Outfit Selection

How to choose the right outfits for your photo shoot

When you schedule a photo shoot, your outfit may be the last thing on your mind, but they are a decisive part of your photos. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right clothes for your photo shoot, including theme, location, colors, comfort, and accessories.


Does your photo shoot have a theme? If there’s a theme, your clothes will make or break the photo shoot. Outfits that don’t fit the theme will create photos that are jarring. Unless that’s the purpose of your photo shoot, you’ll want to pick clothes that align with your theme. It’s important to not, sometimes a shoot’s location can turn into a theme.


Consider the location of your photo shoot. Will it take place indoors or outdoors? If it’s an indoor shoot, you’ll have more outfit options. If your photo shoot is going to take place outdoors, you should choose outfits that prepare you for the weather. Otherwise, you may end up red and sweaty, or your shoot may have to end early.

Additionally, your location can set up a type of theme. For example, Paint the Moon gives the example of a couple dressed in vintage-style clothing with a retro amusement park background. Draw inspiration from your location for your outfits. If the shoot takes place on a boat, wear nautical-themed clothing.

Don’t forget to wear the right shoes. If your shoot takes place in a grassy, sandy, or muddy area, stick to flats, boots, or sneakers. If you decide to bring heels anyway, bring a change of shoes, just in case.


Stick to solid colors and clothes, and think about your surrounding. Choose colors that are complemented by your surroundings; avoid choosing colors or prints that clash with the environment. You don’t want your outfits to draw attention away from the subject: you.

For group pictures, Paint the Moon advises you to “coordinate colors but don’t match.” It’s easier if you start with one main outfit, and build the other outfits based on the colors from that outfit.

Darlene Hildebrandt, the managing editor at Digital Photography School, suggests choosing colors that are more subtle or subdued. Hildebrandt also suggests wearing like colors. If you choose to wear a dark-colored shirt, wear dark-colored pants. If you choose to wear a light-colored shirt, wear light-colored pants.  


Comfort is essential. If you’re not comfortable in your outfit, it will show in the final photos. Choose outfits you feel comfortable in, so you’ll feel confident during the photo shoot.  


The right accessories can draw attention to your favorite features. Paint the Moon recommends choosing accessories that can act as accent colors for the color scheme of your photos. The right accessories—hats, scarves, etc.—also become fun, interactive props.

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How to prepare for a photo shoot

1.       Pre plan outfits paying attention to color schemes.  Colors that compliment your complexion/s are best.  When deciding what to wear for the special day, you may want to concentrate on whites and creams, or consult Pinterest for an array of color schemes and ideas.  Please note accessories and shoes are just as important as the outfit.  It is also a good idea to choose colors that contrast with your hair color.  For set, styling, outfit, and accesory ideas, please visit our Pinterest page at:

2.       Professional Hair & Makeup is always strongly recommended:
Schedule a hair & makeup artist with your appointment ending 30-45 mins before you have to leave for the shoot.  (pad the timing between)  Also plan to keep powder and lip colors handy on the set.

3.       Enjoy a manicure and pedicure the night before.  Keep in mind your toe nails are just as important as your fingernails.

4.       Note:  Be sure to coordinate the timing of your shoot with your routine hair maintenance.  a.k.a.  If it’s time to touch up your roots, and you need to schedule your color treatment, make sure your shoot is scheduled after your highlights and color.

5.       If there are small kids involved, set expectations with the kids beforehand.  Let them know how important it is to look at the camera, and the photographer holding the camera. 

6.       Also, when children are involved, be sure to set expectations with the adults as well.  Make it very clear to all the adults how important it is to only have the photographer talk to the children.  It is too common that the parents stand to the side of the photographer, and think they are helping, and in the end the child/or children look away from the camera as there are too many people trying to get the children’s attention.

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