The most important thing during your couple/engagement portrait session is to be yourself! On the day of the portrait session if you are not wearing clothes you you would normally wear, you aren’t being yourself. The purpose of the portrait session is to capture you! You want an outfit to be balanced and coordinate, but not be all the same or monochromatic or plain. So vary the styles, prints, and textures while sticking with a purposeful color scheme and you will be on your way to some great couple or engagement portraits! Here are a few suggestions for your portrait session:
1. Give yourselves options on the day.
Even if you’re certain you know what look you’re going for, bring at least two outfits, one dressy and one casual, and mix it up. Trying different looks makes for great versatility in your couple/engagement portrait session, so ladies, give yourself the option of a skirt and pants.
2. Use your location and season.
The location, color and seasons should determine what you wear. Depending on whether your portrait session is outdoors or indoors, summer or fall. think about what looks will best set off the backdrop of your portraits. If you are taking portraits in a field or forest or out by the lake, casual will look great but the same outfits won’t translate as well if you are taking photos in a grande hotel, a dress and suit would be better. Maybe you are taking your portraits downtown or in the studio, either way the key is to plan your outfits accordingly.
3. Pick a color Scheme.
Stick to one or two main colors complimented by a neutral. Or go all neutral. Feel free to coordinate your look and wear complementary colors with others in the portrait, but don’t try to match them. Also keep in mind the season and the location when picking colors.
4. Vary with the tops.
Do they coordinate enough to stand alone? Are you both in plain tees or should you throw on a vest or a cardigan to mix it up? Don’t go for solid white button down shirts for the two of you. We want coordinating not matching.
Ladies, consider a v-neck top. Turtlenecks, thick scarves and sweaters can add bulk to your appearance. V-necks and open collars elongate the neck and body and bring the focus to your face. Outfits with sleeves are always flattering to arms in portraits.
Guys, consider a collared shirt for your portrait. A collared shirt frames the face and can be very flattering.
Always choose a sleek, fitted or tapered top over baggy. But don’t wear clothes that are too tight to avoid ending up with extra lumps on top. Also remember some patterns can be very flattering or very unflattering in portraits, for example stripes should be in a vertical pattern as to elongate and slim rather than in a horizontal pattern, which can leave a subject appearing wider rather than thinner.
5. Vary the Bottoms.
Decide how casual or dressy you want your portraits to be and then choose accordingly. Stay within your color scheme and then mix it up a little. If your color scheme is neutral, you may dress in a mixture of denim and khaki. Do your pants match perfectly or should you add tall boots or a skirt to change up the bottoms? You can also do light and dark denim, a skirt and a dress, tall boots and short boots (a good pair of boots can make any girl’s legs look great.) The only thing to be wary of is brightly printed skirts or pants. If the bottoms are where the action in happening, then go back and tone down the tops.
6. Layers and Accessories.
This is all about giving you choice and flexibility, and if it usually takes you a while to feel natural in front of the camera, accessories are perfect for giving you something to do with your hands. Don’t be afraid to wear things that ‘pop’ such as chunky jewelry, fun shoes, a brightly-colored blazer, a tie, a vest.
A few do’s and don’ts for the portrait session:
- Don’t forget to launder and iron your clothes to remove any stains and wrinkles.
- Do remove any pet hair or lint on clothing.
- Don’t dress to “matchy” but do coordinate.
- Don’t wear clothes that are too tight or too baggy, a fitted fit is perfect.
- Don’t have your hair cut the same day of the portrait. Schedule hair appointments at least one week in advance for a more natural look.
- Don’t over tan. Spray tans are dangerous when preparing for an upcoming portrait session.
- Don’t wear makeup that is shiny or sparkly. For example; mascara, eye shadow, blush or bronzers with a sparkle or shine.These might look good for everyday wear but they will reflect flash and leave a subject’s complexion looking undesirable.
- Don’t over do any makeup application, no goopey mascara or makeup that doesn’t match your skin tone. Remember less is more.
- Do bring the appropriate type of bra for each outfit to help minimize bra straps.
- Do make sure that the ring is sparklingly clean, and your nails are done.
Remember portraits are 2 dimensional instead of the 4 dimensional aspect of our everyday life. In essence things that may be flattering in our normal 4 dimensional lives may be very unflattering in the 2 dimensional world of portraits. We hope that with this in mind you take our clothing and color advice whole heartedly and remember to trust your photographer when placing or posing each of you.