The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is critical in the preparation for the successful portrait. If the clothing is noticeable in a portrait, it could easily become a distraction. Clothing that does not attract attention to itself is the ultimate goal. It could be the difference between a very successful portrait and just another picture. We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to observe the following criteria:
Darker clothing helps to blend the bodies with the background, so that the faces are the most important part of the photograph. Dark colors definitely tend to slenderize the subject. Light colors tend to add weight to the bodies, and draw the attention of the eye. Of course, if we are planning a lighter color background, lighter colored clothing is fine.
The color of the clothing should always be toned down. Bright colors attract attention away from the face. Colors MUST be dark and not bright. This is ESSENTIAL! Prints and any kind of pattern no matter how small become a distraction.
Long sleeved clothing is a MUST! For casual portraits it is equally important to wear long pants instead of shorts. When arms and legs are exposed to the camera there will be more flesh in the photograph in those areas than on the face, itself. This is a major distraction.
White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket are perfect. A scarf loosely tied around the neck helps to frame a face beautifully when a collarless blouse or sweater is worn. Neckties should definitely be toned down in color and with a minimal pattern.
The most flattering neckline for most people is something that comes up close to the neck. A wide-open neckline tends to thicken the neck in a photograph. A neckline that comes up to the base of the neck a turtleneck or a v-neck top is the most flattering. It tends to slim down the person and frames the face beautifully.
Clothing for group portraits must be carefully selected to blend the bodies together. First, decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warm-toned (browns, reds etc.) or cool-toned (blues/grays/blacks etc.) Then, make sure to follow all of the above instructions.
Finally, lay out all the clothing onto a bed. Then, take a careful look at the collection. If your eye goes to any one item in particular, you can be certain that the same thing will happen in a photograph. That item should be changed.