{what to wear for your portrait and engagement session | tips}


May 28, 2015

1. Be You

Most important….BE YOU! We know that you want the best portraits possible and you have seen the most adorable session and want to copy it. That’s great! But use it as inspiration and don’t wear something that you will be uncomfortable and self-conscious in. It will show. Our collaborative goal is to show the most authentic you, not just from the inside but from what you are wearing. You are perfect the way you are and we want to showcase YOU! Below are some helpful guidelines to help you wear what makes you feel the best, the most comfortable, and the most like yourself.



2. Step It Up

Wear what you would normally wear but step it up a notch. What does this mean? If you normally wear jeans and a t-shirt, go for it! Wear it for your session. But add a little more flair to it. Add a necklace or scarf or some adorable shoes to add some character so that you shine through.

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3. Coordinate- Don’t Match

Start with a basic color palette.  Pick out one outfit (we suggest Mom’s or the kids) and then coordinate everyone else from there. It can be a neutral or bright and colorful. However, be careful, you don’t want everyone in a bright color. That would just make your family look like a Beneton ad. You want to stick with the same tonal range with a pop of color. So if you are in a purple dress, have your husband be in a neutral color such as grey. Stay with the pop of color and neutrals or complimentary colors or the same tones of color. You want to make sure to coordinate but not be matchy match.

I love soft pastels with a pop of color, it always photographs well.

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4. Accessorize

Add a little character with a statement necklace or any jewelry. Scarves, hats, bow ties, vests, hair accessories, etc. make a great addition to your outfit. These things will help make everything feel polished. But don’t let the accessories take over or clash. Accessories are also a good way to help you interact for your photos. Playing with your scarf, wrapping in a blanket, or pulling in your husband for a kiss by his jacket can be a playful moment that’s great to capture. If you have any questions bring it along and we can play with it.

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5. Layers and Textures

Jackets and shirts with cardigans underneath or a jacket over a dress can bring such beautiful dimension to the photographs. Be sure to bring options such as these to try out and see if they work.

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6. Shoes and Socks

Yes, we will see your shoes and socks in the photos. So be sure that these coordinate as well. Sneakers are not the best option. Ladies, bring  your hot pair of heals, sandals or boots. Gentlemen, bring a fun pair of socks and some dress shoes, boots or loafers.

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7. How and Where will the Images be Displayed?

Things to think about when selecting your colors: If your home is bright and cheery or neutral and soft…this is a great guide on what to wear. Once you see the images and order wall portraits, you want to make sure that they coordinate with your home. You don’t want a bright pink color pallet for your photos if your room accents are red.


8. Keep it Simple and Classic

You don’t want to look back at your photos in two years and wonder what the heck you were wearing. So, it is best to keep is simple and classic. You can keep on trend, we love that, but don’t go too crazy with things. Keep in mind that you want to cherish these photos for years to come and have them displayed in your home. Stick with classic shapes and clothing. You will be happy years down the road that you did. Let Audrey Hepburn be your fashion guide, she never goes out of style.

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9. Movement

We love maxi dresses for this exact reason. They create movement. We love shooting you walking, running, twirling, dancing and having fun. Nothing better than a dress the will help create that movement.

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10. Patterns…we love a little pattern

Feel free to use pattern, but be sure it is only one subject and not on all of you. If you decide to have one of you in pattern, that is great, but be sure that everyone else is in simple more solid colors.

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11. Be Comfortable.

Make sure everyone can move in their outfit. You don’t want to put the little ones in something that will restrict their movement. They won’t like it and therefore they won’t last long for the session. Same goes for you. If you are wearing something too tight or too lose it will restrict you and compromise the look of your images.

For the children, please be sure that they are feed prior to session and wearing comfortable clothing.  Bring a few of their favorite toys and some snacks.  This will help them be more comfortable and make the session much smoother.

Don’t forget to feed yourself, eat a light snack before the shoot

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12. Location

Make sure that your outfits coordinate with your location. You don’t want to wear a vintage rustic soft pastel outfit in an urban setting and vise versa. And don’t forget to think about how your colors and patterns will reflect in the location. You will get lost in the background of a forest wearing green and browns as you will blend in. The colors of your outfits should play off the location. Bold hues and softer shades look nice in a rustic and/or urban setting.

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13. Props

Props add great character to your images. Just be careful not to over-do-it with the props. Keep it simple and minimal. Feel free to bring anything that you feel good in or want to be included in the photograph, including flowers or special clothing, such as scarves, shawls, veils. Contact me with any ideas, suggestions or help!

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14. Hair & Make-up

For Make-up,  I suggest you to go slightly heavy on your foundation, powder, bronzer, and bush (maybe one shade), but still stay natural. Additionally, I suggest that you go slightly heavier and dark on the lids of your eyes and either do light liner or no liner at all on the lower lid. Going heavier than usual on the mascara is always good, too. For lipstick, dark mattes, frosts, and glosses are the best. If you would like professional make-up, please contact us because we are happy to make a recommendation.

Hair should be fixed so you are comfortable with it. Some prefer to go to a stylist before the shoot; others prefer to fix their hair on their own. If you want us to have a stylist during your shoot, please let us know. Please be aware that it may be windy where we will be photographing. Bring hairspray and anything else that you use to style your doo with you. If it is a humid sticky or windy day then you will really want to use some hair spray. Don’t try a new style just for your session! Your haircut – color – perm – should be at least 7 days old to look best. We are also happy to refer professional hair stylist recommendations.

Nails do show! Make sure you have a fresh Pedi and Manicure or wear none at all. Chipped paint looks nasty! Many casual shots are done barefoot, so don’t forget about those toes!


15. What to avoid

– Logos, graphics, writing, characters etc.  – keep it clean and classy.

– Shirts with short hemlines and mid-drifts. Dress for your shape.

– Super short skirts.

– Exact matching outfits. Look coordinated, not matching. White shirts and jeans don’t have much personality and your session is your time to let your personality shine.

– Avoid the “we have to match!” mentality, unless you’re just married to the same outfit. In which case – embrace and smile!

Glasses represent a particular challenge in portraits. The lenses tend to distort the face, producing a less than pleasing effect. In general we know that you will not be pleased with portraits taken through the lenses of your existing glasses, so please be prepared to have your portraits taken either without glasses or without lenses in your frames. Wear something comfortable and in keeping with your sense of style.

As always, rules are meant to be broken and if you are on the fence about an outfit please feel free to ask us beforehand or bring it along to the session for some advice!

16. Where to shop

There’s nothing quite like a brand new dress to bring out the fun for a photograph. Here are a few of our favorite places to shop and look for outfit inspiration.

Rent The Runway



Free People





Gap (a little more selective options, great for kids)

Janie and Jack

Check out our color palette suggestions, click here.


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