Are you slightly overwhelmed by the idea of choosing an outfit for your portrait or headshot session? The good news is that the best policy is to keep things as simple as possible. When I take portraits, I love the chance to discuss outfits with my clients before the session.
The idea of a portrait is to focus on the person, not clothes. This is even more important with headshots, where we are looking to draw attention specifically to the face.
Here are some quick and easy tips for classic portraits and headshots. I will write another blog post with ideas for more imaginative, creative portrait shoots.
1. Think about wearing an outfit which is timeless and won't look dated in years to come. Choose solid colours, with tones all in the same family. Avoid super bright colours and fluorescents because colours reflect and they don't look great reflected on your face. Patterns, busy looking prints and bulky jewellery all draw attention to themselves and detract from the face. All white or all black outfits are not the easiest on camera either. It is best not to have any obvious logos.
2. You may be tempted to wear baggy clothes to hide your figure, thinking it will be more flattering. Unfortunately, that doesn't work with the camera. Fitted or tailored clothes always create a more slimming look in photographs than baggy outfits. Having something which shows the waistline will give the body a pleasing look whereas loose fitting clothes don't give any definition.
3. Changing outfits isn't always practical, especially if the shoot is outdoors in a public place. If you can't take a second or third outfit, it is easy to create varied looks by bringing layers, for example; jackets, scarves, hats etc.
4. Pay attention to details! Lay out your items of clothing and accessories and check that each piece fits the colour and style theme. If you are wearing socks, don't forget to match them with the outfit. Nail polish! Make sure that if you are wearing nail polish, it is either neutral, or if it is coloured, that it matches the outfit and is not chipped.
5. If you plan on wearing a hat, don't have it on at the start of the session, have the first photos taken while your hair is still looking good, then put the hat on later. Also, if you are going to change hairstyles by wearing a ponytail, do that in the second half of the shoot too.
6. Last, but definitely not least - iron every item, including scarves and other cloth accessories. Our cameras capture every, tiny detail which can be a blessing and a curse. Every wrinkle or mark on clothing will show up on the image, so iron the night before and if you are taking extra outfits, make sure they are hung or laid flat until the shoot.