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Style Guide : 20 styling tips for your next photoshoot

Here are 20 tips to help you pick the best outfit for your next photoshoot

Long flowy dress in a field for a photoshoot

Have you recently booked a photoshoot and now you aren't sure what to wear? You aren't the only one. Picking an outfit can be stressful. (Especially when that outfit will be documented ultimately forever.)

Photoshoots are supposed to be fun, therapeutic, and memorable. That's why I created this styling guide to ensure you choose the best outfits so you LOOK and FEEL amazing in your photos.

20 styling tips for your photoshoot. TIP #1 - Color Coordinating

The first tip I'm going to give you in this styling guide is to color coordinate. I always advise my clients that they should color coordinate instead of match. I recommend picking an outfit for one member in the photoshoot first. Then, you can pull colors from their outfit to add to everyone else's.

Below are a few color palette examples that look good in photos.

Spring Color Palette for Photography Outfit

Little girl in a black tutu posing for her third birthday photoshoot in St Joseph Mo

Photo by Cienna So :

This is my favorite palette of them all because I love a vibrant moment and my favorite color is pink. Of course you can choose a different color, just be sure to coordinate around that while keeping color theory in mind.

Three girls in dresses sitting on a dock looking into the water in Midwest Missouri

Spring styling guide for your next photoshoot
Spring Color Palette for Outfit Styling Photoshoot

This is an example of a cool toned color palette. This is labeled for spring but this palette can be used for any season.

A mother and two daughters hold hands in dresses for a photoshoot in St Joseph Mo

Family by Cienna So :

Photoshoot Wardrobe Color Palette for Open Field

I do a lot of open field sessions and I always get asked what colors look best. My number one suggestion would be the palette above. These tones will add warmth and help you stand out in a sea of grass and open field. I also recommend wearing a long / flowy dress that goes to your knees.

Pregnant mother wearing a white rhinestone dress in field posing for a maternity photoshoot in Kansas City Mo

Motherhood by Cienna So :

Summer Wardrobe Color Palette for Photoshoot

Again, these are just two examples - Summer outfits can still be as vibrant as the spring pallette. Just because these palettes are created for a certain season doesn't mean they can't be used for them all.

Missouri Western Sorority poses at Krug Park for Photographer

Color Palette for Photoshoot in Warm Tones

This pallette also works for spring, summer, and winter sessions. Neutral warm pallette is versatile enough to be used for most sessions.

Couple kisses while holding a sign expecting their baby girl for a maternity photographer in St Joseph Mo

Maternity by Cienna So :

Fall Wardrobe Color Palette for Photoshoot

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper, and our days are getting shorter. If you have a fall session coming up I recommend choosing neutral colors like browns, creams, tans, greys, and blacks.

Senior girl poses on cow print blanket cor Western Graduation Photoshoot in Kansas City Missouri

Graduation by Cienna So :

Christmas Wardrobe Color Palette for Photoshoot

This palette works for mostly all holiday sessions. If you stay neutral with your outfits you should coordinate with any sets. Soft whites and light creams all day!!

Family of four poses in a field for a winter photoshoot in St Joseph Mo

Family by Cienna So :

Tip #2 - Comfort Matters

Always make sure what you wear to your photoshoot is comfortable enough for movement. It's important that your outfit allows you to sit down and get up easily. Wear shoes that are easy to walk in - we don't want you to trip or twist and ankle.

Newly engaged couple hugs in St Joseph Mo for photographer on Felix Street

Engagement by Cienna So :

Tip #3 - Stay away from logos and harsh prints

Your outfit should compliment you not the opposite. Logos, harsh prints, and quotes on shirts/outfits are a huge distraction in photos. I recommend sticking with a solid or light print. I would rather you wear a plain white shirt than a shirt with a Nike logo on it.

Now, I do like some prints - including :

  • Floral Print

  • Small Polka Dot

  • Stripes

Girl in a green dress stands in front of Kauffman Center in Kansas City Mo for Photographer

Tip #4 - Iron that shirt

This is kinda funny but oh so true. I am able to edit some wrinkles out but I am not a magician. Please make sure your clothes look how you want them to appear in photos. If your shirt is super wrinkly in person it will appear that way in photos.

Tip #5 - Hat or no hat?

I love a sun hat moment - however a ball cap is a different story. Obviously these are your photos and you have the right to wear whatever you please to your session - but first let me explain why I don't recommended wearing a hat for your entire session.

When you wear a hat it will inevitably cast a shadow over your beautiful face. I can fix this in editing to an extent but this guide is to make sure you look amazing in your photos - so I do not recommend wearing a ball cap for the entire photoshoot. If you have a stubborn hubby that insists on wearing his hat everywhere (trust me I get it my dad has been this way my entire life)... just advise him that I may ask him to take it off for a few photos. Below is a photoshoot including a hat. This hat works because it is solid with no logos or prints.

Starry night inspired photoshoot in Missouri by a engagement photographer

Engagement by Cienna So :

Tip #6 - Wear something you feel good in

I recommend wearing something that elevates your confidence and makes you feel good. If you feel confident during your session it will show even more in your photos.

Girl walking in water in front of a rainbow at Missouri Western University for Graduation Photographer

Graduation by Cienna So :

Tip #7 - Pinterest your ideas

Pinterest is probably one of my favorite apps ever. There are so many guides just like this one available on Pinterest. Just search - Outfit ideas for photoshoot. Add a specific keyword like family, couples, siblings, etc for more specific search results. Follow me on Pinterest!

Tip #8 - Be YOU

This photoshoot will document you and where you are in your life right now. It's important to wear something you would wear normally. This means you don't have to go out and purchase all new outfits - you might have the perfect one already in your closet.

Graduation photoshoot of a girl in a red dress at Wyeth Hill in St Joseh Mo

Graduation by Cienna So :

Tip #9 - Location is important

Before you decide what you're going to wear - first decide where your photoshoot is going to take place. A field, the city, a studio? If your session takes place in a field a long flowy dress would be perfect. If your session is in the city DRESS YOUR BEST. The city is a busy place and I want you to stand out from the normal street wear.

Tip # 10 - Dress Up

Don't be afraid to dress your best in formal clothes. You will have these photos forever - your children will see them, your grandchildren, and so on. How would you like your current self to be remembered?

ASA Missouri Western University Sorority posing at Krug Park

Group Sessions by Cienna So :

Tip # 11 - Accesories

I am a detail shot lover. I love to get up close and show off little pieces to help tell a story. Feel free to accessorize with something that's sentimental to you or something you love. We love an Easter egg.

Maternity Photoshoot in black and white focusing on couple kissing in St Joseph Mo

Maternity by Cienna So :

Tip # 12 - Hair

I love movement in my photos - I recommend wearing your hair down. I do not recommend slicked back hair styles or tight pony tails.

Graduation portraits in St Joseph Mo at Wyeth Hill

Graduation by Cienna So :

Tip # 13 - Plan Ahead

Your outfit choice is the most important part of your photoshoot. Aside from you - your outfit will be in every photo. I recommend planning your outfits as soon as you book your session.

Tip # 14 - Location Matching / Greens

This tip ties into tip # 9 above. I recommend taking the location of your photoshoot into consideration when choosing your outfits. If your photoshoot is in an open field in the middle of summer I would stay away from green colored outfits as these would blend into the background.

Girl sits in a bed of grass posing in the sun for a graduation photoshoot in St Joseph Mo

Graduation by Cienna So : 

Tip # 15 - Holiday

Solid outfits will be your best option to go with if you are planning for a Christmas session. Stay away from cartoon pictures, logos, harsh prints, and words. Be sure to wear matching socks under your shoes that coordinate with your outfit.

Christmas themed photoshoot with a baby boy sticking his tongue out in St Joseph Mo

Minis by Cienna So :

Tip # 16 - Shoes

Clean, solid, formal shoes that match your outfit are best. If your session takes place somewhere you can take your shoes off be sure to wear clean matching socks that coordinate with your outfit.

Tip # 17- Long Flowy / Dresses & Skirts

I love love love when my clients wear a long flowy dress or skirt. These are so fun and provide a lot of photo opportunities because of how they move. I highly recommend wearing one to your session.

Fun photoshoot of orange flowy dress in a field in Kansas City Missouri

Creative Concepts by Cienna So :

Tip # 18 - Maternity

I recommend wearing an outfit that fits tight and shows your baby bump well. Obviously your comfort is most important so always make sure it isn't too tight where you can't move freely. Always bring a back up outfit just in case.

Baby bump photo by Cienna So Photography in St Joseph Mo

Maternity by Cienna So :

Tip # 19 - Maternity Shoes

I usually photograph my maternity clients barefoot so shoes aren't that important to me. However if you have an outfit that you feel looks better with shoes please pick something that is comfortable and easy to stand in. Always match your shoes to your outfit.

Tip # 20 - Apple Watch

The final tip - remember to take your Apple Watch off before your session. If you want to wear it by all means go for it. These are just my tips :-) If you do choose to remove it before your session don't forget you may have a tan line. Sometimes I can fix this but sometimes it is almost impossible. If you are looking at your wrist now and notice a tan line I recommend taking a few breaks wearing it while in the sun and it should even out by your session.

I hope this helps spark some inspiration when you choose what outfit to wear to your next photoshoot. Thanks for reading my blog : 20 styling tips for your next photoshoot.

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Close up of a golden retriever dog surrounded by flowers for a photoshoot at Mark Yungdahl in St Joseph Mo

Dog Photography by Cienna So

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