I get that question a lot! Over the years, I’ve discovered a few tips to help you make the photos from your portrait shoot your best ever.
Rule #1: Wear what you’re comfortable in. If you’re a jeans and white t-shirt guy, wear jeans and a white t-shirt. Don’t go buy a brand new button down shirt off the mannequin just because you think that’s what the world expects from you. You’ll be more comfortable during the shoot and happier with the end product if you wear what you’re comfortable in. After all, it’s not about the clothes. It’s about you!
Rule #2: Think about sweat. Being in front of the camera can cause anxiety. Additionally, we’ll likely be moving around from place to place during the shoot. Both of those factors result in sweat. Yes, wear antiperspirant, but also consider picking a shirt or color that hides sweat. As awesome as gray shirts are, they are usually the worst culprits for showing sweat. If you’re pits are showing 10 minutes into the shoot, you’ll feel self conscious and you'll be mad at yourself later.
Rule #3: Pastels or neutrals in solids or subtle prints or stripes. If you open your closet and are feeling totally lost, you can’t go wrong with pastels or neutrals in solids or subtle prints or stripes.
Rule #4: If you’re in a group, don’t be an outlier. If this is a family or group portrait shoot, try not to be the one person wearing something that contrasts with the group. By that I mean colors—don’t wear neon when everyone else has picked neutrals. Additionally, a bright white shirt can look like an outlier when everyone else is in pastels. If you want to wear a light color, pick a cream or a light blue or a light gray pattern. The outlier principle also applies to theme—don’t wear a graphic t-shirt if everyone else is going with cozy fall layers.
Rule #5: …but you don’t need to match. Thank God we’re not in the “jeans and white t-shirts” trend anymore. Don’t feel like you need to match everyone in the group. The word here is “coordination.” Reach for solids or subtle prints that could feasibly go together, or at least don't clash.
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As a photographer, I work with families, couples, and brands in Southern California. As a graphic and website designer, I work with rad companies and humans around the world.