How Does This Look: Fundamentals of Style


September 17, 2018

Congrats! You’re recently engaged or celebrating a new milestone in your family and you’re ready to document and preserve this season of life with some professional photographs. You have your date set and you’re pumped. Now what?

Now it’s time to decide the feel you want for your session and what to wear! Often finding the perfect thing to wear for you, your significant other, and/or family can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider!

We understand that you want to look your absolute best while looking like yourself and feeling confident every step of the way. So how do you make that happen?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to help you do. I have partnered with the amazing personal stylist Toyin with Style by Toyin to help navigate you through all the elements of looking your absolute best in your photo session in our series called “How Does This Look?”.

In our six-part series, we are will walk you through all the elements of picking the right look for your photo session:

  1. Fundamentals of Style
  2. Your Style v. Your Photographer’s Aesthetic
  3. Building Confidence
  4. Dressing for Your Body
  5. Choosing Your Accessories
  6. Dressing for the Seasons

This blog post is part 1 of the series, The Fundamentals of Style, from a photographer’s point of view. Click here to read about the fundamentals of style from a personal stylist’s perspective.

Be sure to check out our video for all the quick tips about Fundamentals of Style HERE!

What to Wear for a Photo Session:

Fundamentals of Style

When deciding what to wear for your photo session it is helpful to just start at the basics and consider the following:  texture, color, layering, accessories, and personality. So let’s go through what I mean by each of these.


01. Texture


Texture is something I love to think about when putting together outfits, especially as a film photographer. Film is such a beautiful format that picks up all the texture in outfits! So you want to be sure that you pick textures in your outfit that give a good amount of dimension and pop to your look will add a nice element to your photographs.

By adding a little texture to your outfits it will help things pop a bit more and not make your image look flat.

Texture is a perfect way to add a little dimension to your outfit. Here are some examples of materials with fabulous texture for a photo shoot:

  • Elegant Look – Silk, Satin, Chiffon
  • Romantic Look – Lace, Velvet, Ruffles
  • Classic or Relaxed Look – Tweed, Linen

These are just a few examples of all the texture options out there! So add a little texture to your outfit, but don’t go too crazy. Just a little texture is needed.


02. Color


This is a big one! Good color options can really make or break photographs (in my opinion). When choosing what colors you want to wear you really need to think about several things:

  • Location – Where are you having your session? What colors will look best there? (More on this in a future post)
  • Season – What time of year is it? What makes sense to wear in that season?
  • Skin Tones – Do you have warm, yellow, or cool undertones to your skin? Think about what looks best on your skin type.
  • Photography – What colors photograph well?

Color is so important because it can really convey the type of mood that you are going for in your session. So think about what the purpose of your photographs are and what colors may be most appropriate for that session.

The biggest thing I always think about is what colors photograph well! Not all colors are as easy to photograph and not all colors translate as beautifully in an image as you’d like. For example, reds and purples tend to be colors I don’t recommend because they are often very difficult to match and photograph.

I do love NEUTRALS! Neutrals photograph beautifully. They are easy to match and coordinate and they reflect clean beautiful light onto your skin which makes for amazing photographs. So if you ask me, I will usually always suggest a neutral toned outfit. See my Pinterest Board here for lots of examples!


03. Layering


Layering is a great way to add some physical dimension to your look. Think of layering like a way to add a bit more texture to your look. Some examples of key ways you can layer are to add:

  • A jacket, blazer, or cardigan
  • A pocket square for the gentlemen
  • Statement accessories and jewelry

These things can all add a little extra texture and pop to your look! And what’s fun about layering is that you can take some photos with your layered pieces on and some with them off and get two different looks with an easy change!

04. Accessories


It’s important to remember that the purpose of your photography session is YOU! You want to only add accessories to your person that enhance your look and help tell your story. You don’t want your accessories to steal the show. So stay away from the really loud costume jewelry or anything that pulls the viewer’s eye away from you.

For an engagement session, your main accessory is your engagement ring! Let that baby steal the show! All other pieces should be dainty and understated.

If you load on a bunch of accessories and you feel it may be a bit too much, that means it probably is. Go ahead and take a few pieces off and clean up your look before heading out the door.

05. Personality


Now, this is where it gets fun! This is where you can be totally you. No matter whether you are planning for your engagement session or family session you should feel totally comfortable and good in your own skin. You want to feel like yourself.

So don’t go shopping and assemble an outfit that doesn’t fit who you are. Stay true to your style and what you feel good in! Pick out things that are flattering and timeless. You won’t regret it.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we go through your style vs. your photographers aesthetic. To learn more about what a personal stylist thinks about these fundamentals, check out Toyin’s blog post here!

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