19 Oct What to wear? Clothing and styling tips for portrait and family photo shoot

Beautiful and memorable portraits require planning. As a photographer, we will control the lighting, angles, composition, and other elements of portrait photography that will give it an artistic dimension and be flattering to you. However, for your portrait to have the depth, richness and ambience that will make it a personalized work of art requires a certain amount of planning, preparation and co-ordination.

When it comes to outdoor portrait sessions, natural light plays a very important role. Whether it is portrait session of an individual, couple or family, it is all about simply enjoying the time with your loved ones. As we all know, unlike studio portraits, outdoor sessions are subject to various weather conditions. While you may easily pose indoors in a summer floral outfit, but in winter the same outfit may not be the most suitable one for a windy and cold December day in England.

Outdoor Portrait Photo Shoot

The key ingredient for feeling comfortable is therefore dressing according to the temperature, whether it’s a hot summer day or cool autumn afternoon, making yourself comfortable is must. As if you don’t feel comfortable then you won’t look good as camera can easily capture your emotions.

What is the proper outfit then? Posing in that favourite elegant dress against a romantic background may work perfectly well during warmer months from mid-April to mid-October. However, if you plan for an outdoor portrait session in late fall, winter or early spring season, think of your comfort first: a warm jacket and a pair of gloves will make the session much more enjoyable. Add a touch of colour with a special scarf and a pretty hat. And of course there is always a way to make warm clothes look elegant!


Fine portraiture captures your facial expression, mood, and presence. You are the focus of the portrait. Anything that distracts the eye away from you — colors, patterns, accessories, or props — should be avoided. Try to match the shade (darkness or lightness) of your clothing to the background that will be used for your portrait.

Studio Photography

Please see list of guidelines for portrait photo session:

  • First and foremost: Be sure to check the weather forecast twice: while packing for your trip and the day before your portrait session for the latest updates.
  • Prefer to wear solid coloured clothing which will emphasise on your face and no one person stands out. If you wear stripes or flowers, you will stand out from the rest of your group.
  • Choose soft tones that are subtle as you are the subject not your clothes and you don’t stand out from the group. Bright colours project (especially reds, oranges, and yellows), which also makes you look larger.
  • Choose one to 3 colours for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones. Or tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.  So that we see the people first and your portrait looks stunning.
  • keep jewellery simple and minimalistic because too much draws attention from your face
  • do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes – no fancy up dos with jeans, no pony tails with evening gowns, etc.
  • Remember that coats, jackets, scarfs, hats and gloves can be colourful and fun, or just as elegant as your evening gown
  • And last but not least, what really matters is you being cozy and comfortable enjoying the photo session, as this will definitely show in the photos!

Outdoor Portrait shoot

Finally, remember that a properly dressed person is a happy person, and we love to see happy people with joyful expressions in front of our cameras as these memories in the pictures will remain with you forever!

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