The next dilemma you face after choosing the photographer: WHAT DO I WEAR?!
I have this issue literally every morning I wake up (first world problems) and wish I had a guide on what to choose. SO, I thought it would be nice to make this list of "do's & do not's" for anyone that has an upcoming engagement shoot or portrait session that generally calls for some extra planning.
Obviously, these are all my personal opinions after years of photographing people. SO don't be sad if I crushed some preconceived outfit ideas you had. I hope you can view these more as guidelines than opposed to rules!
CONTRAST WITH YOUR LOCATION.
If you don't know what the location looks like ahead of time, google it or ask your photographer. Get a feel for what you're working with. You want to stand out in these photos so make sure your outfit stands boldly against your location's color.
If your location is bright and well-lit, wear darker colors. We don't want to play Where's Waldo whilst viewing your photographs because you blend in with the environment. Same goes to if your location is darker or heavily shaded, wear lighter-ish colors!
If you're self conscious about your weight, don't wear lighter colors. Don't let those people who say, "Gosh, you're dressed for a funeral!" sway you. Wear what's most flattering to you!
If the background you're working with is pretty plain, go for a bold print in your clothing! Remember, it's all about contrast.
BE FANCY AND BE PROUD.
I hear people say, "Well I don't normally dress like that so why would I be any different". Yeah? Well you probably don't normally have professional photographs taken of you right? (Ooo, can you sense my sass ;]) So let's be real for a second, I am not saying anyone needs to sacrifice their personal style for ONE photo shoot... The point I'm trying to make is that you can take a photo of yourself any day with your phone. Let this photo session be one where you step it up a notch because you probably aren't going to pay money for something like this very often!
Tip: No tennis shoes. And I'm not talking about a slick pair of Addidas or Nike's, I'm talking like, the shoes you take to the gym or running. No. We're not at an airport or gym. 100% no. And don't even ask my why I'm telling you 'no'. Just don't ;)
If your photographer is allowing outfit changes, bring some options! Even if your photographer isn't' allowing outfit changes and you're still unsure of what to wear, bring some options and show up early to your session to talk it over! It is a fun process to style and put together a look that best represents YOU. Not everything you bring may get used, but options are always nice.
BE MODERN. BE CLASSIC.
What I just said sounds completely contradictory, but let me explain. Being modern; don't be afraid to be too trendy. I personally love photographs that show a sign of the times. Trends are fun to experiment with and look back on. As far as being classic; let your trendy style have a classic touch to it, meaning, maybe go with more plain colors and less patterns. For example: if you're set on wearing a scarf or over-alls, have those items be a solid color as opposed to some floral design or bleach dyed pattern. This way they're showing trend while maintaining a timeless look.
Don't be afraid to add a statement piece to your outfit. A hat or flower crown, throw some pretty bracelets in there or a jacket/scarf/beanie that you're fond of. Your photographer will tell you what is too much and what looks good. So make like Picasso and grab a pipe.
Be careful not to add pieces that are completely distracting, we want the focus to be you! Not your Rastafarian beanie with fake dreads coming out of it.
DO NOT DO THIS:
TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.
Life is short, so you better have fun! These photos aren't going to end your non-existent modeling career so LET LOOSE! Although posing is heaps of fun and will take place, genuine laughs and smiles are where it's at.
WEAR LARGE LOGOS.
If this were a product photo shoot, then sure; Showcase that huge ass Patagonia logo on your hat. But if it isn't... Staaayyyyy awaaaayyyyy. You're not a walking billboard, so don't advertise something that isn't your face; it's distracting.
WEAR CLOTHING WITH A MESSAGE/TEXT ON IT.
Save the passive aggressive t-shirt statements for the coffee shop. I'm going to say it again and you're going to roll your eyes - wearing this stuff is distracting. Your photo shoot should be about numero uno: YOU. Don't let a viewer's eyes constantly drift towards your "don't get it twisted" pretzel shirt (I may or may not own this...).