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Dressing for the Perfect Portrait

Tips on prepairing for your portraits
Memorable portraits take careful planning, and the clothing you choose is very important to the success of your photo session.  These guidelines will help you to make important decisions about the clothing and style of your portraiture.

Clothing for individuals
The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer’s eye to the face(s) in the portrait.  All other elements should be secondary.  For individuals, simple long-sleeved garments in medium to dark tones of brown, gray, burgandy, green or blue are pleasing choices when photographed against a medium or dark background.  Because darker clothing is slimming, it often is a good choice for close-up, full length, or three quoarter length portraits in which a medium to dark background is used.

  • Turtle neck or V-neck shirts are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style.  Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-neck garments or bulky cowlneck sweaters that completely hide the neck.
  • For close-up portraits, long sleeves are essential for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will overpower the face.
  • Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts, pants, or dark stockings in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.
  • If feet are to show in the portrait, assure that shoes and stocking are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait.
  • Men should be clean shaven or facial hair should be carefully groomed, with their hair cut about one week before the portrait session. 
  • Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled.

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