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Session Style Guide

You’ve picked a photographer, picked out a date, now all you have to do is pick out an outfit! An outfit plays a huge part in how your photos will turn out - whether they be for seniors or engagements! I love helping my clients pick out the perfect outfit for their session with me, so I created this guide to help with some inspiration, and give some tips to pick the perfect outfit!

forest couples session

fall engagement photos in the mountains

senior photos by the lake


The first step in all of this is to pick a location! Once you have a location picked, it’s important to pick an outfit that will harmonize with the location. For example, if we shot in a forest or trees, you would want to pick some jewel toned greens, and some neutrals such as beige and white/cream. Another example, if we shot in a field/desert, you could wear whites/creams, browns, or mustard yellows.

couples session in idaho

Types of Outfits that Harmonize with Location

I thought I would touch on this subject real quick! Depending on what season or the weather, you’ll want to harmonize with that as well!

  • Spring/Summer: When you think of summer, light and flowy might come to mind. Things like sundresses, flowy blouses, and a cute pair of shorts, paired with some cute sandals might be a good choice! When it comes to guys, a neutral colored button up is a good choice! It is casual, and can be dressy at the same time!

If we shot on the beach, flowy is the best option! Even for guys, a short sleeve button up with some shorts or rolled up jeans would be perfect! Anything cute and casual. You could even go barefoot to go with that beach vibe.

couples adventure session in the mountains

portraits on the beach oregon coast

  • Autumn/Winter: This time of year it starts to get a bit chilly outside. You’ll want to dress for one, to stay warm, and second, to match the feel of the season. Fall is the perfect time of year to wear cute sweaters and boots. And to wear layers! Layers are visually pleasing in photos. Some ideas that you could do would be to wear a sweater over a dress with some tights and ankle boots, and perhaps a cute hat! Same goes for winter, you can layer on a jacket, and you could bring a beanie, a scarf, and some mittens. All these things are cute and warm!

fall engagement photos in the mountains

winter portraits

Complementary Colors

Colors can affect the overall feel of the image. You can ask yourself, what colors go well together? This can also go for contrasting colors! Like this image examples below, she wore a maroon/dark red dress. This worked well as a contrasting color of the location. See the guides on the next slide to see which colors visually go well together.

For my personal style, these colors look nice with the way I edit: creams, blacks, maroon/deep reds, dark greens, mustard yellows, ivory's, floral prints and lace.

golden hour couples photos

winter portraits

Consider these guides from A Pair & A Spare. It gives you a main color, then it gives color examples for a tonal outfit, or for a contrasting outfit for that specific color. Use these for a visually pleasing outfit! These color combos will look great for photos!

Details & Accessories

Another way to add interest to your photos is to add accessories! Throw on some rings, earrings, and dainty necklaces. For guys, they can throw on a watch as well or bring a belt buckle. Every little detail really makes a difference.

You can also bring a hat, or bring some extra layers with you. You can also bring a blanket to sit on, or if it’s for a couples session, to wrap around you!

portraits by the river

engagement session in the field

Hair & Makeup

Here are some things that you can do the night before or the morning of the session. Make sure your hair is freshly washed and styled, and make sure your nails are clean, and freshly painted if you like. To go the extra mile, if these are for engagement photos, get your engagement ring cleaned so it’s all sparkly and shiny for photos!

engagement photos ring shot

A Few Extra Tips:

Make sure that you are comfortable. You don’t want to wear something that doesn’t fit correctly, or something that you constantly have to be adjusting for it to look right. The shoot is supposed to be carefree and fun, and if you have a shirt that you need to keep fixing, it just won’t be carefree and fun.

If you wear a pattern, make sure only one person wears it. If multiple people were to wear it, it can get super busy and it won’t flow well. If one person wears it, it can add a nice contrast to the photos in a non-distracting way, if it follows the guidelines that I’ve previously listed.

Wear clothes that have no wrinkles, wear appropriate clothes, and wear clothes with no big distracting logos. Avoid wearing shirts with small stripes all over, especially black and white. The shirt itself is busy, which will make the viewer look straight at your shirt and not you! Plus, they tend to edit a little funny.

If there’s more than one person, it’s important to note to not dress “matchy matchy”. An example of this is wearing "matchy" flannels together. The key is to coordinate outfits. Pick a main neutral color scheme and stick with that. There’s a ton of good outfit inspiration on Pinterest for these types of shoots!

This one goes for either girls or guys, but make sure you take your phone out of your pocket! Or even your wallet and keys.

Make sure there is no hair tie on your wrist! These can be distracting and they are not cute. Try to not have one on your wrist before the session so it doesn’t leave a mark on your wrist.

Make sure your shoes are a neutral color too! If they are a bright, vibrant color, you’ll just have the viewer looking at your feet.

For you girls out there, if you want to wear high heels for your shoot, that’s totally fine! I would just suggest bringing an extra pair of shoes that are comfortable to walk in, in between walking/hiking to the different shoot spots.

And that's it!

And those are all the tips I have! I hope this was helpful in regards for what to wear for our shoot together! You can always feel free to email me with any questions!

couples session in the mountains of north idaho

engagement photos

downtown coeur d'alene urban senior photos

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