Well the season of Holiday Card portrait sessions is almost upon us!  My calendar is already booking up fast.  So in timing with this I thought this would be a good time to throw out some dressing tips.  Now keep in mind, this are the old hard and fast rules photographers’ have used in the past.  I am a little less uptight and do like fun outgoing outfits but these rules were set up to make you look the most flattering so I will share them.  The only MAJOR rule I have is no plaids or major strips as they freak the camera out and can create moire patterns which make your picture resemble 3D/HD and can ruin the image. So that is my only hard and fast rule.

With that said here are the professional photographers’ dressing tips.


With the Holidays looming in the distance and families coming together it is the perfect opportunity to capture that in a way that will last for generations.  Or maybe you are just looking for a nice picture to put on your Holiday card.  Memorable portraits take careful planning, and the clothing you choose is very important to your portrait’s success. These guidelines will help you to make important decisions about your portrait.

About Clothing, Color, Tone, and Style …The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer’s attention to the face or faces in the portrait. Simple long-sleeved garments in medium to dark tones of brown rust, burgundy, green, or blue are pleasing choices when photographed against a dark background. Proper clothing allows the face to dominate the portrait. All other elements should be secondary. Bold stripes, plaids, checks, and prints are confusing and do not photograph well. Especially bright colors, such as red and orange, will completely overpower the face and ruin a portrait. Light-colored clothing calls attention to itself and away from the face. Avoid light colors that approximate flesh tones such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, and yellow. Darker shades are more flattering and slimming.
However, light colors are appropriate against a white or pastel background, or with a dark background when an interpretive “pictorial” study is planned

Couples or small groups should choose simple garments within the same tonal ranges. Light and dark tones together create visual confusion, as one subject comes forward and the other recedes.

Clothing For Families In a family group, proper clothing coordination is critical. When decorating a home, a major concern is to coordinate the colors and tones of the walls, carpets, draperies and furniture. This kind of coordination also is necessary when selecting clothing for a group portrait. Choose clothing in the same tonal ranges so that no single member of the family stands out because the clothing is too light or bright as compared to the rest of the group. The visual statement made by portrait on the left is “Here is a family in which each individual holds a place of equal importance,” whereas the portrait to the right says “Here is a group of seemingly unrelated individuals.” The only exception to this is for babies. Babies should stand out slightly with a brighter or different color to give them balance with the adults so they don’t get lost in the picture due to their size.

Clothing that blends harmoniously creates timeless portraiture because the viewer’s eye goes directly to the faces. Clothing in medium shades complement portraits made in outdoor environments.

Tips On Clothing Style And Accessories
·Very simple garments always photograph best ·Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-neck garments as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck. ·Long sleeves are essential for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will overpower the face. ·Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts, pants, or dark stockings in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.  If feet are to show in the portrait, make certain shoes and stockings are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait. ·Men should have their hair cut about one week before the portrait session. Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled. But most of all love what you are wearing and it will show!

For more information or to set up a consult or portrait session with Diane McKinney Photography email us at  You can also check out our blog at and search in the search bar on our site “family” to pull up some of our past family sessions for ideas. 🙂 #raleighphotographer #raleighbabyphotographer #dianepmckinney #dianemckinneyphotography.

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Family Photos Raleigh Photographer

Family Photos Raleigh Photographer

Family Photos Raleigh Photographer

Family Photos Raleigh Photographer

Family Photos Raleigh Photographer