How to Solve your Clients’ #1 Session Concern: What to Wear

Why you should offer a What to Wear Guide and 5 things you should include in it

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What to wear your your photo shoot

Whether you photograph newborns, families, seniors, maternity, headshots, engagements, etc, I can guarantee you that your photography clients’ biggest concern for their session is what to wear. If you’ve ever had professional portraits taken, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You were probably feverishly browsing Pinterest boards, shopping the latest releases from your fave online shops, and trying to decide what colors work best together. We’ve all been there, am I right? 

One of the best ways to help solve this issue for your clients, is to provide them with a What to Wear Guide. It not only helps to serve your clients, but it can really increase the value of your brand (especially when your competitors aren’t offering this kind of solution). Not to mention, it can help your client photo sessions run smoother and give you a better portfolio.

Now that you know you need to provide this awesome resource to your clientele, let’s discuss what to include in your What to Wear Guide:

1. Do’s & Don’ts: you’ll want to include basic tips for putting outfits together that will accent their best features. I like to showcase do’s right next to their counterpart don’ts so that I cover all the bases. Don’t forget to include aspects like do’s and don’ts for accessories, shoes, undergarments, seasonal trends, colors and patterns to avoid, and even advice on best textures to wear. This is your chance do dive in to specifics and really help guide your client toward portrait perfect looks.  

2. Best Colors for Skin Tones: most clients think they should wear their favorite color, however we all know that could be disastrous if it washes out their beautiful skin tone. Include a section in your what to wear guide that showcases how they can test to find out what skin tones they have and then show them what colors are best for those specific skin tones. I like to include cool, warm, and neutral tones as well as what colors look best on everyone, no matter what skin tone. 

3. Style Showcase: this is your chance to show off your past clients in a variety of style categories. I like to feature casual outfits, more sophisticated styles, formal wear, retro looks, urban pairings, and I also include categories like floral looks, lace pieces, and more. If clients can view their outfits in these kinds of categories, they’ll be more likely to build a wardrobe with a ton of variety trying to get looks that span across the different types of styles. 

4. How to Curate a Session Wardrobe with Variety: speaking of variety, let’s talk about how to instruct your clients to get the most out of their wardrobe. I like to call it the “variety rule of 3.” When choosing their outfits for their session, I tell them to choose outfits that have variety in:

  • Color: you don’t want all of your outfits to be the same color. Choose a wide variety of colors and shades that suit your skin tone. If you have a favorite color and want to incorporate it into most of your outfits, vary the shades of that color to keep your wardrobe option interesting.
  • Style: try to wear different styles throughout your session. This includes the previously mentioned styles like a casual outfit for the first look, then a formal dress, then maybe a sophisticated look, etc. This will add a ton of variety to your session as the locations usually complement your wardrobe choices. 
  • Clothing Type: this is where you’ll want to differentiate your specific clothing pieces like pants vs shorts, dresses vs rompers. Don’t wear a dress in every single one of your session looks. Mix it up! If your first outfit is jeans for a casual look, try a sophisticated skirt for your next look, then a long maxi dress during golden hour. 

5. Where to Shop: this is a great section for your What to Wear guide because sometimes your clients just don’t know what’s out there when it comes to clothing shops. I like to categorize online shops by what kind of wardrobe they offer. Free People is great for a bohemian look, J Crew is perfect for more sophisticated styles, so on and so forth. Doing this will help your clients stay in the mindset of building variety into their outfit options.

Looking for completely done-for-you What to Wear Guide templates that include all of this and more? Check out our Girls & Guys What to Wear Guides in the A-List Shop! Both guides include tons of detailed tips and tricks for the ultimate session wardrobe plus the options of pre-embedded images or the ability to add your own!

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