Styling for your Session

Karissa Layne Photography

Need some help with what to wear for your upcoming photo session? Read on! 

So basically, all my clients are perf and beautiful and will look amazing no matter what… But I wanted to put together a little styling guide here to help you make some decisions on outfits or maybe give you some tips & pointers that you have never thought of! From the photographers’ perspective, outfits are actually pretty crucial for the overall look of the photos.
So – it is definitely not something to stress about, but it is important to consider and plan for it. šŸ™‚

We are really only going to be covering two things: Colors and Styles, and then lastly my tips for a simple process of choosing outfits and putting it all together (including some of my favorite shops to find great outfits!)

(Also- I mention this at the end of this post- But I have outfit Inspo boards on my Pinterest page (Karissa Layne Photography) specifically for you beautiful people, so be sure to find me and follow that!!


Here we go! 

1. Colors

I recommend choosing a color palette to follow as the very first step. Think in terms of tones: neutral palette, earthy tones, pastels, etc. Everyone can express their own sense of style within the chosen color palette, but everyone will coordinate nicely…This brings me to another point- Focus on coordinating, NOT matching

Also use the color wheel and think about complementary colors.

I recommend choosing muted colors that are not too bright or bold. You want something to compliment you and flatter you, but not be too distracting and take away from the other pretty elements of an image (like your beautiful faces!)
I always want my photos to be about emotions and connections, so that is what the focus should be on!

(Color is SO powerful!!!) There is scientific research on different colors & tones, and the way these colors make one feel and the mood they convey. For example, blue is a very favored color among many people, and calls to mind feelings of calmness or serenity. Pink is also a calming color, and is often associated with qualities of femininity, such as softness, kindness, nurturance, and compassion. On the other hand, red, for example, evokes strong emotions (so it may be too distracting in photos). It can evoke intense- even angry-  feelings. Man, this stuff is so interesting!! Feel free to check out all the research on colors – it is fascinating! 

Another thing most people probably don’t think about or realize is that when I am editing photos, reds and oranges can be tricky to get right. This is because editing software recognizes skin tones as red and orange. Without getting too crazy or technical here, when I am editing the redsĀ and oranges in post production to get the skin tones to look best (sometimes it involves desaturating, bumping up/ down the luminance, changing the hues slightly, etc.), this can sometimes mess up the red/ orange outfits because the changes you make affect all the red and orange in the entire frame! Just a little tid bit of info from a photographer to consider:) (Some orange and red can be okay- it also totally depends on the shades,Ā but just keep these tips in mind- and if you want- totally send me a picture and ask!! šŸ™‚ (Ex. Mustard orange / rust, or more of a yellow is great. For reds, more of a maroon is okay!)

If you need some help with a color palette, for starters, here is a color palette that always looks amazing!

–> Blues, pinks or purples (light- nothing too bright or bold), pale greens, and neutrals like grey or tan !Ā 

Within this color palette, you could just choose a couple colors or you could even incorporate most of them if there’s more than two people, like for a family shoot! I would try to keep it simple though and wouldn’t try to incorporate more than four or five colors. 

I will attach a few photos here from past photoshoots I have done following this exact color palette so you can see what I mean and how great it looks! (You can decide for yourself what you like! Look at these from the perspective of potential outfit choices and pay attention to how they make you feel. Maybe someone’s outfit is too bold or too bright.Ā Recognize how that makes you feel and if you find it distracting!)
(When choosing the color palette, also think about the look: consider what season you are in, what the backdrop will be, etc.Ā Also consider your hair colors and complexions! Contrast is also really great in images!)


ALSO– patterns!!! I would recommend only ONE person having a pattern (not a crazy distracting pattern). ONEĀ person wearing a pattern and the other wearing solid colors looks soooo good. The one wearing the pattern can incorporate a couple colors within the chosenĀ color palette while the other wears a solid color within that palette. The patterned outfitĀ brings all the colors together!Ā 

This is not to say you have to follow this!!! Just some great examples šŸ™‚ 

Ā 2.Ā Styles

Something I always say is that the nicer you dress, theĀ more professional your photos are going to look! This seems kind of silly, but it’s true.
Start by identifying your purpose for getting photos taken. Are theseĀ engagement photos that will be put on wedding invitations andĀ sent out to hundreds of people, maybe used as decor at your wedding, and may be printed and framed and used as decoration in your home? You want your decorations to be nice! And this is a special occasion!

Getting professional photographs taken is an investment already, so you may as well make the most of it and have them be the best they can be!

Getting hair and makeup done professionally is a really great idea!

Here are a couple photos following my color palette from above also!

*Next, I LOVE two things in photos: texture and movement

Texture is created by the fabrics you wear and the way you layer them. Different textures (knits, crochet, leather, lace, ruffles, etc.) bring dimension to images. If you incorporate different textures on different subjects, this creates a lot of interest and just brings a lot of life to photos.

Movement! The best!! I love creating movement in photos. This adds to my style of just really wanting to capture moments in time. Taking a snapshot of real life. Movement really helps brings photos to life. This is why I love to take playful photos of my subjects running, dancing, spinning around, whatever, and itĀ is also why I love wind blowing hair around and tell everyone to just let it go and be free and I promise it looks good šŸ˜‰Ā 
This is why I almost always recommend for girls to wear something flowy! Maxi dresses are usually my top recommendation because they are perfect.
Maxi dressesĀ are 1. Flattering on anyone.Ā 2. Nice but doesn’t have to be overly formal – it can be dressy or casual or both 3. It is comfortable! allows you to sit down, dance, whatever without having to worry about showing too much of yourself (if you wear a shorter dress or skirt and it rides up that’s all you will be worried about the whole time) 4. It flows so beautifully and can create a lot of movement which is just gorgeous!!!

So again for starters, I recommend the girl to wear a maxi dress (or skirt) and then the guy can either dress the couple up or down- if you want to dress it up, he can wear a suit or nice pants and button down shirt. If you want a more casual look, he can wear jeans and a button down. I would stray away from just shorts / T- shirt outfits (that’s just my opinion!)  

ACCESSORIZE! Don’t be afraid to wear some cute accessories, but remember the rule of having it compliment YOU, not take away from you (nothing too crazy bold / distracting)! I love when someone wears a cute hat or some really fun shoes. Also keep in mind with accessories, you can wear them for some photos and some without – So that is a fun and easy way to change things up a little bit within one session too!

Hats are super in right now!
[Totally a side note rant- but photos are a fun excuse to get all dolled up! Take engagement photos for example… First of all, what a FUN time in your life that you are documenting! I alwaysĀ tell couples to view engagement photos as a date – have it be fun, be yourselves, do something that is so you guys, I always want them to just be fun and playful! Plus these are photos you will have forever (hang up everywhere and send out to a lot of peopleĀ like I already mentioned)!]Ā 

Other:
AVOID shirts with large brand logos or graphics, bold patterns, and outfits with very small repetitive patterns or pinstripes that can create moire in photos.

MY TIPS ON GETTING STARTED & PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: 

This is just an EXAMPLE.

First, have the bride choose her outfit. Let’s say a maxi floral dress šŸ™‚ She is going to be the one person in a pattern now, and depending on which colors are on her dress, her man can play off that.
Let’s pretend she chooses a tan, blush pink and blue floral dress? (idk just made this up). Then for him, we will focus on using solid colors of tan, blush pink, or blue. Maybe he will wear a blue shirt and… grey slacks? (This reminds me of an important point! I was originally going to say khaki pants, but be mindful of using too much of the same color! Remember when I said contrast is good? If her dress is mostly tan, don’t have anyone else wear mostly tan also, unless it is different enough and truly looks good together..)

Another great strategy when deciding is to just scroll through photos from photographers’ pages or Pinterest or whatever, and pay attention to which photos you are really drawn to! Notice which color palettes you are drawn to and if there are any themes of outfits you consistently love! (I know for me I am always drawn to basically the same style over and over haha!)

ALSO, bring a change of clothes! Within one photoshoot, you can get variety / two different looks!

Lastly, I am going to link some really great online shops below for you. 

These are mostly women’s clothing. But they have BEAUTIFUL dresses and other pieces perfect for photos (and obvi to wear other times too!):

lulus.com – This online shop is amazing for finding dresses of just about any color and style!Ā 

Morning Lavender – Their floral dresses stand out to me- love them! 

Citrus & Lemon – Cutest stuff ever!

Pink Blush – This is specifically a shop for beautiful maternity clothing

Called to Surf – Cute and trendy, has styling for the whole family

* Style & Select – This one is cool because they literally do outfit coordination specifically for photos!

I am going to link a few outfits I LOVE here:

Literally sooo many amazing options- I just can’t keep online shopping for you guys or else I am going to buy stuff!!

ALSOOOOOO I have Outfit Inspo boards on my Pinterest so be sure to find my Pinterest Page and follow it (Karissa Layne Photography)

In conclusion– Wear what you feel best in! Something you will feel beautiful / handsome in and that will make you feel comfortable. And wear what is most “you”! You don’t have to completely go out of your way to wear something that is way outside your comfort zone (although it can be fun) or something you don’t feel yourself in. Comfort is key! And you still want to be yourself and wear something that best represents who you are!!

And you are going to look absolutely amazing no matter what!!! <3

I hope you found this post helpful!!! Feel free to comment, share, whatever šŸ˜‰

MY clients- if that is you – know that you are always more than welcome to ask specific questions/ send photos of outfits you have put together and want my input on! šŸ™‚

I am here for you always!!! xoxo

  1. […] I did some online shopping for you! šŸ˜‰ So I linked some outfits below – I tried to do a variety of outfits – both nice and more casual, a variety of colors (that of course would look bomb in photos), and variety of styles and price ranges! I know that all of these would look absolutely amazing for the photoshoot, so I hope you find something you love here and that this is super helpful!!! (Oh these are also affiliated so win win! Thank you so much!!) In case you missed it, here is my blog post on general styling tips: https://karissalaynephoto.com/2019/12/10/styling-for-your-session/ […]

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