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  • Writer's pictureRachel Z

What to Wear for an Outdoor Photoshoot

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Couple holding hands and smiling
Photo by Rachel Z Photography at Palace of Fine Arts, Ca

You’ve got the photographer, chosen the location, booked the session, but now what to wear for an outdoor photoshoot? It’s Rachel with Rachel Z Photography and let’s look together!

It is understandable that this may cause some feelings of stress as you are investing in family heirlooms, but it doesn’t have to be complex.

A quick internet search might leave you believing that black is good and white is bad regardless of context. But generalities like that can be very limiting.

The following tips will help dispel old rules and help you coordinate the most cohesive, timeless look for your outdoor family photoshoot.

Don’t Match Head to Toe

You know the photographs. Every family member is in jeans and a black shirt.

It was designed as a simple formula, but it can feel unnatural or contrived. Instead of a uniform, choose a color palette. To start, decide if you want warm-tones (brown, beige, etc) or cool-tones (blues, grays, blacks, etc).

From there, you can branch out to decide on specific colors that will make a cohesive look without creating a family uniform.

Create a Mood with Color

Darker colors create a thoughtful, relaxed tone while brighter colors create a more playful mood.

Keep in mind your location as you choose your colors and mood. If you are shooting with a fun street mural, pick muted colors that won’t clash with the vivid backdrop.

If you are shooting in nature, it is best to pick colors that are present. Pick one to two colors to focus on and mix in neutrals to put the look together. Make sure that your neutrals are in the same color family.

Leave these at Home

Avoid loud patterns and logos. These can distract the eye and take away from the overall photo.

Even if it is within your color palette, these things will not add to the photo but take away from it. Fluorescent colors, hot pink and bright coral should be avoided as well.

Keep accessories to a minimum. You want your faces to be the focus of the photo.

Don’t forget about textures

Often an overlooked topic, this can make or break the “put-together” look of your outfits.

If the family is in flannel but one person is in a flowy bohemian dress, the outfits don’t work together. Whether a warm vibe is chosen (flannel, knits, velvets) or a cooler vibe (cotton, linen, etc), make sure that everyone is wearing the same textures.

Know Yourself

If you never wear a full glamorous face of makeup, now might not be the best time to try it. You want your photos to fully reflect who you are as a family.

You know your comfort level best. While cosmetics can highlight the best parts of your features, it shouldn’t cause stress. Neutral shades are best for photography, as they won’t draw attention away from the other members of your family.

If you wear that red lip every day, by all means, wear it now. The point is to capture you and all of your family as you are.

About Rachel Z Photography

I’m a 30-year-old San Francisco-based photographer, activist, tattoo enthusiast, and guardian of 2 lovely rescued birds. I adore doing portrait photography for others, whether that’s indoors or outdoors, covered in flowers and nature or covered in fake blood. My goal with my photography is to empower you by taking the essence of who you are and turning it into works of art. I want to hear what YOUR ideas are and help make them into a reality. I want you to feel powerful. I want you to feel beautiful. I want you to feel confident, because we all deserve that.

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