What to Wear to my Portrait Session

Choosing the right outfit(s) can feel like a high pressure situation.  You want something weather appropriate, cute, reflective of your personality, flattering, and ultimately photogenic.  Let me tell you.. everyone has the same thoughts before their session… How in the world do I pick out what to wear?


Stick to 4 colors max for you and your ensemble.  I suggest a neutral or light color, dark color, and pop of color.  Choose colors that accentuate your natural coloring and your environment.  For example, fair-skinned, light-haired folks look great in whites, tans, and chocolate-brown for the neutral palate.  Red heads photograph beautifully in earth tones.  Brunettes can typically work with more contrasting pallets (bolder, darker colors) because their hair and skin colors offer balance.  You should also take your environment into consideration and remember opposites attract.  If you will be photographed in front of a colorful or busy background, keep your scheme simple and neutral.

neutrals darks

What to wear

Jen Hebert Photography

What to wear for a photo session

Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

What to wear for a photo session

Rebekah Westover Photography

What to wear to a photo sessionAccessories are a great way to introduce your punch of color!  Whether it is through jewelry, a bow tie, head band, or shoes, choose accent pieces that give color and visual interest.  Go ahead and throw on that extra strand of pearls, pair of argyle socks, or leopard print belt!  Your images will better show your interests and be more visually dynamic.

What to wear at a photo session

Laci Davis Photography

What to wear to a photo session

Are you fun and funky?  Soft and romantic?  Rugged and real?  Show your personality through the use of accessories, props, blankets, or picking that great shirt that shows off your favorite tattoo.  These photos need to reflect you and your style!  So whether that is bringing your favorite board game or book to use in the session, wearing a Superman shirt under your button down, or taking your shoes off while you are in the field, bring who you are to your session and make your momma proud!

What to wear for portrait session

Shanna Michelle Photography

What to wear to a photo session

Rebekah Westover Photography

What to wear to a portrait session

Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell


  • Coordinate, don’t match.  No matchy-matchy means your images will be more interesting, dynamic, and timeless.
  • Layering.  Just do it.  It provides depth, contrast and more visual interest. 
  • Consider earth tones, especially for large groups.  They tend to give balance, warmth, and a magical level of flattery to everyone. Just don’t forget the pop of color to add contrast!
  • Limiting bold patterns.  Too much is too much.  Try to only have 1 bold pattern if there is less than 4 people in the photo.  Also, stay away from logos or clothes that speak (you know, have those lil sayings on them).
  • Reds (and oranges) as an accent color, not main focus.  Bright, harsh reds as a main color is overwhelming in photos.  Instead of putting everyone in a red shirt, try making red the accent color (like in your scarf, son’s plaid shirt, and husband’s tie).
  • Keeping the main pieces neutral.  About 60-70% of the aesthetic should be neutral. Use the other 30-40% to accessorize with personality pieces.
  • Choosing a spotlight.  Maybe that is mom, because she is pregnant with the second child.  Perhaps it is your little girl because she is the only daughter of four sons.  Whoever (or whatever) it is, choose one thing that will be the focal point and let it be highlighted by color, pattern, or contrast.
  • Keeping it real.  Find your favorite outfit in your closet and match everyone else to it!  No need to go and buy fancy clothes.  Work with what you got!
  • Choosing flattering pieces.  Hate your arms?  Love your legs?  Choose pieces that accent your favorite parts and hide the ones you are not so crazy about.  You can also speak with your photographer to make sure you are in the most flattering poses.
  • Thinking ahead.  Need a hair cut? Go a week or two beforehand. File your nails (and polish if you wish) a day or two before the session. Polish your shoes if they are leather.  Test run your makeup. Iron your clothes. Bring a couple of outfits, in case you want to change (or if the kids fall in the mud). Speaking of kiddos, practice with them: smiling, giggling, keeping their hands out of their pants or nose, so they can be their best at your session. Bring some snacks if they (or you) need them. Don’t come on an empty stomach!
  • An extra set of hands.  Feel free to bring your best friend, the nanny, or grandma to your session.  An extra pair of hands can help with the kiddos, make you all laugh, or just tell you the honest truth about your bangs.

Need more inspiration?  Check out these links below!

Inspiration board for your session by Stephanie Herrell Thomas

What to Wear by Jen Hebert

10 Tips for Beautiful Family Photos


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