A Photographer’s Do’s and Don’ts

Ok, so you have this big photo shoot coming up for your (name of important life event here), and you ask the age-old question, “What should I wear??”

Does thinking about what to wear make you do a face-palm??
Does thinking about what to wear make you do a face-palm??

Well…this question is hard to answer for a few different reasons. We have probably just met or only talked over the phone, so I don’t necessarily know what you own, or what’s in your closet. And, I don’t know your style or your personality, or what makes you feel good. But alas, without fail, I am asked this question every time someone new is shooting with us because they are excited and nervous, and they just want to look their best. Completely understandable, and assuming you don’t have a personal stylist or shopper on hand, here are some tips.

A photographer’s guide of Do’s and Don’ts to help you be more prepared and less retouching for me on the back end, which in turn is cheaper for you! A win win!

This guide will have a general section, and then will be followed by separate, more specific sections…because, well, you have different kinds of shoots for different purposes.

Side Note: This guide is mainly for the ladies who worry about this, but then again the ladies are the ones who typically ask this question anyways.

The parts we will be going over the next few weeks are:

1. Senior portraits (because it’s that time of year).

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2. Engagements/couples (coordinating with your other half).DSC_8422

3. Professional head shots (because everyone should have one!)D3X_8546 copy 2

and 4. Fashion portfolios (you’d be surprised what some people bring to these. Ever wonder what modeling agencies want to see? Stay tuned).


Ok, let’s get started.

General Do’s and Don’ts for your next photo shoot 

5 Do’s:

1. Do bring many options. As far as I’m concerned, bring your entire closet. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, and we have a little clothes rack you can hang them on. It’s better to be over-prepared with great options than stuck with only one that you may not be happy with. Don’t forget to coordinate shoes.

2. Speaking of shoes, do wear at least semi-comfortable shoes (or bring travel shoes). If we are shooting on location or outside, you will regret wearing those $400 stilettos, hiking around town to find an optimal scene.

3. Do take a look at your pictures of the past, and identify the outfits that photographed well in the past. What did you like about them? If you don’t want to wear something old, head to the mall and find an outfit with similar qualities.

4. Do bring things that make you comfortable. This point is more concerning bringing clothes that are a peace of mind. If you think you have big arms, bring a jacket, or a sweater, or something with sleeves. If you don’t like your legs then wear pants, or a long skirt, or tights. You get my point.

5. Do bring touch up stuff. I’m talking bring your make-up bag. You will want to freshen up your lipstick. Bring a hairbrush just in case. And when/if you get all sweaty bring some powder for your nose and forehead. The shininess will show through and trust me when I say you will be glowing (unless the goal of the shoot is to be a sexy sweaty ad or something)…

5 Don’ts:

1. Don’t wear something that you recognize makes you look fat. (If you have to ask, don’t wear it). I’m sorry to say this, but the camera will mercilessly add 5-10 lbs to you. Something that may make you look big, can be 1 of two things. One is something that is too tight and unforgiving on your body. Folks, just be honest with yourself here. It’s ok. No judgement from me or my team! The other is something that is too loose and flowy (things with a lot of fabric). These could look great in person, but the camera will capture those times when your flowy maxi creates a nonexistent baby bump on even the skinniest of ladies…

2. Don’t wear a top+bra combo that won’t cooperate. What I mean is: if your bra strap pops out once, it will inevitably pop out again. And again. And again. No, I don’t want to spend hours retouching your 65 photos or however many you choose to retouch out your bra strap. You may not think of it before you come to the shoot, but it will be the first thing that you see when you get back the pictures. Wear a different bra or maybe a different top.

3. Don’t wear any prints that are just ridiculously crazy busy. I’m not saying to not wear fun and colorful prints. I’m simply saying that really bright checkered/striped/blingy clothes just don’t look as good on camera. If you have to squint when you look at your outfit, best to leave it for a party, not a shoot.

4. Don’t wear something that’s not YOU. If the last thing you would wear on earth is a pair of pumps and short tight dress…then by golly, don’t show up in just that because you think that’s what we/the world want to see. The world does not care. They are too busy gushing over/criticizing Taylor Swift’s new music video. Your uncomfortable feeling of the clothes you wear will be apparent on camera. Be you. Be proud to wear something that’s inexplicably and undeniably you. You won’t regret it.

5. Do not over do the make-up. I know this isn’t an outfit, but the make-up matters. Wear something that is versatile so it will match your other outfits. And nothing too heavy on the eyes, so if we put a flash on you, you won’t look crazy.

Ok, hope this helped! Feel free to share, and stay tuned for our more specific shoot tips! 🙂


Maddie Moree | maddiemoree.com

Yen Studios | yenstudios.com

A Memphis based photography team. “Like” us on Facebook!


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