What to Wear

This one stumps lots of folks!  And frankly, my recommendations are different for each type of session you might book.  What I suggest for Seniors is different than I what I tell business headshot clients, etc.  But there are some basics when picking your wardrobe, and a few things to remember for ANY session you book.

First, for all sessions, be sure to bring the following:

  • Clothing selections ON A HANGAR – to avoid wrinkles.
  • Jewelry and accessories for each outfit in a small plastic baggie attached to the hangar with the outfit.  It makes it easier to find at your session and saves time when changing quickly.
  • Refreshers products for your hair – combs, brushes, etc.  I do not provide these as they are a personal item, so please be sure to bring your own so you can keep the hair looking tidy.  If you use hair spray, bring it along!
  • Make up – even GUYS should think about at least chap stick!  Lip gloss or color for girls/women, matte powder to help with skin shine, etc.  Bring more than you think you’ll need just in case!  Watch out for blotchy colored skin, and shine on the face.  Both are difficult to compensate for later, so controlling them before your session will produce more desirable images. Keep it as natural looking as possible, whenever possible so you feel like you look like yourself.  If you would like the names of hair and/or makeup artist I am happy to provide some names of good ones.
  • Nail Care – please pay attention to your nails and hands as in many poses they are seen.  So wear rings appropriate to the outfit, coordinating or muted nail color, and have nails manicured cleanly.  THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESS SHOTS.
  • Face & skin – if you have a sunburn or dry flaking skin your skin will not photograph well and you will not be happy with the results.  Try to avoid sun exposure that will result in sunburn for a week before your session, and if  you are experiencing unusual red splotches or dry flaky patches, be sure to use a good moisturizer and matte powder foundation to even out your skin tone.  Blemishes and light acne can be fixed in post processing, but the overall skin tone will be best if you have a good foundation color OVERALL.  This goes for skin shine also – if you are prone to shiny skin, be sure to use the shine off wipes available at most cosmetic counters to help control the shine for the best skin tones possible in your final images.


Did you get the link to my STYLE GUIDE?  If you didn’t, just ask – it’s the perfect resource to help you plan for great outfits and a great session!

As a reminder – bring all clothes, sports uniforms, hobby items, prom dresses, other formal wear on hangars so they remain wrinkle free and looking good.

Select your colors so they are complimentary to you – you can break the rules and use lots of patterns in many of your images, but also bring some sedate items for basic headshots and for the more traditional poses.  Be sure to include clothing that covers the shoulders for the head and shoulders images as thin straps and/or strapless items tend to look less desirable in tightly cropped images.  (you might look naked and the parents typically balk about that)

Consider these tips:

  • If  you don’t like your arms – wear cap sleeves or 3/4 sleeves to slim them out better.  Even a jacket or sweater will minimize attention to the arms and you’ll enjoy the results if that is an area of concern.
  • If you don’t like your legs – don’t wear mini skirts!  Most poses will show more leg rather than less, and if you are already showing more leg, you will be disappointed in the results if this is a troubling area for you.
  • If you don’t like your belly area – don’t wear tight tops and low cut jeans.

Dress with items that forgive the areas you don’t want attention drawn too!

Here is one sample color palette – and take a peek at the color scheme slideshow also to find other color combos that work great too!

Don’t forget the shoes!

Business Folks

  • Bring at least two business shirts – one white, one colored.  Two coordinating ties, and two jackets if you wear them regularly.  Select jackets that are different tones – one dark, one light if possible.
  • Bring a casual outfit too – one for Facebook, etc.  You’re coming already, might as well get a fun shot while you’re here!
  • Make up refresher and basic hair care for touch ups while changing


This one is harder – you have to consider the resulting images and where you will use them.  Will they be displayed in a living room, family room, other?  Will you want black and white, or color?  If color, you’ll want to consider the clothing of the family members in the end image.  If your family room is traditional colors of browns and blues, you won’t want bright pinks and purples in your family image.

I don’t suggest matching everyone, either.  I recommend finding three colors – one base (black or brown) and two accent colors.  Let one person where a pattern – like an argyle sweater for example.  Pull the colors in the sweater out and let others wear coordinating pieces in tones of those colors.  Do not let everyone wear a pattern – you don’t want more than one floral in the image unless they match, or they will fight each other.  You should coordinate your patterns – stripes, florals, plaids – with the basic color family of the image.

By keeping a base of colors throughout what everyone wears, you can coordinate the subjects AND be happier with the end result on your walls.

If you would like to consider more options for color palettes – I’ve put together some popular color options here for your review.  I hope you find a color scheme that works for your session – if nothing else, inspiration may hit and give you more options than you had before!

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