A common question that people ask before a photo session is “what do I wear?” Some will claim hard and fast rules (ie. no pattens), but the best answer is… “it depends.” The best advice that I can offer is to do some planning prior to even thinking about your clothes selection. There are a lot of factors that will really help guide what clothes would work best for your photo session.
Where do you want this photo session to take place?
If you’re planning on beach shots, a dress can be tricky because of the coastal breeze. If you want to take pictures in the park, remember that grass and gravel aren’t the best terrain for high heels. Odds are, unless you’re in a studio, you’ll be moving around a lot. You want to be comfortable and mobile.
Be aware of the background, also. If you’re background is dark (like a dim building), lighter colors will be a nice contrast and help keep you from fading into the background. If you’re going to be in a colorful background (like a mural), solid colors are your best bet.
What kind of mood do you want to display from your pictures?
You want clothing that will match the tone of your intent. If you want to appear professional, a suit or shirt and tie is recommended. If there is more than one person in the picture (like a family, or a couple), you don’t want clashing colors and styles as they can be visually distracting. Colors that are in the same family work well.
How are you going to use these images?
Think about how you plan on using the images. For example, are you using the images for your wedding announcements, an industry headshot, or corporate portrait? If your plans are to use the images for something formal, your attire should be of similar taste. Formal attire isn’t necessary, but jeans and a t-shirt might look too casual depending on the overall tone of the wedding. However, if the images are primarily for the home, or work, or gifts to loved ones, casual attire is definitely appropriate. That’s not to say that a casual picture wouldn’t look lovely at wedding, or that a dressy picture would look out of place at your job. The point is that thought should be given as to the how the pictures will be used; frequently this will help narrow down your clothing choices.
My best advice: cheat!
Your clothes or location shouldn’t be a cause of anxiety for you. Let the internet be your best friend. Google whatever kind of photos you’re looking to do and see what THEY wear. You’ll inevitably find things you like and things you hate. Looking at other shots, however, will definitely give you a really good foundation. If there are poses or pictures that you really like, print them, those poses on in the mirror and see how they feel! (Models do this!) You can even bring them with you!