and confidence. The second key to genuine photos is knowing you feel great in what you’re wearing. Perhaps you’ve been lifting weights in the gym and you’re proud of your toned arms — show them off by wearing a tank top or fitted sleeves. When you dress for confidence, you’re more likely to find a greater collection of photos from the shoot that you love.

Choose colors that complement your hair and skin tone

Has anyone ever told you that “[insert color here] is your color”? Take that into account when choosing your outfit for the solo session. If you’re one of the lucky souls who can beautifully pull off red, try to incorporate some red into your look. Not sure which color looks best on you? The key is to understand whether you have cool- or warm-toned skin. Some tell-tale signs of cool-toned skin are light natural hair, blue or gray eyes, fair skin, and blue veins. Stick to cool colors on the color wheel like blues and purples. Warm-toned skin, on the other hand, shows the opposite: darker natural hair, green veins, dark eyes, and golden skin. Warm colors like reds and oranges are best.

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to go bold. If you feel confident in a color that doesn’t necessarily follow the warm/cool guidelines, by all means, wear it. It’s all about how you feel in your clothes.

Be aware of what’s on your wrists

Ladies, how many of us walk around with a hair tie on our wrists at all times? It becomes something we don’t notice after a while. This certainly comes in handy, but try to pay extra attention to your wrists when you’re planning for a photo session. This is especially true now that scrunchies are popular again. A hair tie may not be noticeable in photos, but a scrunchie will be, especially if you like to wear funky patterns and colors.

The same goes for anyone wearing a watch or everyday bracelets. If you have an Apple Watch or another smart device and you’d like to keep it on during the session, consider wearing a subtle, basic band that won’t clash with your outfit. It’s better to take notice of your wrists before the session begins than to realize halfway through that you didn’t want to put your bright floral watch band on display.

Contact October Dreams Photography today to book your next solo portrait session!

By Elise Nelson