Calendar Events Photography

What to Wear to Your Photoshoot

Anthea Van Wyk, Owner & Photographer, Calendar Events Photography

07 January 2023

So you have booked a photo session with your favourite photographer. Awesome!!

Now… have you considered what to wear to your session?

Keep in mind, your photos will outlast your current obsession with “PINK” sweatshirts. So we need to keep your wardrobe selection timeless. I highly recommend you skip the hoodies with logos, and cartoon characters. This goes for children as well–your little princess might look incredibly adorable in her Frozen dress, but do you really want to memorialize a free advertisement for a Disney movie above your mantle or do you want to look back on that time in your child’s life and see not only your child’s smiling face, but the animated face of her fleeting Disney idol just 5 inches below hers?


Another big no-no is a busy pattern or colour. Certain photographers might recommend plaid, stripes, or bright colours for the occasional shoot and will take into consideration how all of the pieces of clothing will compliment each other.

Photographers plan the theme and style of the shoot to ultimately reflect their brand (yes, photographers have a brand).

Leave behind your small stripes, high contrast patterns, and safety orange hoodie. 

Another thing to try avoid is clothing that is simply too casual. I’m not saying you should show up in your best tuxedo and evening gown, although there certainly shoots where that is appropriate.

But if you’re paying for professional photos, you may as well dress up at least a little bit as opposed to what you might wear while you binge watch a series on Netflix in your bedroom. Specifically, stay away from tank tops with bra straps showing, sweatpants, caps, and hoodies or your favourite sports shirt. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule.

But unless you’ve specifically discussed/planned otherwise, you can rule these types of clothing out. Please, don’t wear all matching white shirts with jeans as it is overplayed at this point, and we want to see your individuality.

What to wear to your photoshoot
What to wear to your photoshoot

Here are some general ideas about what to wear to a photoshoot:

  • Keep accessories and jewellery simple, or skip it altogether. 
  • Dress for the same season: If someone in your family is wearing a warm jacket, it’s not a good idea for someone else to be wearing a summer outfit. If the more we can keep styles similar the better. Otherwise, unwillingly, you might have one person standing out in your portrait. 
  • Stick to solidmuted colours–earthy tones, muted gem tones, monochrome, beige, and taupe, and dark natural greens are great examples. 
  • Low contrast outfits (if your shirt is pure white, go for lighter colour bottom pieces.) 
  • Flatteryour figure –don’t wear clothes that are entirely too tight or loose, or clothes that accentuate your insecurities. Wear something you feel beautiful in. 
  • Wear sleeves or quarter-sleeves if weather permits. In my experience, the women I photograph are most insecure about the way their arms appear. Covering your arms may take the focus away from them and flatter their shape at the same time. 
  • Dress in long skirts, pants, or dresses. There is just something about a long flowy dress that photographs so beautifully, and you will have so much fun wearing one! I have also found ladies wearing short dresses are constantly conscious of their dresses creeping up too high. 
  • Wear your hair how you like it, but typically stay away from ponytails. Typically, the looser and more flexible the style, the better! 
  • Coordinate your clothing–in group photos, try to keep everyone on the same page and colour palette of 2-4 colours. The best tip I recommend for a place to start your family outfit planning is to pick one item of clothing with a few colours (like mom or daughter’s dress) and pull colours from that for everyone else to wear. Dress like you go together. 
  • Wear something that you feel comfortable in, something that makes you feel gorgeous and confident. We’ll be asking you to move around and be natural. Don’t wear something you are uncomfortable in that makes your movements restricted and unnatural. When you feel great, that confidence will shine through in your portraits! 
  • Wear something that is true to your personality:  This is our number one recommendation. If you are not used to wearing a dress and high heels, then don’t. You’ll feel out of place and that will definitely come out in the photos. We aim to capture you in a relaxed state that lets the real you shine through. While you do need to be mindful of what you wear, you don’t need to dress up like someone you’re not. Family portraits are commonly displayed in high viewing areas to be seen by friends, family and visitors, they already know how you look normally. We don’t want to see a fake put-on version of you, we want to see the best version of the real you. 
  • Shoes: if you have selected an outdoor location, like a farm for example. Don’t wear heals or your best shoes. You will probably be walking a bit with me, so it needs to be comfortable and location appropriate.


All of these suggestions are given for the same reason: to draw attention to your faces and not your clothing. The best clothing choices are the ones that don’t draw attention before your face. These aren’t guidelines to make your life harder and at the end of the day, you need to be comfortable, and you will be the ones looking at these photos for the rest of your lives and family members after you. 

Pinterest Link for Clothing colour ideas:

Read some of our other blog posts

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join the Calendar Events newsletter mailing list. Get special offers and view exciting photography.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

WhatsApp Us