What to wear for your photoshoot…

Style Guide: Outdoor Portrait Photography, Chester & North Wales

Think ‘timeless’ yet fashionable!


Getting a portrait done is an exciting time, but so many people ask me what to wear for their shoot, so I have put together this style guide based on my style of photography. It’s important to wear something you feel great in, but there are a few suggestions I can make to make your photos look super fabulous and timeless. Of course, you want to be fashionable, but keep it simple so that when you look back in years to come you will not look ‘out of date’.



Neutral tones are perfect for family or group photos in the beautiful North Wales countryside. We often see family portrait where they are all matching (blue jeans and a white t-shirt for example) and whilst there is nothing wrong with this, I adore colours that complement each other and the surroundings such as the warm autumn tones below. Remember this photoshoot is about you so please don’t take what I say as gospel, above all it is important to wear what you love and feel great in to create your perfect family portrait.

Autumn/Winter: Warm neutral tones are great for this time of year, they are subtle and complement each other without having to match!  I’m talking about your browns, deep greens/khaki, deep reds, navy, grey etc..

Spring/Summer: I personally love a fresh and cool look for spring/summer photos. I would be more inclined to go for light and airy tones such as pastel colours. Dark tones will also work great any time of year whether indoors, outdoors or in a studio setting and are also quite slimming.

chester newborn baby photographer

Example of what to wear for your outdoors family portrait photoshoot.


Stay away from bold, bright primary colours, although much deeper tones of these should be fine. Black is also very harsh for portraits and I would advice to keep it minimal if used at all.

No whites or very light colours. I personally find them far too harsh and white in particular will be a distraction in a family portrait with the sun often making it brighter.

If you do wish to use bright/bold colours such as red, white and black they need to be co-ordinated and well balanced amongst the group in order to look symmetrical. Avoid busy patterns, heavy branding and distracting logos. Leave out big stripes/zigzags (very distracting and also do not compliment the figure). Solid colours work well within a group. However, a photo of two girls, one in a patterned dress and the other in a plainer dress would be fine as they would complement each other. Remember if everyone is wearing dark and one is wearing something bright they will stand out and distract from the overall family portrait.


Showing a lot of skin is a big distraction, taking the focus away from your faces. Long sleeves or ¾ length sleeves are recommended and the same goes for pants, dresses and skirts.

Avoid wearing tracksuits, matching outfits, hoodies and bulky clothing such as big woolly jumpers and scarves. Shiny items and glasses can reflect harsh light and also detract from the portrait. Of course, you may need to wear glasses, but if you can do without them, it’s worth considering removing for the shots so that we can see your eyes clearly in the photos. If you wear contact lenses this could be a good time to wear them, but again, it is more important that you re comfortable. Keep jewellery subtle and no large reflective pieces which may be eye-catching. Mobile phones, keys and other items are a BIG no no, even if you think they are hidden in a back pocket, they will be distracting and may ruin a photo. Bring a carrier bag to place these item in and ask your photographer to keep them to the side out of the shot.


Next Blog: How should I wear my make up for my photoshoot?

Our next blog will be all about your make-up! As a photographer I recommend using a powder to set your foundation for less shine and no shimmery products such as eye shadow, it’s all about keeping it matt! Professional make-up artist Mandy Rigby MUA will be giving her full expert advice on how to look great for your family or make-over portrait with a few simple steps.

chester makeover photographer

Taken by Rachel Sian Photography at a Red Shoe workshop

Please visit Mandy’s website to view her amazing portfolio http://mandyrigby.co.uk/

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