Clothing Suggestions


The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is a critical

factor in the preparation for a successful portrait.

If the clothing is noticeable 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. We can not stress

enough how important it is for you to observe the following

criteria. It is quite possible that if inappropriate clothing is

selected, the photographer may ask you to change your

selection before the portrait sitting is made.


Dark Clothing Tends to Slenderize

Darker clothing helps to blend the bodies with the background,

so that the faces are the most important part of the

photograph. Dark colors definitely tend to slenderize the

subject. Light colors seem to add weight to the bodies.

The color of the clothing should always be toned down. Bright

colors attract attention away from the face. Colors MUST be

dark and not bright. This is ESSENTIAL! When choosing lighter

colors, stick to pastels, but avoid pink tones. Pale yellow and

pale blue work well, especially with jeans or kaki pants.


Prints and any kind of pattern (no matter how small) become a distraction.

In the case of digital portraits, in particular, small patterns in

clothing (even a small herring-bone or checkered pattern) can

cause terrible distortions to appear in the portrait that are not

originally there.


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

major distraction.

White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket are perfect. A

scarf loosely tied around the neck also helps to frame a face

beautifully when a collarless blouse or sweater is worn. Neckties

should definitely be toned-down in color and with a minimum

of pattern.

Finally, lay out all the clothing onto a bed. Shoes, socks,

stockings (dark hose is mandatory) – 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. It is often a good

idea for clothing below the waistline to be darker than the

clothing above. Otherwise, even light jeans worn below a

darker top could easily attract attention to the lower part of the

body and away from the face.



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.


Proper Necklines for a Portrait

The most flattering neckline for anyone is something that comes

up close to the neck. A wide-open neckline tends to thicken

the neck in a photograph. On the other hand, a neckline that

comes up to the base of the neck – a turtleneck or a v-neck

top is the most flattering. It tends to slim down the person and

frames the face beautifully.


Hair Style and Makeup

Hair styles should be SIMPLE and MUST be off the face. Hair

falling down onto the sides of the face (currently very much in

style) create distracting shadows. Bangs that come down too

low onto the face will keep light from getting into the subject’s

eyes – the very most important part of the face. Eye makeup

should be blended – no sharp demarcation lines between

colors. AVOID WHITE above or below the eyes. It does not

photograph well at all. Too much color above and below the

eyes attracts attention to itself. It actually takes attention AWAY

from the eyes, rather than attracting the viewer to the eyes.

Foundation makeup should be blended at the jawline, so that

there is no demarcation between the face and the neck.


Group (Family) Shoots

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 colors are best. First,

decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warmtoned

(browns, etc.) or cool-toned (blues/grays/blacks, etc.)

Then, make sure to follow all of the above instructions. Keeping

a group in similar colors focuses the attention of the portrait to

the faces and individuals that make up the portrait. Dissimilar

colors 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 color-coordinated outfits (Not a uniform necessarily, but

there should be a theme). For the children, choose outfits that

fit well without a lot of “growing room”. Jeans / khaki’s and

white or black tops are always very nice for a family portrait.



Our goal is to show off that adorable baby bump, I prefer to do

maternity on a solid black or white backdrop. Black, from head

to toe is usually good (a flowing white outfit can also look

great). A simple black or white (or both!) button down top in

which the bottom area can be unbuttoned easily to expose

your belly works best. Please encourage the father (and your

children if you have others) to come along if you wish (they

should also dress in solid black or white). We will take several

poses with your hands, so be sure to remove any jewelry that

you do not want in the pictures (some women want to have

their wedding ring in the picture, others do not. Most prefer to

remove their wrist watch). If you know you are having a boy or

a girl and/or know what your baby will be named please let me

know that info as well. Finally, be assured that I will not ask you

to leave your comfort zone. I don’t want to ask you to do

anything that you are uncomfortable with. Please be up-front

in regards to what you would like, and are willing to do. I

promise that we will do very graceful and tasteful posing for

your pictures.


Newborns and Babies

95% of the time, photographs of newborns and babies look

best in their natural element i.e…their birthday suits! If you want

them to be photographed with clothes, solid colors usually work

best. Of course if you have that amazing outfit that you would

love a photograph of, include it! Bare Feet are a must! Feel

free to bring any kind of prop that you want included.

For newborn shoots (under 1 month old; ideally less than 2

weeks old) it is best to set aside a total of 3 hours so that we

have plenty of time for feeding, changing, and so that we

have the best chance of capturing your baby asleep and

awake. I prefer parents to dress in solid black from head to toe

so that I can get the creative shots you are looking for!


Toddlers and Kids

I am a very casual person and I prefer to photograph children

that way as well. Typically, my style of photography does not

work well for traditional clothing or traditional portraits. Try to

leave the “Sunday Best” at home. So . . . some suggestions –

Solid colors work best. Bright and fun and funky bring out a

whimsical side while Khaki’s, blue jeans, and white shirts are for

more serious captures. 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. Feel free to bring any other prop or comfort item that you

want to include.



Teens have their OWN sense of style – I love to let them express

it however they wish!


Final Thoughts

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.

You will feel very rewarded when you view your photographs.

All of your efforts will be worthwhile.