What to wear? Here are some guidelines to think about when choosing clothing for your portrait session.
Clothing tops (shirts, sweaters, jackets, blouses, etc.) should be either quite dark or quite light in color. This allows the top to readily stand out against a contrasting background. Intermediate colors don’t produce this same rich contrast and should be avoided if possible. Also consider wearing a top that has an interesting collar and/or sleeves. These help frame the hands and face and provide a distinctive appearance to your portraits. A top that has interesting textures (e.g. a sweater) can also add depth and richness to an image. Avoid tops that have busy colors, stripes, and noisy patterns as these often do not reproduce well on film and can distract from the real area of interest – you. If you will have more than one change of clothing for your session then consider bringing a variety of necklines, textures, colors, and undergarments to achieve a wide variety of looks.
A couple of other pointers regarding colors. Darker colors have a somewhat slimming effect in a photograph. Lighter colors can have the opposite effect. You probably want to avoid clothes that will cast a reflective color on your skin tone. The camera will readily pick up this reflected color cast and render you somewhat off color. Bright reds, yellows, and oranges are common colors that can produce a color cast. Think in terms of soft or pastel colors and you should be OK. Don’t worry, if you really like that red dress then we’ve got you covered.
For couples, try to find coordinating colors. Avoid wearing the same color or the same thing unless there’s a reason (i.e. sports jerseys or matching pajamas.)
Avoid clothing containing logos, slogans, or other distractions.
If you wear jewelry try to keep it simple and elegant.
For the formal shots, try to go with a business suit or business attire that you are comfortable in.