What to Wear for a Photoshoot: Fundamentals of Style

So you've recently gotten engaged, landed a new job, graduated, or started a new business!  Congratulations on this new life step!  But let me guess.  You probably want to commemorate this new life achievement with some photos.  So you hired a photographer and scheduled a photoshoot or photo session.

Now, you just have to figure out what to wear for your photoshoot.  Finding the perfect outfit or outfits for a photoshoot that will result in pictures that will last forever can be sooo overwhelming and very frustrating.

You definitely want to choose outfits that are flattering on your body and works well with the location of the shoot and gives off the PERFECT vibe.  But how do you choose an outfit that does all of those things?

I'm glad you asked!  I partnered with an amazing photographer, Amanda Olivia, to bring you this photo styling series called "How Does This Look?".  In this series, we will walk you through the fundamentals of style, provide resources for you, and give you some of our tricks of the trade to help you find the perfect look for your photoshoot.

What to Wear for a Photoshoot:  Fundamentals of Style

"How Does This Look?" will give you the confidence to choose the right outfits for you and your photoshoot.  There are six parts in this series:

  1. Fundamentals of Style

  2. Your Style v. Your Photographer's Aesthetic

  3. Confidence in Your Outfit, Posing, and Moving

  4. Dressing for your Body Type

  5. Accessories

  6. Dressing for the Seasons

This blog post is part 1 of the series, The Fundamentals of Style, from a personal stylist's point of view.  Click here to read about the fundamentals from a photographer's perspective.

What to Wear for a Photoshoot:  The Five Fundamentals of Style

When choosing an outfit for a photoshoot, it may be very helpful to consider the five fundamentals of style:  texture, color, layering, accessories, and personality.  I'll explain a little bit about each of these fundamentals as well as how to use them to help you choose what to wear for your photoshoot.

Fundamental of Style:  Texture

Texture is a fundamental that is often overlooked.  I like to style outfits using texture to add dimension to a look.  Texture gives your outfit more life so that it doesn't look flat and one dimensional.

You can use different types of material like silk, tweed, lace, or linen to introduce texture to an outfit.  For a romantic shoot, I would go for lace, velvet, or ruffles.  In a more elegant photo session, silk or satin are nice options.

It's also important to think about your scenery.  Maybe your photoshoot will have a more rustic vibe.  Denim would be more appropriate in that situation than satin. 

Fundamental of Style:  Color

When choosing colors to wear, it’s good to think about what tones and colors look good with your skin tone. Does your skin have warm undertones? Having warm-toned skin means that you have yellow undertones and you typically look good in gold jewelry. Cool-toned skin looks good in silver jewelry. And neutral toned skin is flattered with either metal.

With color, it’s also helpful to consider the season you are shooting in. You may not want to wear brown or jewel colors in the spring. Or hot pink in the fall.

Color is a fundamental of style because you can use it to convey the mood or vibe of your photoshoot. Warm colors are associated with energy, excitement, and passion; while cool colors make you think of relaxation and calmness. These feelings and emotions that we get are completely personal as well. I think of the color purple as a romantic color and you may think of purple as a mysterious color.

However color makes you feel, it’s important to consider this fundamental when preparing for a photo session.

Fundamental of Style: Layering

Layering physically adds dimension and texture to your look. A simple layering style trick is the “third piece rule”. It refers to that one extra outfit piece, other than your top and pants. Examples of “third pieces” include jackets, blazers, vest, pocket squares, and statement accessories.

You can also layer your accessories! Layering jewelry like rings, bracelets, and necklaces can also add to your look!

Fundamental of Style: Accessories

It’s important to remember the purpose of your photoshoot when picking out accessories. For example, you may not want to wear big hooped earrings for a professional photo session or loud costume jewelry for a romantic shoot.

For an engagement shoot, I would let “the ring” steal the show and wear more dainty and understated accessories.

A few other accessories you may want to think about are hats, head pieces, scarves, pocket squares (for him), or a sentimental object.

Fundamental of Style: Personality

This is my favorite fundamental of of styling for a photoshoot. No matter what you wear, you should feel comfortable and feel 100% like yourself. Any outfit looks good on a confident woman!

A big mistake is to try to be “fashionable” or “sexy” for a photoshoot if that is not who you are. Your discomfort will show in your final images. So make sure that you pick outfits that match your personality and flatter your body! (More on this in a later post.)

These are the 5 Fundamentals of Styling for a Photoshoot from my perspective as a personal stylist. Learn about what a photographer thinks about these fundamentals, check out Amanda’s blog post here!

Also, comment below for any styling questions you want answered!

Style, Photoshoot StyleToyin Alli