What to Wear for a Portrait Photo Session

June 24, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Have you thought about what you might wear for your portrait photography session? If you’re wondering how to make the most of your photo session, read on!


We’ve come up with some tips to help you decide what to wear. Please note that these are just guidelines, you are of course free to wear what you like! However for the best results, here are our recommendations…


  • First of all, remember to communicate the dress code to everyone involved in the shoot. If half the family turns up in t-shirts and jeans, and the other half are in suits and shirts, it can look a little disjointed, so make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • We recommend not wearing too much white or black, as most of the photos are taken against a white background, and we also use a black background. It’s best to go for muted tones so that you are the subject not the clothes – we don’t want to draw attention away from the expressions with brightly coloured clothing. Similarly, we recommend wearing solid coloured clothing so that no one person stands out. If you wear stripes or flowers, you will stand out from the rest of your group, but if everyone is wearing complimentary subdued tones, you will fit together as one unit.

  • Choose a colour palette of 2-3 tones that go well together for everyone to follow. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.  So that we see the people first and your portrait looks stunning. Wedding group photos look so good because they’re all wearing the same colours and the people stand out! Nothing too bright or distracting. All attention goes to their faces.

Nothing too distracting - all attention goes to their faces

  • Bear in mind that lighter colours make you look bigger, so a light colour on top with dark trousers will make your top look bigger. A dark top with light trousers will make your bum look bigger. Choosing similar tones for your top and bottom will ensure one doesn’t look bigger than the other.

  • Wear a clothing style that you feel flatters you. If you dislike your arms, wear long sleeves. If you love your legs, feel free to show them off. If you feel confident in what you’re wearing and think you look your best, this will show in your photos.

  • Remember to consider footwear, as this can sometimes get forgotten! For casual photos, bare feet can work well. If you decide to go for shoes rather than bare feet, choose dark shoes and socks, as white will stick out like a sore thumb when you look at your photos.

  • Some like to bring both a casual set of clothing, and a more dressed-up set to change into. This way you have a variety of shots in different styles. If you do opt to go for a dressed-up set – there is no such thing as overdressed! The beauty of a studio is that it works really well from casual t-shirts and jeans, all the way up to prom dresses and wedding outfits. So if you want an excuse to really glam up, this is it - you will look great in the studio with our lighting setup.

  • Whether you decide to do casual, dressed-up, both or somewhere in the middle, make sure you do your hair the way you would normally wear it with the clothes you’re wearing. For example, a fancy up-do will look out of place with jeans – think about how you would have it if you were wearing these clothes out. This will help your portrait look more timeless and represent who you are on a day-to-day basis.

Remember, there are no rules, these are just guidelines to help you, but nothing is set in stone. The most important thing is to wear what you’re comfortable in, and what you’d like to be wearing in your pictures. If you have some statement clothing or accessories we could make some creative photos with, go for it! We love doing new and different styles of photography in the studio, and interesting props always help, so if you have any ideas you want to try out, we’re up for it. 

Good luck planning for your session, and we hope to see you in the studio soon! 

- The Ph2o Team


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