What To Wear To A Photoshoot

Clothing Suggestions For Your Portrait Session at my Hertfordshire Photography Studio.


The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is a critical factor in the preparation for a successful portrait. If the clothing is noticeable or overbearing 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. 

Below is a comprehensive what to and what not to wear guide to help you prepare for our shoot.


Dark clothing tends to slenderise. Darker clothing helps to blend the bodies with the background, so that the faces are the most important part of the photograph.

Tone down bright colours. Bright colours attract attention away from the face and may be reflective.

Avoid wearing red, bright pink, bright green etc. When choosing lighter colours, stick to pastels, but avoid pink tones. Pale yellow and pale blue work well, especially with jeans or kaki pants. These colours work great in nature for example, if you have a sunset photography session booked in.

Light clothing can look beautifully fresh. If you are worried about not appearing slender then it is safer to avoid white. White can look beautifully simple and fresh. White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket are perfect.


Prints and patterns are a definite NO. This includes logos. Avoid prints of any kind and patterns. No matter how small the print or the pattern, it will become a distraction. I

Avoid short sleeve clothing and short pants. Long sleeved clothing is a MUST! For casual portraits it is equally important to wear long pants instead of shorts. When arms and legs are exposed to the camera there will be more flesh in the photograph in those areas than on the face, itself. This is a big distraction.

Don’t over accessorise! Overbearing or heavily noticeable accessories can be a major distraction. Simple and minimal works best.


Glasses. Eye glasses 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. Glasses mean the lighting used needs to be one type which is not flattering for a group, so without is best ideally. But you can take them off at the last moment if you need to wear them.


Make Up, Hair & Nails. Hair styles should be SIMPLE and MUST be off the face. It is always a great idea to have your make up and hair professionally applied for your photography session. It will make a huge difference in how you look and feel. Olivia Rocco Photography highly recommends Lyndsey Ollard Makeup who also offers hair too. If you have your preferred hair and make up stylist this is always ok. As look as you feel and look fabulous and you allow enough time to have your hair and make up finished before your scheduled session. Please enquire about booking in a stylist well before your shoot. Your nails should be manicured. No chipped nail polish.

Group / family portrait sessions. Keep your clothing simple and coordinating. It must be carefully selected to blend the bodies together. Avoid loud or busy patterns and large logos. Solid colours are best. First, decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warm-toned (browns, etc.) or cool-toned (blues/greys/blacks, etc.) Then, make sure to follow all of the above instructions. Keeping a group in similar colours focuses the attention of the portrait to the faces and individuals that make up the portrait. Dissimilar colours in groups tend to be more distracting.


White tops with khakis or jeans can look very nice and casual, but if anyone in your family is super pale, white can make pale skin look paler. Jeans are the timeless choice and they’re great for fun, casual pictures because they are flattering and don’t show wrinkles or panty lines.


Lighter shirts on top give the pictures a more casual and bright look. Pastels are also usually appealing because they enhance natural skin tones. Black or other dark shirts on top give the portraits a more serious and thoughtful feel (not to mention that black is slimming).


Everyone should have colour-coordinated outfits (Not a uniform necessarily, but there should be a theme). Jeans / khaki’s and white or black tops are always very nice for a family portrait and easy to bring every together harmoniously.


Tip. 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. Clothing should not be too tight or too loose.

Typically, my style of photography works well with traditional clothing or traditional portraits. Think “Sunday Best”. Solid colours work best. Bright and fun and funky are big no no's. A pretty dress is always beautiful for little girls. Don’t forget hats, sunglasses, boots, blankets, jackets, etc. can be great to show personality and bring out their silly side for family location portraits. Feel free to bring any other prop or comfort item that you want to include. I do have an array of outfits depending on age and size of child and am always happy for you to have a look through.


Teens. Teens have their OWN sense of style – I love to let them express it however they wish.


Your portraits are meant to be enjoyed for generations to come. Fad-type clothing should be avoided, unless you are planning to have new portraits made annually.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me before your portrait session.


See you at your shoot!


Olivia .



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Olivia Rocco Photography | Hertfordshire Award Winning Photographer

2b The High Street, Stanstead Abbotts, Nr Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 8AB

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