Thursday, January 13, 2011

What to Wear...What Not to Wear

Since I am a on location photographer and I do everything outside many of my clients will ask "What do I wear" or "What should I not wear" so one of the photographers that I follow on her website she has posted what you should wear when you do outdoor sessions.
So you have booked an outdoor portrait session, but then there’s the complexity of what to wear or what looks good for a photography session. The goal is really to keep things simple during the session with the basic ideas of what will look good on you.

Patterns and bold accessories are fun if you’re at a costume party but at a photography session it’s best to avoid the cluttered looks, bright stripes, or strong patterns. It doesn’t mean that patterns don’t work for a photography shoot, but for the most part, patterns are generally distracters.

Funky hair-dos, large accessories (i.e. hats, ornate earrings, pink fluffy scarves), and overly heavy make-up should be avoided.

Avoid outfits that show your tan lines or underclothing (i.e. bra straps).

Do not plan a new haircut, using new make-up or testing new styles before your session to avoid potential problems (i.e. skin breaking out, hair cut that’s not flattering)

I prefer the casual look when shooting outdoors. Jeans work really well with a simple one pattern top. In my opinion, photographs that stand the test of time are the ones that keep to simple, classic, and casual themes.

The typical recommendation is that you should wear long sleeve tops (for adults) and long pants/jeans/skirts etc. This draws attention to your face and eliminates potential distractions from your arms or legs. The rules are certainly not set in stone so if you prefer wearing short-sleeves tops, skirts/dresses/shorts; just be aware of the cut of the fabric and make sure it complements your skin-tone and body-type.

Good color choices would be neutral and earth tones like green, brown tones, black, darker blue, and black/gray. Those colors go well with light/dark colored jeans or pants. Darker colored shoes are also usually better under these combinations of colors.

Darker colors are slimming but if you prefer white (or lighter colored) tops; then combine it with darker pants or dark blue jeans for contrast.

Layering is also a good idea! For example: A tailored or well-cut jacket is a great combination with a light top and jean bottom

Solid colors are more appropriate for outdoor sessions. Some pattern is acceptable but if it clashes with everyone else in the shoot (i.e. fiancée, children, husband), it may be a distraction.

For photo shoots with two or more people, similar solid colors are preferred to create uniformity. For example, if blue is the choice of color, then a combination of people wearing “light” blue and “navy” blue would be fine. Pay attention to shoe colors and accessories as “clash in color” can create additional distractions.

Be conscious of your body! Wear what realistically flatters your body and fits you the best; not what fashion dictates. The worse things to see are photographs of a person in a too-tight top or bottom that don’t flatter them or their body-type.

Make-up is difficult to explain but it’s a good idea to find a balance between natural and slightly glamour (heavier) coverage! Wear make-up that complements your skin-tone. Don’t be afraid to apply a little bit heavier coverage (powder, concealer etc.) to cover any blemishes or skin discoloring. For the purpose of photography, heavier coverage (than the natural look) does look better but you don’t have to go “heavy” on everything that you end up using on your face

It may be tempting to wear heavy (and dark) eye liner and eye color, but I find that natural coloring (or neutral/earth colors) around the eyes show up much better on camera. It avoids the “raccoon” type look (for the lack of a better description) or dark circles around the eyes.

You may select to retain your individual style in this process and that is certainly your prerogative, but these are some helpful suggestions based on what’s recommended for a typical outdoor photography session. At the very least, hopefully this guide has helped you get started!

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