What should I wear for my portrait?

The goal of any portrait is to direct the viewer's attention to the face or faces in the portrait. Simple long sleeved garments in medium to dark tones are usually the best.

Colors: Earth tones such as chocolate brown, charcoal gray, royal blue, burgundy and forest green work well. Avoid cream, beige, tan, pink and peach because they compete with flesh tones.  Overly saturated colors like bright yellow, orange, red and light green aren't good because they tend to overpower everything else in the portrait.  Bold patterns and prints usually don't photograph well.

General guidelines: We will shoot a variety of poses from headshots to long poses. Dress from head to toe especially for a group portrait.  Remember to wear footwear in keeping with the visual intent of the overall portrait. Long sleeves are better because bare arms call attention to themselves and away from the face. Bring a hairbrush for last minute touch-ups.

Groups: Choose clothing in the same tonal ranges so that no one stands out because their clothing is too light or bright in comparison with the rest of the group. It's equally important to try and dress in similar styles (casual or formal).

Women: Skirts should be knee length or longer. Slacks are equally effective. Darker colors will help keep the eye directed towards the face and away from your legs and lower body. Make up can enhance your portrait. A little powder can reduce shine in your complexion and a light application of makeup will enhance your natural coloring.

Men: If you have a heavy dark beard, you may want to shave right before your portrait.  If you get a haircut, allow one week for your hair to grow out.

Robert D. Bachrach

Boston, MA
(617) 536-4730

Washington, D.C. Area
(703) 548-2111

New York, NY
(212) 755-6233

Philadelphia, PA
(215) 542-7454

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