What to Wear- 3 Easy Steps

Spokane Valley, WA #classof2015

Read for your Senior portraits? Navigating the scary waters of  how to dress for senior portrait can be daunting.  After all, your portrait will be hanging on the walls of your home like an art show piece for years to come!  This is the biggest, scariest part of booking someone to do your photography but it shouldn’t be.  With a few pointers, you too, will be able to successfully put together a wonderful plan!  I think all of us are guilty of falling back on the jeans and a white t-shirt look.  It’s easy. It’s safe.  Can we say, “boring?”  I have a few suggestions (not rules) that will help point you in the right direction!  These are guidelines to dressing for success!

 #1  Color (3 Neutrals and  a POP )

You can dress for Senior portraits like you decorate a room.  The most successful looks combine 2-3 neutral colors and then an accent or POP color!  Let’s go back to our classic jeans and white shirt combo!  Now, using our new rule, throw in one more neutral, khaki for example, and then an accent, like Coral!  Now you really have something to shout about!   Wasn’t that easy?  Everyone has jean, khaki, and white in their wardrobe, buy a coral scarf, handbag, piece of exquisite jewelry, shoes, or even a cocktail ring in a spot of coral and you have a smokin’ look!  Now, before you tell me, you don’t like coral, you can substitute almost ANY other color under the sun that you DO like as your  pop and still look fab! Besides, you probably have these items already in your wardrobe and that is a bonus!  This is just ONE example,  I have tons of wonderful color palettes to choose from on my pinterest boards or you can check out my favorite place to discover new color palettes at The Perfect Palette.  You can put in your favorite color and they will suggest multiple palettes that coordinate with it! Now, before you run off to crazy land with excitement cause I just solved your problem,  consider two more factors prior to falling in love.  First, keep your photo location in mind.  You want your color palette to compliment your surroundings.

#2 Dress From Head to Toe

This one is a no-brainer.  I’m going to shoot your head and your feet so don’t forget to do your hair or accessorize if you need a little help! Hats are always welcome, and they flatter those with a thinning hair line.

Shoes, people, don’t forget to polish ’em, and pack ’em!  Unless you are wearing boat shoes or want to look like Don Johnson from the 80’s, let’s get some socks on those feet! Ladies, if you are wearing open toe shoes, make sure your feet and nails are done! That goes double for men! Check out Cammie’s amazing boots and cuff in the photograph below!


#3 Layer, Texture, & Accessorize!

Oh I am a HUGE fan of both of these.  Take a look at any magazine ad or Hollywood maven, you will discover that stylists use both layers and textures to polish an outfit! I say, the more, the better!    Again, go back to our original color scheme,  jeans and a t-shirt become Top Gun when you throw on a rugged leather jacket, cowboy boots, and a pair of aviator shades! Layered outfits are interesting and flattering.

I love accessories, they are the touch of sparkle and shine that every outfit needs.  This can be anything that adds a bit of interest (ie. belt, hat, jewelry, scarf, handbag, cuff, watch and the list goes on).  In my book, this one is a RULE not a suggestion!  Don’t leave home without something!  This is always a good place to let your personality shine!  Make your outfit unique and personal with the finishing touches!  Even James Bond brings a cool watch or a great pair of shades with him to head out!  Celebrities always look fabulous in their portraits because they don’t ditch the details! Check out the photo above.  Model Carly has on a terrific pair of boots, at least three layers and a great ring!  This photo would not be the same without those items! Besides looking great, accessories do something even more important.  They give your hands something to do!  Hands speak volumes and they say things like, “I’m nervous and uncomfortable.”  A beautiful bag, or long chain for example gives your photographers a place to put your hands to work!

Don’t stop short at clothing accessories.  Thing that make you, you are great too! Do you play the guitar? Personal items are wonderful for adding a touch of flare or whimsical character to your photo.  Do you paint?  How about a palette and brush?  Love to read?  Bring your reading glasses and a stack of your favorite vintage novels.  I frequently take photographs of my own children in customs because that is how we roll!  What makes you unique and interesting?  Bring it!

Senior Portraits

A Note About Makeup

Wearing the right makeup is equally important. I use light almost 100% of the time while shooting so there are a few things you should keep in mind when applying your makeup.  We aren’t going for Rocky Horror Picture Show but Night of the Living Dead isn’t good either ;)! Under normal circumstances I am the sparkle queen, I love it!  However, sparkly makeup and photography don’t mix well!  Matte make-up is best for all types of lighting.  You should wear your makeup a touch heavier than you would usually and don’t forget the blush, it makes you look alive and youthful!  Save the shine for the lips! (See below)

How to Flatter and What To Avoid!


If you want to flatter yourself, wear clothing that fits!   If you are a figure conscious person stay away from large busy patterns, baggy or excessively tight clothing.  Also, longer sleeves and pants are more flattering that shorter ones.  In the same token, darker colors are more flattering than lighter ones.  When possible, avoid clothing with logos or large patterns or horizontal stripes.  Don’t be a walking billboard for a clothing company during your portraits, unless that is your specific purpose (See my Seahawks fan right)!  Here is a nice article on how to choose the right neckline for your body shape.  Here is another great article on choosing the right necklace for your neckline!  I also have a wonderful gallery of images of flattering clothing choices for women, men, accessories, and curvey women!

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Tami Siriani,  Spokane Valley Senior Portrait Artist. 
Beautiful, creative imagery that is flattering to every face and body type!
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all images Tami Siriani photography © 2019