Distracting Clothing

“Don’t Wear Distracting Clothing”

That seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? A portrait is all about the people in it, the faces, the character…you wouldn’t wear a clown suit to a family portrait session (unless you come from a family of clowns). So what’s to talk about?

Unfortunately, clothing can sabotage you in any number of more subtle ways. Here are some less-obvious things not to wear.

– Words on Clothing

It’s hard to buy a T-shirt these days without some sort of writing on it. The same holds true for dressier clothing, as clothing companies try to brand every square inch of what they sell. But when you look at a photograph, your eye is drawn immediately to the written word. This urge draws the eye so strongly, that it competes with the faces in the photograph.

You might also want to consider how you’ll view this portrait five or ten years from now. Even if words on shirts are still popular in the future, it’s doubtful that the exact style or word will be popular then. You run the risk of making a very dated photograph, very quickly.

– Trendy Clothing

Which leads me to the next part: trendy clothing. This is not to say you need to look like a slob, or that you need to dress conservatively. But you should avoid clothing that is outlandish and/or the flavor of the month. When we all think of clothing from the 60s, 70s or 80s, we tend to remember the really extreme examples. (And shudder at the thought of actually wearing them again.) Dress in a sophisticated and timeless manner, and you can’t go wrong.

– Bold Patterns or Stripes

Just like text, a bold pattern on a piece of clothing draws the eye immediately. Which is fine if you want to have people say “wow, nice shirt!” But not so cool if you want people to look at you instead. When was the last time you wore a bold pattern, and someone said to you “wow that shirt really highlights your features”? They never get past the shirt. But subtle patterns are just fine.

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