When it comes to their portrait session, couples will often stress over what clothes to wear. In this episode from the Natural Light Couples Photography Workshop on DVD, we have a couple suggestions that makes it easier for our couples to choose their outfits. We’re also going to go over our recommendations, what to avoid, and what props to bring.


Avoid Clothing with strong colors or patterns
When it comes to portraiture, your subjects need to be the focus of the photographs. Clothes with distracting colors or patterns can take attention away from them. Strong patterns can also cause moiré problems as well.

Here is an example. Below we have a great shot, and our couple looks awesome, but it is a great example of how much visual weight strong colors and patterns carry within an image. The viewers eyes are quickly drawn to strong color of the dress and the pattern of the tie, taking attention away from our beautiful couple.


Match clothing color and style to the shooting location
Next, we want to make sure our clients are wearing clothes that match the shoot location. A sundress would look great at the beach, a suit would look great in the city, and cowboy boots would look great in a vineyard. But, each of these items might seem out of place were they used in an unfitting environment.

In the image below, we are going for a very casual lifestyle photograph, as if we are shooting the couple doing something they would typically do. Hence they are dressed more casual which is a look that fits the style of the photograph very well.


Keep in mind dark colored clothing or dark hair can blend into background shadows
This is something both the couple and photographer should keep in mind. For photographers, dark hair and clothing can disappear into a dark background making it difficult to differentiate the subjects and the background. In these situations, a rim light or kicker will help separate the couple from the background as shown in the image below. If the rim light wasn’t used, the edge of his suit would blend with the shadows in the background.


Your subject’s clothes should fit their style and personality
The priority for the couple should be to dress in something comfortable and fitting to their style and personality. Remind your couples that while it may seem fun, it isn’t necessary to buy new clothes for their shoot. You want to encourage a couple to do things they would normally do during your session.

For the shot below, our couples dressed in clothing that was comfortable to them, and we went out to sort of recreate a typical date night. The results were adorable.


Props should be easy to carry and match their personalities
Clients should bring props that show their personalities. If they take a kickboxing class together have them bring boxing gloves. If they like to race cars you can have them bring their racing helmets. This will open up opportunities for fun and unique shots that look great and are completely personal to the couple.

We had a couple where he was into Muay Thai and she was into fashion, so we had them bring some boxing gloves and incorporated that into their photos in a fun and unique way which you can see below. Of course we also did plenty of more traditional shots as well, but these photos were a very personalized piece of their Laguna Beach Engagement Photography.



You want for your couples wardrobe and props to add personality and dimension to the photos, without being distractions or being disingenuous. For example, if someone doesn’t play the guitar, it would be strange for them to bring one out to the shoot just for the sake of having a guitar in the photos.