The Journal

What To Wear To Your Portrait Session

April 19, 2023

Family portrait in front of Meadowlark 1939

Every year, I get the joy of meeting and re-connecting with sweet families and their little ones. Most of my sessions take place outdoors in either the spring or the fall which offer a variety of backdrops and locations. But since these backdrops can be so varied depending on what is blooming or when leaves are turning, the question remains of what to wear to your portrait session and how to coordinate your wardrobe for the whole family.

While I firmly believe your session should authentically reflect you, your family, and that you should stay true to your style, I have found a few tips that will help you select and create a more cohesive look for your session.

Tip #1: Consider your backdrop. When choosing what colors to wear to your portrait session, it’s important to consider the colors your backdrop will have. If you have a pretty neutral backdrop, then you’ll have a bit more freedom when choosing colors for your ensemble. If your backdrop has lots of green foliage or just more color in general, you’ll want to make sure you choose colors that won’t compete or clash. For example, if the backdrop is full of vibrant greens, grab your color wheel (everyone has one of those, right? ;)) and choose a color that is complimentary (reds, pinks) or color that is adjacent (blues, yellows).

Tip #2: The 60-30-10 rule. In the world of interior design, the 60-30-10 rule is used to create a cohesive color palette. The idea is that you choose three primary colors- 60% is your first choice, 30% for your second, and 10% is your accent color. You can also add different tones of those colors to give your images more depth. You can read more about the 60-30-10 rule with examples here.

Tip #3: Add different textures and materials. Choosing a few pieces of your wardrobe made of different materials will also add interest to your images. Don’t be afraid to move away from cotton- linen, silk, lace, and corduroy also photograph really well!

Tip #4: Patterns! When done well, patterns can give your images more interest and take the viewers eye all around each subject. I generally advise only 1-2 patterns at most so that your images don’t look too busy or distracting.

And that’s my general advice on what to wear to your portrait session! Let me know if you found these tips helpful :).

Leave a note

  1. […] Do these tips help? Have any tips of your own that have helped during your family portrait session? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you’re having trouble choosing outfits for the whole family, here are some helpful tips when pulling together cohesive outfits for your session. […]

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