So, now you have read the first part of my guide, you will be well aware of the type of model you wish to represent, within the Industry. The next step is to compile a portfolio ‘Or book’ of images from your first ‘Test Shot’. This will enable you and the photographer to work on your specific area, and to provide images to send to a potential agency for representation. These are my top tips for your first session.
Good pictures will require a certain comfort level from you, the subject. If you are scared of losing your balance in high heels or sweating under that polyester shirt then good pictures are going to be harder to come by. Stick to clothes you like, that build your confidence and are functional and comfortable.
Clothes Are A Statement
Outfit changes are the norm in a portrait shoot so mix it up with some clothing options that will make for more fun, sassy portraits. Bring along other outfit options that are more formal to ensure a more broad choice of pictures showcasing the various parts of your personalities.
Keep It Simple
Dark, plain fabrics usually work best. Avoid crazy patterns, designs and logos too. Clothing with distinct lines, dots and bright patterns can be distracting in a photo. Same goes for shiny fabrics. Keep your jewellery choices simple and minimal.
Avoid Short Sleeves And Shorts
Long sleeves and pants are the superior choice. Skin tones can vary a bunch on various legs and arms not to mention the lighter complexion will distract the eye when viewing the pictures.
Not Too Many Choices And Changes
You should feel welcome to have a few clothing changes but don’t overwhelm yourself and your photographer with choices. It takes a little time for your photographer to get the creative ball rolling. Stopping for an outfit change halts and can disrupt that process.
Ask Before Wearing Whites
Yes, dark solid print clothes are generally better, but rules are made to be broken. Talk with your photographer before the shoot if you are considering a white shirt. It can look awesome in certain kinds of backgrounds and contexts so let your photographer know and they will be better prepared to make excellent photos.
Suitability To Locations
If you are hiking about on nature trails to get to your locations, you will want to consider clothing that is practical and appropriate for that surrounding. Or, for a little extra contrast, maybe really dress it up with a suit and tie and wonderful dress to strike a visual contrast with the rustic surroundings. Again, talk with your photographer beforehand about such ideas and get their input. A little planning always helps.
Classic, Timeless Styles
Great pictures last a long, long time so be sure your clothing choices will age gracefully. What is the fashionable trend today can easily be tomorrow’s parachute pants. So stow away the Ed Hardy shirts.
What To Avoid
Avoid bright yellows, reds and oranges (they battle the subjects face for attention) and the camera will readily pick up the reflected light and render skin tone with a colour cast. Avoid clothing containing logos, slogans, or other distractions. Bold stripes, large designs and polka dots stand out and tend to draw attention from the portrait’s subject. Avoid short sleeved tops or shorts. When arms and legs are exposed and there’s lots of skin visible, it can be a distraction from the main focal point of the photo – the face.
What To Wear
I like white long sleeved tops and blue jeans. This combination works very well with the white background. Black tops can also work well with a white background but this is a high contrast and leads to photographs with a very different style. Also consider wearing a top that has an interesting collar and/or sleeves. A top that has interesting textures (e.g. a sweater) can also add depth and richness to an image. If you will have more than one change of clothing for your session then consider bringing a variety of necklines, textures, colours, and undergarments to achieve a wide variety of looks. Stick to solids and subtle patterns.
Simple and elegant is the advice when selecting jewellery for a portrait. The same applies for any other accessories that you wish to have included in your portrait. Wear something that makes you feel like you look awesome! If you feel uncomfortable with how you’re dressed, you will not exude the confidence you want in front of the camera.