It makes me laugh when people ask me this… People who know me, know that I barely wear makeup once a week even though I actually love makeup, I don’t wear jewelry besides my wedding ring (my ears have never been pierced), and I pretty much live in t-shirts.
But being photographer has required me to learn some answers even if I rarely apply them to my own life.
This is a broad topic so I am going to try to tackle it in chucks.
Disclaimer: There are exceptions to every one of these suggestions. I have seen people follow none of these “rules” and still look awesome. I am merely giving you some ideas to get you started.
1) First of all, do some evaluating of what you like about yourself and what you don’t like. For women this can be hard but I guarantee you have more great features than you give yourself credit for. Things you like think of ways to draw attention to it. Things you don’t like, take them out of the forefront. I don’t love my arms so I try to wear three quarters length or a little longer if I know I will be photographed.
Hint: it’s okay if you think your face is your best feature. If that is the case, earrings, bright lips, or statement necklaces should be your friend.
2) Stay away from big patterns. They often draw attention towards your body and away from your face which is not ideal. Also, horizontal lines. I once heard someone explain it as being like “holding a ruler in front of you during the whole shoot.”
3) Define your waist. We are so critical of our waistline for not being Scarlett O’Hara’s that we don’t give it credit for usually being the smallest part of our torso.
Draw attention to this. A-Line dresses (avoid empire), Skirts or shorts with the blouse tucked in if it is long are some great options.
But be wary of clothes being so fitted that you don’t feel comfortable. If you don’t like how you look it will show in your pictures.
4) Dress for the season. This may go without saying but cute clothes at the wrong time can be a recipe for disaster. Boots and scarves before it’s cool out will make you hot and sweaty and you probably want to quit before we begin. On the flip side a summer dress too early in the year will leave you miserably cold.
5) If it’s couples shoot, don’t be too matchy matchy. You run the risk of looking like siamese twins.
Still coordinate though. Choose colors that are either complementary on the color wheel or or next to each other.
6) Finally be you. Don’t feel like you have to wear something because it’s trendy.
Maxi dresses tend to not be flattering since they leave you with no legs and are flow-y. Leggings and long shirts (my personal favorite outfit ever) make your torso squarish unless you have the measurements of a model.
Ultimately, look for pieces that flatter your body but at the end of the day wear things that make you feel proud and confident. After all, these are your memories we are documenting.