My goal for this post is to help guide you how to dress for a photoshoot based on your own personal photoshoot goals and style. This is NOT a post that says “you should wear this type of shirt and this color works great for brown eyes and this pattern works but this pattern sucks!” because there are tons of those posts out there online, but this will give you some more insight on being prepared for your photoshoot and to put together strong looks that work well for YOU.
I always get the “what should I wear for my photoshoot” question when I’m talking to clients; often even before they book me. I used to think that styling for photoshoots was simple and straightforward but the reality is that photoshoots these days are more common and way more personalized. Everyone has their own personal style and I believe that should be celebrated in shoots.
This blog post is to help guide you to pick out photoshoot clothes that best suit you and your needs for the shoot.
Think about the reason and goals of your shoot:
Your photoshoot may serve various purposes, so each outfit look will need to be planned out accordingly. If you are shooting for a modeling portfolio, you’ll want to style your outfits that align with brands/clients you want to work for. If you are shooting for social media or dating apps, you want to showcase your personal style and allow yourself to get a lot of variety out of your images. If you are shooting for a professional headshot, you want to choose outfits that showcase a timeless signature style. If this is a personal portrait session, you want to wear clothes that you love, that will make you look back years from now and love.
Dress For Your Personal Brand
Your personal style says a lot about your brand so when choosing outfits for your photoshoot, they should reflect the brand you want to portray throughout your images. Steve Jobs always wore a black turtleneck and jeans - that was his signature style and he was photographed like this throughout his lifetime. If you have a signature style, you would definitely want to be photographed in that signature style. This works really well if you’re doing any type of Personal Brand Photoshoot or Professional Headshot. If you are shooting for a dating profile or for social media content, you want to show off your personal style and have variety in your photos. Would you want to show up on dates wearing the same 3 outfits you wore during your photoshoot? And since social media images are always updating, it’s important to get as much variety out of your social media shoot with outfits as you can!
Think About Your Audience
Digital content has a target audience and a purpose. Think about who these photos are supposed to get the attention of. The styling for a fashion model portfolio will be different than your influencer styled instagram photoshoot and that may be different than a headshot you’ll use for your accounting firm.
Look Up Visual References
The internet is FILLED with visual references - you can find people posting their outfits on instagram, you can use google image search, shop online for clothes, look at fashion blogs, my website, other photographer’s websites, professionals who’s style and brand you admire - pull together outfit ideas you love for inspiration and then start putting together your outfits. In this post I’m showing a lot of different images from different shoots I’ve done - some are for fashion model portfolios, other are for actors, others are professional headshots, personal branding, social media - all types of shoots that I do are shown!
Try On Your Outfits Before The Shoot
This is so important! If you are ordering anything online, I recommend ordering 2 size options in case something does not fit you well. If clothes are too baggy or big, they can essentially be clipped into place for shoots. Try on all your outfits, look at them in a mirror, move around in them, take selfies of yourself in them so you can see how they look. I love it when my clients send me selfies of themselves in their photoshoot outfits - this gives m a good idea of what they’re wearing and allows us to make any changes before they get to the shoot.
Don’t wear all of your everyday clothes
You don’t do a photoshoot every day so you shouldn’t wear your everyday clothes! Cameras pick up so much detail and clothes that you wear often lose their vibrance and structure after washes. Even if you’re going for the Steve Jobs black turtleneck signature look, I would recommend having fresh outfits as your photoshoot clothes. Your shirt that you wore every week for 2 years won’t fit or look the same as the shirt you just bought off the rack. Consider buying a few new items to shoot in so that your look fresh and put together. I also think that being photographed in clothes that you don’t typically wear every day is actually special. I once wore a floral shirt for a headshot I took of myself and I was so mad because every event I wanted to wear it to, I realized I was meeting people for the first time in the same floral shirt that I wore in my headshot.
Set A Budget
Set a budget for your clothes for the shoot. This will help keep you on track and help you identify the pieces you need to purchase or rent for your clothes. Rental sites like RentTheRunway.com or clothing subscription services may be a good way for you to get some unique individual pieces to wear for your photoshoot.
Keep It Clean
I’ve worked with people before who have brought stained clothes, clothes with tons of dust, animal hair or lint on them, super wrinkled, etc. Make sure your clothes are clean and presentable. Photoshop is a great tool, but wrinkled outfits take hours to retouch out well (and retouching costs can add up) and dirty clothes just look dirty and cheap.
I hope that these gave you some good points to think about when you plan your next shoot. If you have any questions or would like to see more of these types of posts, please comment below. If you’d like to book a photoshoot with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me!