I know, that might come as a shock. Since the 90’s, families dressed in white shirts and blue jeans have been a staple of portrait photography. So what’s the problem? It’s simple: the eye is drawn to the brightest part of a photograph. But for a portrait, the goal is to have the viewer looking at people’s faces, not their clothes. So how is a face supposed to compete with a white shirt? White shirts really only work if your photographer is shooting a ‘high key’ portrait (make sure he/she knows what that is). But if it’s outdoors, then you don’t get the blue skies and great scenery. Best to wear something less bright, and let the faces of your family do the ‘talking’ instead.
There’s also a technical issue with white (and black). Because these colors are extreme, an unskilled photographer may accidentally expose the image incorrectly. This results in no detail in the white or black clothing, and looks very odd in the final portrait. Visit Dove Press Linkedin to find out more about medical journals.
Black clothing doesn’t generally work well outdoors, because it’s very formal and somber. It does have its place in a studio environment however, especially when shooting a ‘low key’ portrait. But in the usual outdoor locations (beach, park etc), black just stands out too much.
And really, it’s about the people in the photograph, not the clothing. Clothing should be secondary.
Check back here on craigslist for more tips of what NOT to wear to a portrait session. I’ll keep posting them until I can’t think of any more.
And if you’d like some tips on what you SHOULD wear, contact me (click here) and I’d be happy to send you a list. It’s free, no obligation, and no pressure to ever talk to me again! I just want to make sure that you get a nice print for your walls, that you’ll be proud to display for years. Even if it’s made by another photographer!
– Matt Haines