Picking the Perfect Photoshoot Outfit | Minneapolis Photography

by | Mar 24, 2024 | Family Photography, Kiddos, Sessions

Perfect Photoshoot Outfits are STRESSFUL

One of the most high pressure parts of your photoshoot doesn’t actually happen when you’re in front of the camera, it happens when you’re preparing beforehand! That’s not to say that being in front of the camera isn’t super stressful, because I mean… it can be. But when you’re working with the right photographer, you’ll forget they’re there, in the best way!

But the point I’m making, is figuring out what you’re going to wear is often more stressful than the session. This is extra true if you’re not someone who has regular updates to your family photos or portraits via something like mini sessions to keep things current. The longer you go between sessions, the more stressful preparing can be! Not just because you’re not used to prepping for a session, but also because there’s a lot more pressure on the session itself to be perfect.

Whether you have sessions regularly, or you’re someone who only comes into the studio once every couple years, there are a few things you can think about to make sure you’re choosing the PERFECT outfit for your photo session!

brothers in matching navy polo shirts during Minneapolis Fall Mini Sessions

What’s the vibe for your photoshoot?

Before we think about anything else, we’ve gotta think about the “vibe”. What I really mean when I say that, is the tone or theme you want to bring into your session! This is going to vary a ton based on what kind of session you’re having, too. If your session is a Rose Garden Mini, for example, it’s probably going to be vibrant and floral and springy! Obviously you get to choose how you want your outfit to line up with that, but the vibe will be partially set by the place we’re shooting at. Choosing the perfect photoshoot outfit for an outdoor, floral themed session is totally different than choosing for other sets!

For example, you’re talking about a branding or headshot session for your business, and it’s going to be in your place of business instead of the studio… then whatever your business location looks like is going to play into the vibe of the session a ton!

The in-between situation here, is sessions that take place in the studio. For those… you get to pick what things are going to look like, most of the time! Meaning, the world is your oyster. And while some people think that’s fun and feels like an open book – others are a little more overwhelmed by all the options. If you’re of the “overwhelm” variety… I’ve got tips!

A mom hugging her two daughters during a Minneapolis Fall Mini Session

2. If there are people who you’re thinking might show up in the wrong attire… check in with them ahead of time!

We’re looking at you, uncle Bob. Because that Hawiian shirt has NO PLACE in your upcoming photo session! I’m mostly kidding, because I’m pretty sure those are weirdly coming back in style, and also, patterns are a great tool to break up blocks of color in a group photo session! But none of that is the point I’m making here.

The point I’m making, is if there’s someone in your family who you think might go off script… check in with them. Give them a call, or send them a text, and ask whether they need any suggestions or if they want your thoughts on what they’ve picked to wear to the session. It’ll help make sure you’re not worried about people showing up in inappropriate outfits, and anything that limits stress where family is concerned is a good thing. Right?

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

Picking a vibe

If you’re having your photoshoot in the studio and you’re not sure what tone you want to set, you can always talk to your photographer. But before you do, there are other steps you can take! I always suggest looking at your photographer’s portfolio, to see what kind of work they’ve done in the studio before, and what kind of props they might have available there. It might be clear that they can achieve a ton of different looks in their studio, and one of them specifically appeals to you! If they don’t have an online photography portfolio, then it might be a good idea to go take a look at Pinterest. You can put together an inspiration pin board with images that match the vibe you’ve got in mind!

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

Do you have favorite clothes already in your closet?

Now, if you’ve put together a pin-board, then you’re probably already going to have some inspiration for outfits that will fit your theme! But if not, no worries, we’re going to talk about that too. But truly, the perfect photoshoot outfit might already be hiding in your closet!

Whether you used Pinterest or not, your next step after figuring out the tone you want for your session, is thinking about the clothes already in your closet. And let’s be honest, there might be a LOT to go through. So try setting aside a bit of time to look through, if that’s the case!! Think about the tone that you want for your session, and your favorite articles of clothing. Do you have a super flattering top that you just LOVE, and you definitely want to wear to the session? If you can identify even a couple things in your closet already that you want to wear, it helps prevent needing a whole shopping trip for new clothes before your session!

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

Think about coordinating

After you’ve thought about your favorite things… it’s time to consider other people taking part in the session. If it’s a family session, you might have access to their closet to begin with! So go look – what do they have that lines up with the item or items you’ve already chosen?

Of course, if the session is just you, then you don’t have to worry about this step. This makes things easier when we’re moving onto the next things to think about when you’re choosing the perfect photoshoot outfit!

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

Think about color and texture

After you’ve considered your theme/tone/vibe, and you’ve looked at your closet for your favorite things, you’ve got to think about color and texture. This is going to be a bit more complicated if you’re planning for the whole family, but it can be stressful if you’re just choosing for you, too!

Do your favorites match the vibe?

If you’ve picked a couple things from your closet that are your favorites, it’s time to look at them objectively. Do they line up with the tone you’ve picked? If your favorite top is black, but you’re going for “floral, fun, and vibrant” – then…. Unless you can pair something colorful with it like a cardigan or vibrant pants, the black top might not be the vibe. That goes both ways though! If your favorite top is pink, and you’re having a branding & headshot session for your business that uses mostly green and blue for its branding… the pink top isn’t gonna cut it. Ya know?

So look at the items you’ve chosen, and see whether you can weed things down a little based on the colors that will go well with your theme/vibe/mood. Do the same for the colors in your family’s closet, if you’re planning for a session that includes them!

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

Time to think about texture

Then it’s time to think about texture. Now, there are a TON of different approaches to using texture in your wardrobe selections. There are also no rules, only guidelines. Because let’s be honest, what YOU think looks amazing and what YOU want from your session are going to be different than what anyone else wants from their session, and thinks looks amazing!

Some general guidelines though, are:

  • Try keeping patterns varied, if you’ve got multiple people in the session. Everyone wearing blue plaid might not have the look you wanted when you actually see your session images!
  • White is not usually the vibe for toddlers, unless you plan on dressing them when you arrive instead of when you leave the house. Sorry not sorry. It’s just practical.
  • You don’t have to choose ONE color for your session, however, choosing ten might be a little much! I don’t like putting guidelines around this, but 3-4 colors maximum is usually a good approach if you want to keep things colorful.
  • Texture doesn’t need to be a massive pattern! It can be tiny flowers, or pinstripes. Even subtle patterns can bring that extra oomph into your perfect photoshoot outfit!
  • Consider shaking up how outfits are structured! Including different pant lengths, dresses, sleeve lengths, and layering, can keep the outfit set visually interesting, especially when planning for families!

When in doubt, ask your photographer!

At the end of the day, you’re probably not a stylist or a wardrobe expert. If you are, that’s amazing, but if not, it might feel a little overwhelming to pick wardrobe items for your perfect photoshoot outfit. But if you’re struggling to decide, why not talk to your photographer? They’ll be able to help you pick, give suggestions, and help you figure out how to set up the vibe for your session as a whole. We’re here to help make things simpler for you and your family!

Jessica Strobel holding multi-colored doughnuts over her eyes, smiling wide

Hey! I'm Jessie - 

And I'm so glad you're here!



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