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  • Cover your shoulders unless you're trying to show off your arms

  • Avoid large, shiny, reflective objects

  • Horizontal stripes make you appear wider in photos

  • Black clothing is slimming on lighter complexions; Dark complexions should avoid black clothing though

  • Limit branding on clothes

  • Stick to a similar color palette for the group but DON'T wear the exact same outfits!

  • Bring good-looking layers if it's winter or fall




  • Staying warm is key to a successful winter session

  • Wear warm long underwear under pants and tops

  • Bring multiple layers with sweaters, well-fitting fleece tops, scarves, etc.

  • If possible, avoid bright and technical ski parkas/jackets which are designed mainly for function on the ski slopes and standing out

  • Thin, fashionable gloves or liners are great for keeping you and the kids' hands warm

  • Any gloves are better than none!



Regardless of the session type, wear what you look and feel great in!

Be sure to groom your hands and nails as they inevitably end up in the photographs.

Remember, these are general guidelines and if you are doing a fashion-inspired session or have a really unique style you want to show off, they are not all meant to be hard and fast rules.

Engagement Portrait Sessions

Engagement sessions are all about showing you as a loving couple that loves to be together and your clothes should allow you to be comfortable and secure.  Outfit changes are strongly recommended and we suggest bringing a bag.  Starting with a casual outfit and moving on to something more dressed up (think Sunday brunch with the extended family) is a good way to go.  Finish it off with your dressed to kill 'going out' outfit.

Senior Portrait Sessions

Senior sessions are all about showing who you are and what makes you unique at this time in your life.  Jerseys, uniforms, killer designer jeans and tops, and accessories like iPhones, notebooks, sunglasses, skis, etc. are all strongly encouraged.  Just like engagement portrait sessions, we will have a chance to move through a series of outfits and it's great to start off casual, go on to something more formal (grandma will want to see it), and finish with your best look.

Black is slimming

Unless we are using a bright white background, black is always going to make you look slimmer in photographs and minimize areas that might appear larger to the camera.

Similar tones go well together

Choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light) so that one doesn’t look bigger than the other. Think of color tones in black and white; one person in pink and five people in black is going to make the person in pink stand out.  All denim colors for bottoms work great because they look comfortable and timeless.

Wear solid colored clothing

Stay away from branding (logos), busy designs, and busy patterns. Plaid, checker patterns, big stripes and busy patterns can be very distracting in portraits.

Reflective surfaces are bad

Large, shiny, reflective surfaces such as big belt buckles should be avoided.  An assortment of bracelets, scarves, necklaces, etc. are all encouraged and can really complete an outfit.  Watches that don't hold a sentimental value should be taken off for portrait sessions.

Choose muted tones that are a bit subdued

So that you are the subject, not your clothes, and you don’t stand out from the group. Bright colors project (especially reds, oranges, and yellows), which also makes you appear larger.


Choose 2-3 colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together

Have everyone work within that color palette. The goal is to make sure no one person stands out by their clothing.

Specific portrait tips for women

  • Covered shoulders are always more flattering, unless you are trying to show off your arms, in which case, sleeveless can rock!

  • AVOID HORIZONTAL STRIPES; They have a widening effect.

  • V-necks and U-necks look better than traditional collars

  • Floppy necklined tops can be tricky; be sure to bring an alternative

  • Buttondowns and crewnecks should be avoided unless you have a long neck

  • Blouses with collars that lie flat over a jacket make a great look

  • Layering is good for portraits; a cool jacket over a tight fitting shirt is great

  • In most situations, fitted tops look better than loose fitting clothing

  • Do a crossed arms test with everything you want to wear; if you can't cross your arms comfortably without the shoulders riding up, leave it at home

Specific portrait tips for men

  • Formal portraits call for darker clothes. Lighter colors are generally better for informal portraits and engagement sessions

  • Avoid wearing a jacket that is much lighter that what you're wearing underneath

  • If it's your style, crewneck sweaters look great on guys

AFTER reading our general guidelines, feel free to visit our Family Portrait Clothing Inspiration Pinterest board here:

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