Denver Colorado Portrait Photographer


One of the biggest asked questions I get from my couples, or really anyone that is stepping in front of my camera, is “What do I wear to my photo session?” So here is a 10 step guide to help you get the BEST OUTFITS for your upcoming session!

So you’ve booked a photo session with your favorite photographer. You’ve had a consultation, you are prepared in terms of when to show up, when payment is due, where your shoot will take place, and what style your photographer typically presents. But have you considered what to wear to your session? Is this the problem that you’re stressing out about all of your options, completely lost in the possibilities? Clothing might be a top concern for some, but many still neglect to consider what they will wear during the moments they plan to capture, display for a lifetime, or pass on to loved ones long after. Determining what to wear to a photoshoot doesn’t need to cause you to stress, but you should include it as part of your preparation for the session.

What NOT to wear to a photoshoot

Other than obvious brands, logos, or advertisements, a big no-no for your attire is a busy pattern or mega bright color. Your favorite everyday shirt might be one with every color in the rainbow in a plaid pattern, but I can guarantee that it won’t look as amazing in a family photo as it does in your full-length mirror. Certain photographers might recommend plaid, stripes, or bright colors for the occasional shoot. Even still, your photographer 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 mega bright safety orange hoodie.  These types of patterns can create a dizzying and unflattering pattern in photos and they also don’t complement skin tones well. Obviously, we all want to look our best in photos and bright colors etc just don’t do that!

The final piece of clothing you should pass on is anything that is just 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 and us photographers LOVE when you do, 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 marathon Netflix in your bedroom. Specifically, stay away from tank tops with bra straps showing, white tees with subtle pit stains, strapless tops, sweatpants, hats, and jerseys. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule. But unless you’ve specifically discussed/planned otherwise, you can rule these types of clothing out. And definitely don’t wear all matching white tee shirts with jeans. Not only does it border on too casual, but it’s just downright unoriginal and overplayed at this point.


This is probably the most important one! This is why it is first because if there is one thing I want you to take away from this post it is the color selection of your outfit. You want everything to flow and to look nice. Generally, I recommend earth tones but this doesn’t always have to be the case. I attached a couple of charts below that will help give you an idea of what colors work well together. Obviously it is your photo shoot and not mine so you should definitely wear whatever your heart desires but over the last several years of shooting I have noticed what colors tend to look most flattering on skin tones and surrounding outdoor locations.


Spring & Summer: Summer trends such as sundresses, nicer sandals (not casual flip flops), lightweight light-colored pants and a lightweight button up on the men are great examples for a solid summer session outfit. I love lighter colors in the summer such as pastels or light neutrals. So often in summer, we end up shooting surrounded by greenery, so staying away from wearing greens, or darker colors are usually best to make you stand out from the background.

Fall: Layers, layers, layers! Whatever you decide to wear, layers are your best friend. We are talking a cute top, jacket or sweater, little neck scarf, whatever you want to add more depth into your outfit. Fall is perfect for that. Tones during this time of year (at least local to Colorado) are typically yellows and oranges outside. So try to get tones and outfits that go well with this.

Winter (snow sessions): Layers like the fall session example are perfect as well! For winter I also love a cute beanie, some mittens to throw on for a few shots, be creative and have fun with it! Just remember…If there is snow, do not wear white or creams if you can avoid it. If we are going to be in a heavy snow area, you can still wear lighter colors just make sure they contrast against white enough so you don’t disappear into the photos.


Will you be surrounded by pretty greenery? Wear lighter colors to stand out. Will you be surrounded by rolling hills with more of a tan tone overall the dry grasses or at the sand dunes? Wear whatever colors for this, but my personal fav is when there is a pop of color in those! If you need help or guidance, talk to me or your photographer for more help.


I’m sorry, I know you wear your Apple Watch so much that it is basically a part of your body. But please take it off for your photoshoot and replace it with a classic watch. I promise it will look so much better in photos! Also, don’t forget to take your phone/wallet out of your pocket!!


Patterns are TOTALLY okay. Just don’t let them take away from you or the beautiful surroundings. I also suggest that if one person from the couple is wearing a pattern, that the other person should be wearing a solid print. This helps things not to get too crazy. I would not recommend wearing any logos or graphic Ts. Bright florals tend to be a little loud but depending on the location and outfit, these can also look great. I say it tends to be a case by case type situation.


Hats. Scarfs. Belts. Bandanas. Flower crowns. You name it, I love it. Anything to give us something more to play with I love. Dainty necklaces and bracelets are also so beautiful. I love rings! But keep In mind if this is your engagement session, you probably want to show off the main ring. So don’t distract us from that with other rings on the same hand. 


Let’s create movement not only in the poses we do but in the clothing you wear. If you are all for those flowy movement/candid shots we see everywhere…A tight-fitting outfit won’t do it all for us vs a beautiful flowy skirt or dress, hair down and curled to get movement captured as you move, etc are you catching my drift? I love movement and the more that is moving in the photo the better! 


Or should I say…Be YOU-nique 😉 haha! But actually. If you guys go fishing every week together you better bring your fishing gear with you for the shoot. If you guys play music and sing together, BRING YOUR GUITAR and we can have a show while I capture that. Love to swim? Deal. get in your suits and jump into a lake or the ocean and I’ll capture the heck out of it. Whatever makes you guys unique PLEASE bring it along so I can capture you being you together.


Ladies, this is mostly for you. While I love me some good high heels, keep in mind that a lot of walking and sometimes hiking happens during sessions. If you plan to wear heels for your photos that is perfectly fine, but bring a side pair of walking or hiking shoes for between shots.


All of the above applies, but for in-home sessions, I say the more skin showing the better! No that doesn’t mean you need to be borderline naked, I’m just saying the photos will look a lot more comfortable and intimate than if you’re in lots of heavy layers! Cause let’s be real, most of us walk around without pants on at home anyways so wear an overside T! I recommend bringing options of tank tops, shorts, sweaters, and jeans to mix and match! Anything that will show some skin is perf! Or if you wanna just wear a sweater with undies for a few or have your bae be shirtless, then heck yes to that. I pinky promise I’m not a creep haha.

AND THERE YA HAVE IT. Of course, I could go on and on about what to wear, but If you need even more inspiration, here is a link to my Pinterest board! There are several boards pinned with outfit ideas and Pinterest itself has loads and loads more!

xoxo, McKenna