So you have a collection of clothes and outfits, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything you’d want to wear for your session. If you’re going to photograph in let’s say four outfits, don’t bring only four pairs of jeans and four shirts. Unless, of course, that’s all you ever wear, or you have some special reason to do so. For the ladies a similar mix of standard items matched with standard companion clothing might not work so well. Think VARIETY, UNIQUENESS, and of course STYLE. Clothes are an important part of the person that you are, and they are an expression of your style and how you see yourself and want others to see you. Thus they are an important part of your senior session, so here are some ideas, thoughts and guidelines on what to choose and what to bring:
Variety: Choose a VARIETY of outfits. It's a good idea to include both casual and more formal outfits in your senior portraits. You choose a couple and let Mom choose one or two, that way everyone is happy. Also use a variety of colors... for example, if you bring a black, gray and white outfits for a 3 outfit session. You're previews will be really drab and boring. These are all good choices, but include some items of color too! Stay clear of stripes! (large bold ones of 5+" are tolerable. Small thin ones will not photograph well. It's best to not use any stripes or solids with 1-2 stripes or lines.
Sleeves and skin: Your face should be the focal point of your portraits. A little Visine will "get the red out" if you have allergies! If you wear makeup don’t overdo it, and make sure it matches your completion. The most common problem we see is sunburn and tan lines from the tanning salons! Everyone please keep out of the sun a week or two before your session. We often see uneven sunburn from guys who wear ball caps, peeling skin on noses from recent burns, raccoon eyes from those who were burned while wearing sunglasses. Or strap lines on the shoulders of gals who wish to be photographed in a strapless formal dress or top. Sunburn, uneven tanning and tan lines cannot be retouched. Your session will need to be rescheduled. Sleeves are generally better than no sleeves, and longer sleeves are better than short sleeves. Long sleeve solids or very subtle prints are usually the most flattering in portraits. This is simply because they eye goes to the lightest, largest item in the picture and if this is your shoulders and arms, it will take the viewer’s gaze away from your face, which is generally the center of attention. The larger the arms and shoulders, the more the distractions. So if you want to wear a spaghetti strap dress, a wrap over it might be a great choice.
Colors: Wear colors that you look GREAT in. Medium to dark clothes look the best on dark backgrounds. So if you like these more dramatic looks, use darker more subdued colors. Medium to light colors look the best on lighter colored backgrounds. So if you like the lighter sets and backgrounds, bring lighter clothes that will go good with the backgrounds you prefer. For outdoor portraits. Be careful of bright greens as they often clash with the greens of the leaves and grass. Black, Khaki, pink, orange, navy, tan, gold, burgundy, dark yellow are good outdoors. We recommend staying away from white, light/pale yellow or other very light/pale colors outdoors. Busy patterns and loud colors can be very distracting in your portraits. Avoid large & bold patterns that might tend to draw attention away from your face. You probably already do anyhow, but think in terms of the colors that go best with your complexion and hair coloring. What color are your eyes? If you wear at least one top that matches your eyes, it tends to make your eyes glow as if they had batteries in them.
Outfits: Think in terms of total outfits. We’ll go through your clothing when you first come in for your session, but what I want to see is what you would wear together, not just a random inventory of tops, bottoms and shoes. You don’t want all your senior pictures looking pretty much the same because the clothing never varies, or varies so little that nobody notices.
Cleaned, pressed and properly fitting: Make sure everything is clean and pressed. I can’t tell you how many times people have shown up with clothes that really needed to be laundered and ironed before they arrived. Second biggest problem is clothes that are wrinkled or don't fit. Gals, don't bring your clothes rolled up in a ball in a backpack. They'll be a winkled mess and they will photograph that way. Guys! we see over and over that their shirt collar and sleeves do not fit. Often due to a bad fitting or borrowed suit items. It is imperative that your shirt and tie are properly fitted and that your suit/sport coat is the proper size. You won’t look your best, and we really want you to.
Styles: Traditional styles will stand the test of time and keep your portrait looking fresh for years to come. So try and use styles and looks that will be in style "next year" as well as this summer. Otherwise you're portrait will look dated and out of style in a year or two. Classic solid sweaters will always be in style. Trendy summer tops will look out of place next summer.
Shoes and socks: Some poses will show your shoes so don't forget to bring shoes & socks for each outfit that you plan to wear. Barefoot and sandals! No problem for your casual clothes. And though white socks are in, they don't photograph well. So bring darker ones too. (just in case they show!) Guys don't forget those belts.
Glasses and contacts: In the studio lenses should be removed from your glasses (not required but highly recommended). Your optometrist will do this for free if you can't do it yourself. Or... borrow a pair of empty frames from your optometrist that look similar to your own. Glasses with lenses can cause issues with poses and head position in the studio. We can turn and position you so lens glare is less obvious, but we cannot retouch out the glare patterns that often occur. Also we cannot correct as well for the shift in your face caused by the lenses. Contacts can be worn, but often your eyes will be less red and will have more sparkle if you can get by with your contact lenses out.
Hair: You should wear your hair in your regular style. Guys should NOT have a fresh haircut, but should have a fresh shave! 5 o'clock shadow will show and can't be touched up! If you need a trim, have it done about a week before. Gals, don't go get a new style or go to a new stylist that you've never used before.