The topic of what to wear during a photo session comes up all the time. I get questions all the time from clients and other photographers about the best way to style photographs so that the subject looks good and interacts well with the background. So today, I want to share my style guide with everyone in hopes that it provides some help!
When I first began as a photographer, I would just send people a text with recommendations about outfits and hair and makeup. Then as time went on and Pinterest became a household must-have, it became clear that people wanted physical examples of the best way to dress for a photo session. So, the style guide was born!
The style guide encompasses everything from colors to patters to the most comfortable type of clothing to wear, to whether or not to wear accessories.
And one of my favorite parts – it discusses how to style children. This is always a hot topic for family sessions. Parents always ask if they should dress up their littlest humans. My answer, usually, is no. In my experience, children are most photogenic when they feel normal and feel natural. When you get them all decked out in the 3 piece suit, they start to realize something is out of the ordinary, and they panic. They aren’t themselves and they can’t act natural. That’s not the case for 100% of children, and by no means am I an expert on any child, anywhere, ever. You know your kids, but in my experience, kids are just best being kids. And that includes their clothing.
My second favorite part is the hair and makeup recommendations. We all want gorgeous photos, so I always recommend professional stylists. BUT, is that always in the budget? It sure isn’t in mine! So, I included some helpful tips and tricks (life hacks, if you will) to getting hair and makeup done without the steep cost.
You’ll see some examples of sessions I have shot over the years that I think were styled perfectly. The client wore beautiful clothing that made the photos feel authentic and believable. We can all tell when someone is dressed in something they have never worn before or aren’t comfortable in. I think it is so important to be comfortable in your photos. It shows in the final result and helps you have a good time during your session.
I look back on my personal engagement photos and I love them. But what I love most is that I still wear the shoes I was wearing in them, I still have the dress, and I still wear the same black tank top that is a staple in my closet. The photos are authentic. My (now) husband wears those same jeans and the same button-up shirt that we took those photos in years ago. They mean that much more because I know they are truthful to who we are.
I hope this blog, and the style guide, provide some guidance in the area of wardrobe and hair and makeup.
Below is a link to the 2017 style guide (low resolution). If you would like the 2017 high resolution style guide, please reach out and request it! Clients, you automatically get it when you book a session!
Photographers, if you have a question, leave it below or reach out via email, etc.
Clients, if you have a question, reach out! Ask away! I am here to make your photos the best they can absolutely be, and that starts long before I ever pull out the camera 🙂
Jennifer Cole – Bagley