The Portrait Session Style Guide by Natalia’s Heart Photography

Whether I’m capturing your engagement, a special anniversary or milestone, or an annual family portrait—I feel so honoured to be a part of the most meaningful moments in your life. And as a portrait photographer, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “what should I wear to my session?!” 

Making sure you walk into your engagement or family session feeling confident, excited and well-prepared is so important! That’s why I’ve compiled my go-to Portrait Session Style Guide so that you can enjoy every moment of your portrait session, and ensure the best possible outcome—photographs you LOVE! 

1. Number of Outfits

Changing outfits during a season always takes more time than expected. To get the most out of your shoot, I recommend the following number of outfits:

  • Family sessions: 1 outfit
  • Maternity or couple: 1-2 outfits
  • Branding or corporate: 2-3 outfits

Remember, it’s more important to choose a couple outfits that you love instead of trying to fit in as many different looks as possible. This also ensures that you’ll end up with the highest number of photos possible! 

2. Dress it Up 

A photoshoot is your chance to do it up! Remember, there’s no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! This is a perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a new outfit or some amazing accessories. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money but want a chic, designer inspired look, you can look to rent pieces from companies like Rent the Runway. 

Dresses and skirts tend to look best on camera because they really flatter the female body. I recommend choosing long, flowy dresses or skirts to bring extra movement and dimension to your photos. You know, that dreamy “twirl factor”!

3. The Shoes

For shoes, keep in mind that heels elongate women’s legs which makes them look more toned. I always recommend wearing closed-toed heels because they look great on camera and carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe! If your toes are peeping through, you may want to schedule a pedicure before your session. If your shoes won’t show at all, you can always get away with wearing a pair of flats or flip flops to be more comfortable—your feet will thank you later!

4. Make a Statement

Accessories can take any outfit from pretty to perfection! Whether it’s a necklace, pair of earrings, belt, hat or scarf, statement pieces can bring great visual interest to your photos. My personal favorite? Floral crowns and bouquets for a romantic touch!

5. Go Pro on Hair & Makeup

Similar to treating yourself to an incredible outfit, going a little extra on hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera. Whether it’s a blow out, lash extensions, or professional makeup, looking your best will ensure you FEEL your best—and that will translate in your photos! 

6. Choosing Colors

When choosing colors for your outfits, you can’t go wrong with neutral tones or more muted shades like cream, taupe, camel or light gray. The camera loves soft neutrals and they also look great in almost any environment! Color palettes will also depend on the time of year and the location of your portrait session. A fall or winter session is a great opportunity to incorporate some jewel-tones like mustard, burgundy or a beautiful emerald green. The general rule of thumb is to keep away from bold, neon colors to keep the focus right where it should be—on you!

7. Tips for Your Man

Taking photos may not be every man’s favorite thing to do, but many actually enjoy getting all done up! Styling tips for men are pretty similar to those of women: 

  • Keep colors tones soft and neutral
  • Choose the most flattering fit for dress shirts, slacks and blazers
  • Avoid logos or strong sprints
  • Go for layered looks by adding a vest or belt

8. Coordinating Looks

As you’re coordinating your outfit with your love or family, keep in mind that outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and pieces “work” together—but this doesn’t necessarily mean everything has to “match”! For example, don’t feel like you need to put all your children in the same type of outfit. If one daughter wears a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and booties, the mix of pieces will bring even more visual interest to the photos. 

At the end of the day, the outfits you choose won’t matter nearly as much as the fun and memories you’ll make. Style will definitely enhance your photos, but the most important accessory to bring with you is joy and a smile. 

Your photographer will take care of the rest. 🙂

leave a comment

I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

stay in the know

Anytime I offer something new or exclusive, my email friends are the first to know! Sign up below to stay in touch. 

Thank you for subscribing!