Memorable portraits take careful
planning, and the clothing you choose is very important to your
portrait's success. These guidelines will help you to make important
decisions about your portrait.
About Clothing, Color, Tone, and Style ...
The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer's attention
to the face or faces in the portrait. Simple long-sleeved garments
in medium to dark tones of brown rust, burgundy, green, or blue
are pleasing choices when photographed against a dark background.
Proper clothing allows the face to dominate the portrait.
All other elements should be secondary.
Bold stripes, plaids, checks, and prints are confusing and
do not photograph well.
Especially bright colors, such as red and orange, will completely
overpower the face and ruin a portrait.
Light-colored clothing calls attention to itself and away
from the face. Avoid light colors that approximate flesh tones
such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, and yellow. Darker shades
are more flattering and slimming.
Light colors are appropriate against a white or pastel
background, or ...
with a dark background when an interpretive "pictorial"
study is planned.
Couples or small groups should choose simple garments
within the same tonal ranges. Light and dark tones together create
visual confusion, as one subject comes forward and the other
Clothing For Families
In a family group, proper clothing coordination is critical.
When decorating a home, a major concern is to coordinate the
colors and tones of the walls, carpets, draperies and furniture.
This kind of coordination also is necessary when selecting clothing
for a group portrait. Choose clothing in the same tonal ranges
so that no single member of the family stands out because the
clothing is too light or bright as compared to the rest of the
The visual statement made by portrait on the left is "Here
is a family in which each individual holds a place of equal importance,"
whereas the portrait to the right says "Here is a group
of seemingly unrelated individuals."
Clothing that blends harmoniously creates timeless portraiture
because the viewer's eye goes directly to the faces.
Clothing in medium shades complement portraits made in outdoor
Tips On Clothing Style And Accessories
- Very simple garments always photograph best
- Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither
is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particularly deep
V-neck garments as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely
hide the neck.
- 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, make certain shoes and
stockings are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait.
- Men should have 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.