What to wear for your photo shoot?

The big question! It’s one of the questions that I receive most on a phone consultation for your photo shoot. Let’s admit it, clothes are much more than clothes, they’re about self-expression, who you are and what you stand for!

Let’s put your mind at ease first; there’s no right or wrong decision when choosing an outfit for your photo shoot, it’s always great to keep in mind what you want to express, the mood, the vibe. You might already have some specific outfits in mind. One of my clients had selected gorgeous, colourful and vibrant silk dresses from a designer who’s philosophy is 'beauty is dressing women by listening to their soul and stirring their passion', that’s just wonderful don’t you think?

A photo shoot might be a fantastic opportunity to wear the dress of your dreams with not a care in the world! Imagine your photo shoot like a time for play, wear fabulous clothes and celebrate yourself. If you choose an outfit for a personal branding photo shoot, you might also want to choose colour and styles in line with your brand.

Don’t limit yourself to one outfit, select a few, remember that time as a child when you were rummaging through the large trunk full of clothes hidden in the loft? Or browsing fashion magazine and stopping at every page by the dream dress you just saw!

Transform your photo shoot into a creative quest, finding the style of clothes you would like to wear, what you want to say in your portraits, where and with whom you would like to be photographed. It’s also important to choose something that speaks to you, who you are, your personality and who you aspire to be like. 

Back to the practical questions

1. How many outfits?

Bring 5 or 6 outfits; it will add variety and the opportunity to explore different styles getting a variety of images and portraits.  I.e, something elegant, something sexy, something prestigious…

Think about shape and form; you might choose something that you think should hide your forms. Not so! You want form hugging clothes as this will look better in photographs, think shape, waist and forget blouses.

2. Consider Necklines

Don’t be afraid to show off your collarbone and shoulders, mixing different necklines is another way to add varied styles. Square neck or high neckline denote power while an off the shoulder top tends to appear vulnerable.

3. Think fabric

Lace, chiffon, silk and beadwork for beautiful ornaments in your photos. It’s best to avoid high contrast patterns or prints that are distracting. Logos and graphics are a definite no.

5. Make your arms look at their best

Play with sleeves lengths, if yours arms are a trouble zone avoid cap sleeves as they put emphasis on the widest part of the arm, choose ¾ length instead or longer. To show a little shoulder without baring arms try an off the shoulder top.

6. Skip the shoulder pads

You want to avoid bulky jackets or shoulder pads, if you want to wear a blazer choose a fitted shape or a Burberry mac which will look super elegant for an outdoor photo shoot.

7. Work the miracles of shaping underwear

Consider the underwear, choose well-fitted bras, and underwear without a visible panty line. Certain looks might require a strapless bra or nude thong, black bras for dark clothing and nude for lighter shades. Sculpting shape-wear is a must for help in defining your curves.

8. Accessories

Think jewellery and hair accessories to complete each outfit. Choose timeless and modern. Also consider shoes if you have a personal branding photo shoot outdoors.

9. Hire your outfit

Your photo shoot is the perfect opportunity to dress and glam up, imagine being invited to the Oscars ceremony or the Cannes Film Festival? You'd think twice about the outfit to wear in order to make an impression.

I’ve hired dresses from Girls Meet Dress for previous photo shoots and found it a great experience; they have a great selection of dresses in different styles. It might be worth giving it a try and if you don’t find a style you like there are other sites to look out for.

10. Prepare

Thoroughly plan and organise your wardrobe before your photo shoot, your clothes, accessories, shoes, underwear, try on each outfit, including underwear and jewellery to make sure everything fits, check for visible panty lines and bra straps.

It might be time for that manicure and pedicure, but be classic in your nail polish colour, neutral is best. Note any body-hair removal requirements. If your hair colour needs to be done, do so a week before the shoot.

Do the laundry, remove tags and press if needed. Tighten all bras for extra lift. Polish your jewels and make them sparkle. Get organised and group coordinating pieces of each ensemble on the same hanger.

Top + bottom + bra + necklaces.

Arrive comfortable! Wear a comfy outfit to your photo shoot; this is what you might be wearing during styling, choose something easy to remove without messing your hair or smearing your makeup.

I hope you’ve found this helpful, tell me about your designer dream dress you would love to wear on a photoshoot?

PS. Ready to take the jump for portrait photo session? Complete the dream photo shoot form here, or learn about how to make the most of a portrait photography session.