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Portrait Attire Suggestions for Men and Women

The general rule of thumb is:  wear white or pastel, you gain ten pounds; wear dark or medium shades you lose ten pounds.  Solid-color clothes, in cool or neutral shades, with long sleeves, always looks good.  Cool colors, such as blue and green, recede, while warm colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, advance.  Cool colors or neutral colors (such as a black and gray) will emphasize the faces and make them appear warmer and more pleasing in the photographs. Long sleeves are encouraged.

For Everyone:  Please don’t select loud patterns, stripes, or big words written on your outfits.  We want to have your wonderful face to be the focal point.  Solid colors work best.  Try not to wear very light colors, such as white that will make you look washed out, and, if it is sunny, ‘white out’ in the images.  It is best to wear lighter colors if you have dark skin and darker colors if you are fair skinned.  Make sure your hands are presentable, they show in portraits.  Try not to get sunburned before the shoot…and be aware of tan lines.

Try to get a good night’s sleep before the session to look your best.

Guys: Clean and trim your nails.  Have a nice haircut at least two weeks before your session, and be sure to shave just before the shoot.

Gals: Sleeves are more flattering…especially if arms are heavy. Use your usual makeup…look natural.  Don’t use glittery makeup, it reflects light and looks like white spots in prints.  High gloss lipstick should be avoided for the same reason.  Make sure your manicure and pedicure are fresh.

For Groups:  Your group’s garments should be complementary.  For example, all the family group should wear informal or formal outfits.  It’s easy when photographing the wedding party when all the dressed identically and formally.  It is difficult to pose a group when some people are wearing suits and ties, and others are wearing jeans and t-shirts.  Shoe styles and colors should blend with the rest of the person’s attire:  Dark outfits call for dark shoes and socks.  The beach calls for bare feet.

It is also important to color coordinate your outfits.  They should be similar style, and of similar solid color tones.  For example; everyone might wear light blue polo shirts, with Khaki pants.  By coordinating clothing, the portrait will be cohesive and the attention will be on the faces…not the outfits.

Robert Love boils it down to this: “Lack of color coordination is the main reason people do not like their previous family portraits.”