Photography for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by photographer Tom Szabo

Clothing, Make-up and Prop suggestions for Portrait Photography


Clothing, Make-up and Prop suggestions for Portrait Photography

Clients often ask questions about clothing when scheduling a sitting. Depending on the type of portrait or the intended use, recommendations vary.  Below is a list of suggestions for a wide range of portrait types.  As always, guidelines are simply that – guidelines!  Feel free to contact the studio with questions and comments.

Family portraits can be both formal and casual. The suggestions listed below will cover both types.

Formal – Male

A dark (Black, Charcoal, Navy Blue) jacket with complimenting or contrasting slacks.  Collared shirts with a tie to compliment the coat and slacks.  Ties can be considered optional.

Formal – Female

Dresses or Skirt & Blouse in conservative color pallets, Black, Navy Blue, Maroon pieces. Fabric texture or print should compliment the rest of the family. A bold and bright floral print might not fit well with dark solid clothing worn by the rest of the family.  Sleeve length should be something that makes you feel comfortable.  Scarves should match or compliment with the outfit.

Jewelry – Either complimentary to the outfit or suit your personal taste.

Casual – Male or Female (Think about having fun with the casual styles).  Pants can be Denim, Khaki or other solid colors with a comfortable collared or polo shirt.  Shirt colors can be light blue, denim, white or something on which all family members agree.

Slacks and shirts can be the same color for all family members or can be selected to separate males from females or sub-families of a larger family.  Clothing color or styles can be chosen to show a theme.

High School Seniors

  • Make a fashion statement.
  • Show sports or hobby interest.
  • Props can also be used (Please advise the studio in advance for size and location considerations.)

Executive Portraits

Consider the purpose of the portrait, i.e. press release vs. framed in the Boardroom.  Clothing may also reflect the audience – formal vs. casual attire. Both may be done for multiple audiences or markets.  Props may also be considered to reflect market statements or professionalism.

Personal Portfolio

Multiple outfits are common and may be chosen to reflect the image end use or recipient: Professional, Family, Friend(s), Significant Other

Hair and Make-up

  • Hair style(s) can be normal and/or not normal for you. This can accommodate the intent of the portrait.
  • Have hair cut a couple of weeks in advance for a more natural look.
  • Bring your personal hair and/or makeup products to the studio for touch ups or to change style.
  • Contact the studio to discuss skin problems or blemishes before your sitting. Some of these issues can be handled through touch-up prior to printing.


Stay away from the sun prior to your sitting. Sunburn can accentuate facial features and can require significant touch up. Give the sunburn some time to fade a bit before your portrait sitting!

A nice tan can certainly enhance your appearance. Uneven tanning, especially on the face can require touch up to smoothen skin tones. If you have some significant variations in skin tones, consider bringing your make up with you.


April 30, 2009 - Posted by | Portrait | , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: