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So you’ve booked your photo shoot and now are wondering: How do I choose my clothing colors for my outdoor photo shoot?

This is one of the most common questions I get! It can be overwhelming to look in your closet and not know what a good color scheme for your shoot location might be. The truth is, there’s no right or wrong answers! Here are some of my favorite ways to choose your color palette:


1. Take your inspiration from the natural environment.

which colors should I wear for a shoot in a lavender field

The beauty around Sacramento gives us so much to work with! From colorful flowers to golden grass, the possibilities are endless. Look at what the environment will offer you, whether that’s green trees or brick walls. Pull colors from the natural landscape. In this example, with a lavender field, there is sage green, lavender (big surprise!) and cream. You can also incorporate more classic tones like navy and brown (which go with virtually anything).

color palette inspiration for a photography session in the lavendar field

When in doubt, you can keep it neutral. What are neutral tones? They can include black, charcoal, light gray, brown, beige and cream. Basically any color…without much color. Easy! When it comes to clothing, this can also include very toned-down or muted natural tones such as sage green, navy, and soft blue. If you do a search on Pinterest for a neutral color palette, you’ll get the idea!

neutral color palette for clothing inspiration

Keeping it neutral also creates a more timeless look that is less likely to become outdated. You can bring in a few pops of color or leave them out completely to keep the focus on your faces. A neutral color palette also means that your printed portraits will fit effortlessly into the decor of your home, office, or wherever you choose to display them.

neutral color inspiration for photo shoot wardrobe


2. Start with one family member first — that’s usually Mom!

start with mom when selecting colors for your photo shoot

One method is to start your color scheme with mom. Mom is typically the one booking the portraits, so it’s a great excuse to treat yourself to a new outfit! By starting with one person’s outfit, you can more easily select the clothing for the rest of the family by using the color(s) from the first as a sort of anchor for the rest.

And just a friendly reminder that the most important thing for your photos is that everyone is comfortable. If your shirt is scratchy or your pants are too tight, it will show through in your expressions. Don’t feel too much pressure to dress in a certain way either. If you are more comfortable in jeans and a blouse, wear them! If you prefer dresses or skirts, those are always beautiful as well.  If you feel good in what you’re wearing, no matter the color scheme, your joy (and comfort) will show in your pictures.


3. Love lots of color? Go for it!

include accessories that show your family's personality

For those of you (including myself) who love lots of color, just go for it!  Let your family’s unique personalities shine with clothing that speaks to them. Using the picture above as an example, one could start with choosing the daughter’s dress first and then pull colors from that to find colors for the rest of the family. I also recommend selecting a location with mostly green in the environment or opt for an urban location with brick or cement in the background. Basically the rule is: if the clothes are busy, keep the background simple and vice versa.


4. Lay out all the clothes before your shoot.

Before you make your final decision, lay out all of the clothes on the bed and see how they look all together. You want to treat the whole family’s look like one cohesive outfit. Are there too many patterns? Clashing colors?

Include all of your accessories and shoes in the layout. Everything should be cohesive, but not too matchy. Gone are the days of our parents matching us head to toe!

coordinate your clothes to fit the natural environment but avoid matching

I hope this guide helps you prepare for your upcoming shoot! If you need more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board. Find a few photos you love and form your own look from there.

Of course, I am always happy to help you find the perfect color palette for your shoot! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Want to book your next photography session? Fill out the contact form on my website today!

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