What To Wear For Your Portrait Session | Jennifer Baumann Photography

Spring is HERE!! Yay!! It has quickly become my favorite season of the year. I love nothing more than to see the dull drab colors of winter turn to the fresh vibrant colors of Spring! The Dogwood trees have started to bloom and the cherry blossoms are popping up next! It is starting to get busy again for us photographers. Families are wanting updated portraits, couples are ready for their engagement sessions, and weddings are in full swing! So before things get too crazy, I thought that doing a blog post with some fun ‘what to wear’ tips would be a way for me to kick off blogging AGAIN!

Let’s get to it!

What to wear in general + for the ladies…

  • No matching outfits or wearing all the same color. Why? In my opinion, it looks very dated and very Ocean City beach portrait 1992. #sorrynotsorryย ย  I also think that it automatically makes the portraits come off as looking ‘posed’. I work very hard to create images that look natural and candid. If you are all matching or dressed in the same colors, it doesn’t look natural in my opinion. Would you dress alike on any other typical day? Probably not. So what would be the reason to do it for your professional photos? You should look like the very best version of YOUrself as possible.
  • Coordinate color tones and choose a color palate. Colors come in either warm or cool tones. Cool tones are lighter and brighter in nature. They tend to be colors you would see in the spring and summer months. Warm tones have more depth and can be both vibrant or muted in color. They would be the colors that you would see more of in the fall and winter months.
  • Get inspired. Go shopping!!! You have my permission. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a love/ hate relationship with Pinterest. But when it comes to getting outfit inspiration, I am all LOVE! Check out my ‘what to wear for shoots’ board that I created – click here. Use it as a way to get inspired for what you want to look for at the stores but don’t get too set on what you actually see online. I think that ordering clothes online can be tricky unless you do it all the time with no issues. I am all about getting into the stores and trying things on. Stand up. Sit down. Move around. Does it look good from all angles? Are you constantly adjusting yourself? These are all things you want to think about when trying on your potential outfit. Ask a salesperson for styling advice if you need it, that is what they are there for! Once you find your outfit, build everyone else’s outfit around that one. What I mean by this is coordinate color tones as I said earlier.
  • Accessorize!! Nothing pulls an outfit together quite like a good accessory or two. I am all about ‘less is more’. A beautiful statement necklace can turn a great outfit into a spectacular outfit. Maybe it is a pair of shoes or a scarf that pulls it all together? Just don’t go overboard… a big necklace with large earrings and arms full of bracelets can sometimes distract from your natural beauty that I am striving to capture. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Flattering layers can hide our ‘flaws.’ I GET IT. As a woman and mom, I have things I don’t particularly love about my body. We are all our own worst critic. What I find to be beautiful, you may disagree with. That is what makes the world go round people!! There are plenty of fashion blogs out there that can tell you how to dress your body type in the most flattering way. I am certainly no fashion expert… As I sit here writing this blog in my husband’s sweatshirt and my pajama pants at 2:38pm. However, my problem area is my stomach and I don’t love my arms. Because of this, I love a kimono or open cardigan. The kimono is great because it doesn’t show arm definition and is so comfortable and flattering in photos. An open cardigan is a great flattering option as well. I can’t quite tell you why exactly they are more flattering but trust me – they are.
  • Stores I love for the ladies: Anthropologie, Free People, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, American Eagle, Lauren Conrad collection for Kohl’s, & Lucky Brand.

This beautiful family is styled to perfection. They don’t match, but they do coordinate in cool color tones which is exactly what you want to do.


This adorable family is perfectly styled in warm fall tones. I love the Navy with the bright yellow and cranberry color which is toned down by the taupe and ivory. It all works effortlessly together.2016-03-22_0014This is another perfect example of coordinating color but not being matching. How cute are they?!2016-03-22_0011Courtney chose this sweet hat as an accessory to her simple black dress. It works BEAUTIFULLY!

2016-03-22_0019Ashley is glowing in this body hugging dress. I think for maternity shoots a fitted outfit/dress is the way to go to show off your beautiful bump! Her scarf is the perfect simple accessory to her outfit.2016-03-22_0025Dressing the kids…

  • Kids can wear anything and look cute. They sure do have it easy don’t they?! But for real. This is why I say – Moms – you get your outfit first and then find the rest of the family’s clothes.
  • Boys will be boys. My style of photography is to do just that… let the kids be kids. So if you want them to be super dressed up for the shoot, my style of shooting may not be for you unless you are cool with them getting it dirty if we are shooting at the park. I love the little boys to be in jeans or khaki shorts if it is summertime and a cute sweater or shirt. I also love jeans and overalls with no shirt at all and a cute hat. OMG. I die. Yes. Do that. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Girls have the cuter clothes, can I get an amen? Amen. Let’s be honest. They do. I have a little girl and DEAR LORD that kid has better clothing options that I do. Like. I can’t even. Girls can wear pretty much anything. A sweet dress and cardigan? Sure. Skinny jeggings and a tunic top? Done.
  • Don’t dress the baby until you arrive for your shoot! Why? I am sure I don’t have to tell you that babies are MESSY. They spit up, drool, blowout their diaper. Gross. So unless you bought two of the same outfit, just wait until you get to the shoot to get them ready. Oh and arrive a few minutes early so that it doesn’t eat into our time together. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Stores I love for the kids: Old Navy, Baby Gap, J. Crew kids, Carters, Osh Kosh, Primark, & Etsy.

These two rascals… ๐Ÿ™‚ Does it get any cuter?!

2016-03-22_0012Gosh I love how sweet and angelic these girls look. Just 5 minutes after this photo, they were playing in the dirt and rocks and their parents didn’t mind one bit. LOVE that!

2016-03-22_0007This is what I love. Let the kids be kids. You want me to capture them don’t you? Why not let them show me who they are and what they love to do? Perfection is overrated.2016-03-22_0015

Dressing the man…

  • Sorry guys. You get the short end of the stick here but you may be like my husband who says, ‘show me what to wear. tell me where to be. done.’ Or you may be the type that wants to be involved in making your outfit decision. Either way, your lady takes precedent. Get used to it. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Jeans are the most versatile. Jeans can be dressed up or dressed down. You can wear a button down shirt and a nice vest to dress it up or a solid t-shirt to dress it down. I would say 90% of the gentleman that I photograph have jeans on because they are just that versatile.
  • Stores I love for the guys: Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, L.L.Bean, American Eagle, & Lucky Brand.

I love what Scott chose to wear to this shoot. He coordinates perfectly with his family and yet he is comfortable enough to chase his daughter around the park!

2016-03-22_0016I styled these two love birds for a shoot I did a few years back. I absolutely LOVE Paul’s jeans with the button down shirt and gray vest. It is the perfect dressed up casual look for men!2016-03-22_0024Khakis and a button down also looks great! I love that Katelyn chose a jean shirt because it gives a bit more casual vibe to John’s more dressed up look. They coordinate well together!2016-03-22_0021Jamie looks so dapper in his jeans with the button down and sport coat. It is nice to have a sport coat or vest as an option to dress up the outfit and then it can be taken off mid-way through the shoot for a different look.


Finishing touches…

  • Makeup & Hair. Getting professional makeup and hair done for photos can make a HUGE impact if you aren’t so skilled at doing it yourself. Not only will you look great but I think going the extra mile to get a professional to do it for you will give you all the more confidence before you get in front of the camera. I am not saying that you have to look like a pageant queen and have a face caked full of makeup or hair as high as the heavens. Just have a professional enhance your natural beauty and go a step or two further than you would if you did it yourself. Get some loose gorgeous curls in your hair. Do some fake lashes. The fake lashes look phenomenal in photos! They enhance your eyes like you wouldn’t believe!
  • Hair and Makeup professionals I love: True Beauty Marks, Alexis Noelle Makeup, Simon Group Stylists
  • Flower crowns for the little girls and ladies. Oh em gee, do I LOVE a flower crown!! These can be the perfect styling accessory for your shoot. There is something so romantic and angelic about a flower crown that I just can’t get enough of!
  • My one and only go to for a flower crown: Belovely Floral and Event Design

This image below was captured by my dear friend Olivia Fisher of Laura Olivia Photography and edited by me.

P.S. This is a kimono over my dress that I am wearing from American Eagle Outfitters.

2016-03-22_0002This is my beautiful friend Melissa! I am in love with her outfit and this could be so flattering on any body type! Also – the flower crown – to DIE for.2016-03-22_0003This is my gorgeous friend Olivia and her precious daughter; Nora. Moms + babes + flower crowns = perfection.2016-03-22_0004


Well, that is all for today! I hope you have found this to be helpful in planning for your portrait session!

Karen KellerApril 25, 2016 - 12:37 am

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