Dressing for Your Portrait Session

The amount of time and effort you put into selecting the outfits you will be photographed in, will directly translate to the success of your finished portraits.

Our portrait designers will be happy to offer suggestions, in addition to the tips below, to help coordinate your look.

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Wauwatosa Studio
6654 W Lisbon Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53210


Downtown Studio
312 E Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202


(414) 445-2220
(414) 445-3939 Fax


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Step 1 - Select a style of dress - Formal, Semi-formal, Semi-casual, casual or illustrative (if you are planning on creating a storytelling style of portrait. The style should fit the lifestyle image or story you are trying to project in your portrait. Think about where your portrait will hang and select a style that matches the room's decor - formal style attire in a formal living room or casual dress in a live-in family room.

TIP: For groups, dress everyone in the same style of clothing. Do not mix casual and formal attire.

Step 2 - Select colors that match the decor of the room your portrait will be displayed in. Try to coordinate with the primary colors of the room rather than the accent colors. You clothing color selection does not have to match the rooms colors, but be sure they don't conflict.

TIP: Lay the clothing you have selected for your portrait in front of the wall you portrait will hang on and then step back and look at the whole picture. If any one outfit jumps out at you, replace it until everything seems to blend nicely. Keep the tonal range of clothing within the group the same. Do not mix light and dark values.

Step 3 - Keep it simple and timeless. Simplicity in dress is the keynote to successful portraits. Avoid trendy styles that will go out of date in a short time. Your portrait will last for longer than fad trends and you don't want to look at it in a couple of years and feel it is outdated.

Solid colors photograph best. Avoid large or bold patterns and bright colors. They draw attention away from the face.

Darker clothing tends to minimize body size, and light tones tend to emphasize body size. Long sleeves for dresses and shirts are recommended. (Short sleeves are acceptable for infants and small children).

Coordinate your attire from head to toe, carefully selecting appropriate shoes and stockings, as our photographer may portray you in a full length pose.

Necklines are important. A "V" or scoop neck is best if your neck is short and your face is full. A turtle neck or high necked garment is more flattering if your neck is longer and your face is slender.

White or light pastel clothing, shoes, stockings, pants or dresses look best in portraits taken against a white or light background. Save stronger colors and patterns for accent items.

TIP: To insure a successful portrait, it is best to bring along several additional clothing choices.

Remember - Our Design Consultants will be happy to meet with you prior to your sitting appointment to review your outfits and props. Just give us a call to set up an appointment. Your complete satisfaction is our ultimate goal.