What to wear to a session and other related questions

I often get asked what the best clothes to wear to a session are and other similar questions. Hopefully this post will go a little way to answering some popular queries!

The most important thing is to wear clothes you’re comfortable in, especially if your session involves children and you may find yourself sitting or crouching down with them. And that the clothes flatter you as well! For adults it is best to avoid clothes that reveal too much skin as this can distract from your face, and cameras can often make arms and legs appear wider than they are.

Secondary to that would be patterns and large logos/slogans. Most importantly, these distract in the finished photo and often really date a photo too. Simple patterns such as stripes are usually okay, although the more plain the clothing, the better it translates to a black and white version, especially if there is a wide variety in darkness/lightness of the colours chosen.

Which brings us onto colours. If you’re doing an outdoor session it’s nice to have colours that complement rather than jar with your surroundings. So earthy colours such as green, brown, blue, burnt orange etc should be the predominant colours rather than neon pinks and yellows! White and other very bright colours do not always photograph well either, so avoid having an entirely white top or bottom. Particularly vivid colours can also give a colour cast on the skin which is a pain to remove. Remember darker colours can be slimming!

In autumn there will be lots of browns and yellows around, so purples and pinks may not look so good amongst the leaves. A good autumn choice could be usually blue or black jeans with a cream or black top – a dark brown can look good too. In the spring there’s a lot of green and blue skies around, so colours such as light brown would not look so great, and green could disappear into the grass if you have green bottoms. Spring is the time for the brighter colours in your wardrobe, such as reds, pinks, blues and yellows.

Spring Photography

Make sure your colours don’t clash with other people’s each other if you can. Sometimes it can be nice to have a family all wearing shades of the same colour e.g. blue.

Try and avoid large areas of white or other very bright and light colours if you can, as despite modern technology, cameras can sometimes struggle with it especially on bright sunny days.

Just before a photoshoot is probably not the best time to experiment with a new hairstyle or make-up routine either – go with what you are used to so you’re not distracted or feel uncomfortable!

Maternity shoots can often benefit from stripy outfits to really accentuate your bump. By the time it comes to your maternity session you will know which of your clothes make your bump look its best – wear *those* clothes with a little less regard to the guidelines above than usual!

Don’t worry too much if you or your child has a skin breakout or a scratch/scar on the day. Within reason I can easily fix most blemishes in post production. A runny nose can also usually be fixed in post production, although this does take time and it’s easier all round if you’re quick and frequent with the tissues throughout the session.

Rainy photographyAnd another thing – the weather! I can shoot in any sort of weather other than heavy rain, although it goes without saying that it’s better if there’s no rain at all! Sunshine is lovely for doing effects with the light such as rim lighting, but it’s not so great in the harsh midday sun. So if sunlight is to be a part of your photos, I will strongly recommend booking the session for an hour or so before sunset (the “golden” hour) or, rarely, shortly after sunrise. In the winter, this means sessions may start as early as 2pm, and in the summer, they may start as late as 8pm.. although obviously if small children with a bedtime are involved we can work something else out. Shade is always a good option if a middle-of-the-day session is unavoidable.

A session can take place at any time of day if it is overcast as harsh light is no longer an issue – in fact the clouds act as a giant softbox and can create very soft tones.

How will you feel at the session itself? Well, try to relax if you can. You’ll find the session won’t be nearly as nervewracking as you fear it will be and you’ll almost certainly enjoy yourself. I am not a fan of being on the other side of the camera at the best of times, so I can certainly relate to nerves and anxiety. You’ll find the session gets easier towards the end and that’s often when we get the best photos. The more enthusiasm for the session all round, the better the photos.

The most important thing to remember is that the camera can only photograph what is there. Sure, I can do some retouching within reason, but you get out of a session what you put into it, especially when it comes to children. You know your children best, and although I’ll do my best to get great responses from them, I’m sure you know a lot of tricks specific to your child that I won’t. Whatever silly noises or faces you need to pull – go ahead and do them, the camera won’t record it!

Another thing to consider if your session involves children are bribes. Bribes are the photographer’s friend. Most children are absolutely fine for a short while at least in a session especially if they’re playing, but if you want group shots or some posed shots, some sort of bribery can really help! Whether that’s a promise of a play in the park when the session is over, or the more immediate raisins/sweets (works better with younger children) it can really make things go a little smoother. Try and avoid chocolate though or you’ll be forever wiping it off. Obviously bribery does not apply to babies!

grumpy children

If you’re worried about your children misbehaving – don’t worry. My worst ever subjects are my own children as they are so jaded by being photographed and I can assure you your little ones probably won’t be as awkward as they are! Obviously a great session results in better photos but I can usually get something out of even the most mischievous or grumpy toddler. If the session really doesn’t go to plan (e.g. the child does not stop screaming for one second) then usually we can rearrange a reshoot. There are always options, so please do not worry unduly.

If you have any more questions please get in touch or simply comment here and I’ll answer them – and maybe even add them to this post for future clients to read!

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