"My photoshoot is coming up, what on earth do I wear?!"
That's something I hear from clients and have thought myself as I was counting down hours to face the camera. And of course, there's the simple solution of just asking me for advice or a loved one you trust. And although I'm not a stylist in any way, there is a method to my madness and I will try to teach you some of the basics, so you can make an informed decision!
SOME GENERAL TIPS
- For my couples I'd avoid going all matchy-matchy, because we want your personalities, not creepy twins :)
- Avoid tiny patterns as that will create a trippy moire effect in camera and will create a lot of distraction and busy-ness.
- Try to go for non-wrinkle clothes or iron/steam whatever you'll be wearing as it is nooot fun to be editing that out.
- Take off the hairbands from your wrists! I know, it's a habit I can't kick myself, but I'm hiding behind the camera.
- If in doubt - I'm just a message away and I will always do my best to help.
Now onto the fun stuff....
1)WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?
In other words, what is your photoshoot about? Are you trying to tell a story? Is it your story? What is the focus on? Yourself? You as a couple? The visual aspect?
If it's about you, then you wouldn't want to pull the attention of the viewer away from your expressions and emotions. Try going with something neutral, whether casual or classic, something that will serve as your backdrop. Take for instance Laurel and Andy. Dressed in non-distracting clothes, they are totally the focus of the photos. And as the whole point of their photoshoot was to capture their love story, I'd say we nailed it!
Now if you're going for a statement piece, you'll be sharing the stage with whatever it is you're wearing. And that is not a bad thing at all. That's often the difference between a fashion or fine art shoot and a regular portrait shoot. In this case you are a work of art alongside everything else in frame, there's a bit of an egalitarian approach to it instead of hierarchical as in the previous example. In this one it is about Ramona's dress! But it's equally about everything else and that's what makes it so cool.
Sometimes, it's a bit of both! For instance wedding attire definitely comes under the label of statement storytelling pieces. But because of the (usually) neutral color scheme, it only adds to the story without pulling too much focus away from the main characters.
2)WHAT IS THE BACKDROP?
In my experience the best photos are those where there's a perfect balance between the location and the subject. If the subject, i.e. you, is all bright and colorful and the main part of the story, then the background should not compete for the viewer's attention. Simple minimal backgrounds make for the most stunning portraits. And that means that you can go all out with your outfit choices, all of the attention is on you. Just look at how Eline stands out with the simplest background!
But if your chosen location is breathtaking in itself, you want to organically become a part of it. Think of the color scheme of where you are. Neon pink may not be the best choice for a serene forest clearing. But it may be THE outfit for an urban setting, where there aren't any conflicting colors. If you're in nature consider the blues, the greens, and other neutral-ish colors. For example, Melanie and Brett chose the perfect outfits for a woodland setting.
4) Color Scheme
Speaking of colors, depending on what you're going for, you can use the color wheel to help you pick your outfit. This is something I will absolutely be able to help with and it's one of the coolest concepts for a top-notch photo (or any visual artwork for that matter)! You can go for complementary (opposite) colors for that strong contrast or analogous (neighboring) colors for a more "tinted" look.
Check out this green-red complementary color contrast in Bobbie's portrait and the analogous greens in Ben's!
5) Who are you?
Finally and most importantly, you should think about what you are most comfortable in. There's no use in dressing up in itchy, tight clothes or simply clothes that aren't you. Because if you're eyes aren't shining throughout the whole process, then what am I even doing? If you want to wear sweatpants and a hoodie - have at it! I'll find the perfect location for it and we'll make it work. For me portrait photography is all about making people fall in love with themselves and see what I see. And if that means breaking every single "rule" I listed above, then it's worth it! Some of my most favorite photos are of people enjoying themselves despite wearing the opposite of what I'd normally recommend.
Experiment. Trust yourself. Trust me. You will be fabulous no matter what.