This is your guide to looking good and feeling FABULOUS for your upcoming session!
So you’ve got your session scheduled and now you’re staring at your closet feeling like you have nothing to wear. Great news! It may feel like that but I bet you have everything you need right there.
Choosing your exact pieces is definitely a personal choice but I have a few guidelines that will help you select the perfect pieces to create your ensemble.
Decide the overall feeling you’d like your images to convey. Is it traditional, modern, romantic, friendly, fun, classic, serious, down to earth, welcoming, or something else entirely? Sometimes a short phrase or 2-3 words can be enough to set the tone.
For instance, in planning my upcoming portrait session, I’m going for approachable, quirky, and calm.
What are your 3 words? Write ’em down!
Now that you’ve established the overall feel you have for your session, it’s time to decide the level of attire you want. I’m talking about deciding where on the Casual to Formal continuum you want to fall.
We all have our own ideas of what “professional” looks like so it’s important to consider formality (fancy or simple?) instead. And we all dress at different levels depending on the event, task, or meeting.
On the casual end, that could mean jeans, a tailored jacket, bold colorful necklace, and fun accessories.
On the formal end, that could mean tailored skirt/dress, muted tones, and more classic aesthetic (silk blouse, pearls, classic hemlines + silhouettes, more structured).
You can choose where on the spectrum you’d like to be. What do you want people to expect when they meet you? If you have two levels of dress (everyday office + speaking events), it may be best to select two outfits so we have two similar but differently styled images to reflect meeting that expectation.
Ideally, you’ll want to choose an outfit that reflects how you will normally dress when you meet people for the first time in your business but UP one step. So if you would normally wear jeans, dress it up a bit with heels/boots, a styled jacket or blouse, and jewelry.
Need a few outfit ideas? Check out my Effortless Styling Board on Pinterest
Now that you’ve got a great idea of the feel and style to guide your session, it’s a much easier task to make choices from your wardrobe.
Head to your wardrobe!
Pull any pieces out that fit the overall feel and look you’re going for.
Lay them all out.
Eliminate any pieces that you tug at, just don’t fit or feel right, or are those pieces you really WANT to like, but don’t.
Take what’s left and choose your favorites! Remember to choose the items that are not only flattering but also make you FEEL great. How you feel shows up in the photos so if you feel great, it will show!
My recommendations for what to wear are these:
– Wear something you feel good to great in (when we wear things we don’t love, don’t flatter us, or just don’t really like, it shows!)
– Dress from head to toe-even if it won’t be in photos, it effects how you present yourself
– Pay attention to the details (wear jewelry + accessories to finish the look)
– Choose items that fit YOUR ideal of professional. Professional doesn’t have to mean suit. Think well dressed instead.
– It’s about looking put together, not necessarily corporate or formal
– Tailored, fitted clothing is more flattering
– Layers are always great + allow for variety
– You can dress as casual or as formal as you like but it should be in line with 1-2 steps above what you would “normally” wear to work. (I.E more put together, more finished)
– Even if you opt for a more formal look, make sure to let your personality shine through in some way (color, accessories, makeup)
See an example of personality with formality
Another example of blending personality and formality
– Looking professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy or formal.
An example of an outfit that is very professional but isn’t stuffy or formal
– It’s about showing who YOU are, not who you think you’re supposed to be (forget about what other ‘professionals’ in your industry have “always” done)
– Think RELATABLE and accessible, instead of distant and set apart.
See an example of an approachable look
Here’s an example of a modern executive-for charles schwab-and you can see it’s modern, professional, and yet not stuffy, corporate, or dated.
See what a modern corporate portrait looks like
We want people to recognize you when they see you for the first time and to feel like they’re getting to know you as they visit the site.
Feel free to ask questions, I’m here to help!