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Photography Stories ♥

South Australian photographer Sarah Petrusma's photography blog. Full of thoughts, ideas & favourite stories


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What Clothes Should You Wear to Your Portrait Session?

Portrait sessions are so much fun! They let you really relax, be yourself, go on an adventure and create gorgeous memories for your home, family and friends. One question I get asked a lot though, is "what should I wear to my portrait session?" There are a lot of different posts out there with suggestions, but I wanted to really keep it simple and give you a few tips that will help you to feel comfortable and provide some beautiful photos.

What You Should Do!

It's super important that you're comfortable in the clothes that you choose, both literally and figuratively. You should LOVE your outfit so much that you'd happily wear it every day if you could. (It may end up being one that you look at every day on the wall.) It should be an outfit that makes you feel like you, makes you feel confident and makes you feel hot. It should also fit well and be easy to get around in. With no tight pinchy bits, awkward loose baggy bits or wobbly ankles. Not only should you feel like you look amazing, but you should also just feel amazing and be able to easily move.


I love colours in shoots, and if you choose more muted and subtle tones then you're going to have beautiful colours that are well balanced and don't dominate the photo. Unlike overly bright or fluro colours, muted and subtle colours generally won't leave ugly colour casts on your skin.

Colours (along with the colours in your location) can also really impact the final feel of your shoot. If you wear warm colours, then your photos are all going to have a lovely, warm feel to them. If you wear blacks, whites and greys, then you're going to have beautiful, minimalist photos. And if you wear gorgeous, muted blues or yellows or purples etc, then your photos will have a funky and bright vibe.


When choosing your outfits, make sure that it won't clash with your partner or other family members. Definitely don't try to match completely (like a strange family uniform), but also make sure that you wear similar tones and styles of clothing. Either both be casual or both be semi-formal, either both wear earthy colours or both wear cool colours.


What to Avoid

I'm not much of a no person, but if you want to avoid ugly colour casts and distractions, it could pay to follow these no no rules.

One thing to most definitely avoid in your shoot are clothes that are fluro, super bright or full of crazy patterns, as they completely distract from anything else in the photo. Very bright, fluro colours can also cast ugly colours on your skin. Bright, fluro colours are a big no no.

There's a little more leeway with patterns, but you have to be careful with them. If there is an outfit with crazy patterns, this is the person who will be drawing all of the attention in the photo. If there are two or more people with crazy patterns? Then that can really clash. Patterns tend only to work when the shoot has just one subject, the background is simple (such as the beach), and you're going for more of a funky feel. I love the photo below, but the only reason it works so well with that complex pattern is because the majority of the frame is taken up by a blank sky.


There seems to always have been a bit of a fad for every person in a family or engagement session to wear exactly the same outfit. Such as a matching black top and blue jeans. To me this just says cheesy, fake and posed. Whilst it's important to coordinate, matching completely in every way can look a little bit strange. My sessions are all about being natural and real, and I'd hate for the natural beauty of your photo to be taken away by a silly family uniform.

Final Words

In the end, you shouldn't stress too much about your outfit. As long as you love it, feel comfortable in it, don't go too crazy with the colours and patterns, and would love to see it hanging on your wall every day you should be fine! This shoot is about you, your unique style, your beautiful face/s, your connection and your adventurous life. Dress for you! xx