On Facebook I asked my followers what blog topics they are interested in. Laurel asked this question, "What colors and patterns look best in pictures?". I have posted a lot about clothing in the past, but it's a great question that I'd like to go more in depth on. Let me ask you a question first. What do you normally look at first in a portrait of a person? Is it the clothing? The shoes? Or is it the face of the person?
For me, it's always the face. I want to see the expression and look at the eyes, especially. Is that how it is with you?
I mean, for a fashion ad in a magazine, they want you to look at the clothes, so they pose in ways to draw attention to the clothing.
Clothing with patterns and prints draw the eye immediately away from the face, especially if they are bold and colorful prints.
This is why, in general, I recommend you avoid prints. However, I do have some exceptions:
- A pattern on a small item of clothing, such as a tie or scarf is OK.
- A pattern can work if it has little contrast to the background of the fabric. Here is an example that works well:
I do not like stripes at all in a portrait because they are much too distracting. Texture, however, can be very lovely and can be used to hide areas you'd like to hide.
This is not to say I don't love great clothing in portraits. Great outfits make a huge difference in a portrait. Clothing can help convey mood or bring out the eyes or bring energy to a portrait. So I'm not saying to dress in a boring way. I am saying to stick to solids.
As for color, there are a lot of philosophies about that. While bright colors can also detract from the subject's face, it doesn't seem to do it as much as prints do. One thing you must understand, though, is that red, yellow, and orange tend to really stand out in a picture. So if you are in a group and you wear red, you will stand out more than the other subjects. I'm not that crazy about white in a picture, either, because it can often look really, really bright in a portrait and can make light skin look washed out. Cream-colored blouses are much more flattering than bright white.
Another consideration when choosing the colors to wear is the location. Will you be standing in a place with lots of green? Then you probably don't want to wear a lot of green.
Also, it might be helpful to think of throw pillows and what different colors you'd put on a neutral sofa. Do the colors go together? Take a look at complementary colors, such as on this website to help find fun color combinations. Complementary colors are very soothing to the eye and work very well for portraits.
Neutrals, such as grey, black, cream, or brown are good colors to use, but be sure to add a pop of color somewhere, even if it's only in your shoes.
Blue, green, and pastels are often lovely in portraits.
Finally, consider what colors you look great in. Has there ever been a color you wear that someone remarks how great you look in it? Mine are royal blue and purple. When I wear one of those colors, I almost always get a compliment on it. And I feel great in those colors, which would help me feel more relaxed during a photo session.
This senior looks gorgeous in blue, don't you think?
I hope that helps! For more clothing tips, click here.
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