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Setting the Tone for Your Photo Session- Styling Guide

Styling can EASILY be the hardest part of your session!! I'm here to fix that. hopefully. haha! Read through my style guide, and I hope something inspires you! Just keep in mind that these are just tips and most definitely not rules! At the end of the day, your session is yours and not your photographer's. Wear what makes you happy!! Of course, let me know if you have any questions or need further advice! I would love to help!


Styling for your session is a huge deal! What you wear to your session sets the perfect tone for your photos. Sounds a little dramatic? NO, seriously!! Let's talk about an engagement session, for example. Envision your engagement photos or your save the dates. How do you see your photos in your head? Do you want your photos to have a more romantic look? Wearing a dress or more formal attire would match that look far more than ripped jeans and oversized sweaters. Now I'm not hating on ripped jeans and oversizes sweaters here so bear with me haha. Do you want your engagement photos to have a more fun laid back look? Jeans and an oversized sweater!!! lol Buuuuut casual clothing is probably your best bet! Going along with that idea, dresses and formal clothes are great for those more formal and dramatic poses such as your dress blowing in the wind or a nice leg slit for a little scandalous moment. Casual clothes give you the ability to have more freedom with posing like piggy back rides, throwing over the shoulder, jumping, basically more fun posing!

So now that you've got that, maybe you can't decide on what look you want for your photos. Maybe you've always just envisioned BOTH! you're in luck. I do offer one outfit change with every session. You can have the best of both worlds!! Now if you have decided that is what you want to do, you also need to keep in mind which lighting works best for both outfits. That is important for the tone of your photos too!! I recommend wearing the casual outfit first. That means, while you're maybe a little nervous and warming up to the new human with the camera pointed at your face (LOL), you can do more fun posing to lighten the mood!! Also, nice golden sunsets and blue hour look so nice with a dress flowing in the wind. Gives it that WOW look for sure.

Okay, now we need to talk about color palettes. This is MAJOR. I usually recommend to stay away from lighter colors like baby blues, bright reds, bright greens, bright yellows, light purples, neons, etc. What I find with brighter colors is that, first of all, they are hard to match. Secondly and most importanty, they tend to reflect colors onto your face/neck/skin. Skin tones are the most important part of editing in my opinion. If we are taking photos on a sunny day, your shirt/dress can easily reflect that color onto your neck and face. This is definitely not ideal look.

So what colors do I recommend? All the colors I mentioned above can definitely be worn to your sessions, BUT the darker deep versions of them. Instead of baby blue, wear navy. instead of bright red, wear burgundy. Instead of bright green, wear emerald. Instead of bright yellows, wear mustard yellow. Instead of light purple, wear plum. Basically, deep jewel tones are your best option! Deep colors can also give your photos more of a rich color which is my personal favorite! In the example below, the client wore an emerald dress. This complimented the environment as well as her skin tone perfectly!

Other great color options are NEUTRALS or I like to call them earthy tones! You can never go wrong with a good neutral. Neutrals goes with everything and every environment! For an engagement session, both of you can be wearing neutrals and look perfect together!! Check out the photo below for an example of a couple both wearing neutrals and KILLING IT!

Matching neutrals with those deep jewel tones are also a great option! I totally recommend one partner being in a neutral and one partner being in a jewel tone! You can't go wrong. Check out the photo below as an example. Guy in head to toe neutrals. Girl in a deep plum dress! PERFECTION!

Now, let's talk about patterns. Patterns are tricky. If you want to be the absolute safest, stay away. haha!!! Patterns are great in photos when done the right way!! I recommend staying away from super busy patterns. The focus in the photo is supposed to be you 100%! Loud and busy patterns can be distracting and take the attention away from you!! We can't be having that!! For engagement photos, I definitely recommend if one person is going to be wearing a pattern, the other person should not be. Even if it's the same exact pattern. This can look very busy and it can be hard to see where one person begins and the other person ends. Basically, you can look like one big pattern! haha I see this most with flannels. Flannels can easily become a scary situation. hahaha The photo below on the left is a perfect example of pattern and non pattern mix. BONUS: checkout the colors! Neutrals head to toe. Another win. This couple killed their styling!!! Now checkout the photo on the right below. This couple used a perfect mixture of pattern with a solid PLUS both were in jewel tones! STUNNING!!

All of these tips can 100% be used for family photos as well. Family photos are most definitely the hardest sessions to style. You have many people with many styles and typically all different ages. Just try to keep the tips above in mind when choosing outfits. The family below had some of my fav styling I'd ever seen for a session! Patterns were kept to a minimum so that it didn't look too busy. Perfect mix of neutrals (navy and cream) with a jewel tone (mustard). They match without being too matchy matchy. haha

Now, here is some major outfit Inspo. from the queen of Inspo. PINTEREST. haha so none of these photos are mine!!

Great use of earthy tones! Also, 1 person in a pattern and the other in a solid.

Here's a more casual look and I'm obsessed with this styling! head to toe neutrals with zero patterns. Simple and perfect!

This one was too adorable. More casual neutrals.

Love this! Super romantic look with mostly neutrals. One person in a pattern, the other in a solid.

Obsessed with these jewel tones. Again 1 person in a pattern, the other in a solid.


So there ya have it!! My personal opinion on styling tips that will take your photos to the next level! Styling should not make your session stressful at all, so don't dwell too much on it! Wear what makes your soul happy!! You got this!! I hope this helped!!! :)

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