What to Wear

I am often asked what to wear when someone is preparing for a portrait session. There is a simple but solid rule when it comes to this advice. Solid colors (no patterns!) Why is this? Well to me in a portrait the face is the most important part – not the clothing. While clothing is necessary it is very much secondary. Clothing can be very distracting. Whether it is too bright, too detailed or too tight it can take away from what is most important.
Keep with the Key. This is a term used in portraiture in regards to the look of the image. Is the person going to be photographed against a very dark background or very white/light? A dark background is referred to as a Low Key image/setting. And white is vice versa – a High Key image/setting. In regards to how to dress it is recommended that the clothing be kept with the tone of the image. Why is that? Well the portrait photographer’s number one goal is to flatter her subject. When you pose someone in dark clothing against a dark background it tends to draw your attention to their face – not their clothing or their body. It’s almost an optical illusion – you know the person has clothing on yet it does not distract your attention from their face. The same goes for a high key setting and subject. And there is such a thing as a Medium Key as well. Consulting with your portrait photographer is always a great place to start!