Knowing what to wear for an outdoor photo session is important! Let’s talk about how you can decide on what to wear to your photo session.
What to wear to a photography session is my most frequently asked question. I get it! Figuring out what to wear is hard enough on a normal day. Add the extra stress of a photo session, and a simple outfit can cause a lot more anxiety!
The good news is, I’m here to make it easier! This is why every session of mine comes with a personalized Styling and Concept Consultation, and also why I’ve built up my photo worthy Client Closet to supplement any pieces you might need. I am all about taking outfit anxiety out of the photo session equation.
How to Choose What to Wear for a Outdoor Photo Session
If you do choose to use your own outfits, here are a few tips to help us narrow things down.
Soft, muted, rich, solid colors photograph beautifully. Think of tones like rust, sage, mustard, navy, wine, oatmeal, or cream. Some black clothing also photographs well- usually pieces with interesting details, textures, or bold cuts.
Avoid overly bright, bold, and neon hues. Strong colors will cast those color reflections back onto the skin and usually don’t look very appealing.
Work to coordinate the colors, rather than match outfits and colors exactly. Consider the scene too. If we’ll be in a green forest, you may want to wear something other than green to stand out.
Only solids and neutrals can make for a pretty boring photo gallery. This is where patterns come in! Not every pattern works though, so here is a quick run down of what to look for in yours.
Small patterns can look great, but work best on one person at a time. Beware of very small, and very detailed patterns like thin squares which don’t play nice with camera sensors.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, large, bold patterns can easily become the focus of the image instead of the people in the photos themselves. For that matter, let’s throw logos into this category as well. Save the Nike swoosh for another occasion.
Not only will we be out in the elements, we’ll be on the go too! We may traverse rocks, meadows, creeks, sand dunes- whatever is there to explore! So, be prepared for the terrain, the activity, and the temperature.
Also consider what kinds of clothes make you feel most confident! Very large, loose pieces may seem comfortable, but are usually not flattering. Pieces that are too tight can make for an uncomfortable day. Instead, wear well-fitting pieces. Try the sit test to see if anything pinches when you are seated. Depending on the temperature, also try to opt for sleeves at least to the elbow in order to avoid any bare arm regret (it’s a real thing!).
Texture is what makes photos pop, and clothing choices can do a lot of the heavy lifting here! Interesting fabrics like light flowing linen, cozy flannel, and delicate lace can convey quite a lot in the story your images will tell.
My favorite photography texture of all time is denim! I will love you forever if you bring your old jean jacket or ripped jeans.
A note about comfort fabrics too! Be mindful of stretchy, sweat wicking fabric (like in some men’s polos). These, like very small patterns, can get distorted on camera.
Whatever you decide, having a few different textures across different pieces is a super subtle way to add rich details. Mix and match- and bring some options, just in case!
Some accessories can be GREAT additions. Others feel more like major distractions. A simple test is to stand in front of the mirror and see if your accessory choice keeps pulling your gaze back to it. If it does, then you may want to opt for something more subtle.
Add layers if you’ve got them! Belts, hats, scarves, cardigans- these types of layers add visual interest compared to just a one piece outfit.
Watch for reflections in accessories like eye glasses. Consider contacts so we can see your eyes easily!
Things like apple watches and hair ties are better left off. If you forget and arrive with these kinds of items- no sweat! I’ll have a special bag for you to keep your belongings safe and sound until we are done.
Dealing with dirt is just one part of preparing for a successful session. Things can get messy out in the wild! There is a 100% chance what you wear will get nature on it, so save the super important or expensive pieces for another occasion. I have a Client Closet for this very reason though!
Remember, I’m here to help if you need more inspiration or assistance with picking your outfits too! If you’re unsure of what to wear for an outdoor photo session, you’re welcome to wear these pieces and have zero stress about the mess.
Follow me on Instagram for outdoor photography inspiration. If you have an adventurous soul and want to invest in professional photos for your family, you can book your family portrait session here. Be sure to check out my favorite photoshoot locations around Phoenix, Arizona too!