Portrait Style Guide:
Clothes are never a frivolity;
they always mean something.
- James Laver
This may seem obvious, but one of the most important ways to prepare for a portrait session is to make sure all grooming details are taken care of ahead of time.
When it comes to grooming, just imagine you’re about to go on a first date with someone you’re very eager to impress.
Schedule a hair cut, trim/clean your nails, brush and floss your teeth, trim the beard if you have one, and shave any unwanted stubble growing on the neckline and face. The camera loves to point out these types of oversights, but when they’re handled ahead of time, you’ll look damn good. Ultimately, what you wear will depend on the goal of your shoot. Just make sure the canvas is squeaky clean.
Keep shorts and loose-fitting pants in the drawer. Fitted—not tight—jeans or dress pants look best on camera. Investing in a suit for your shoot? You will look all the more impressive if you have it tailored. Body shape or size does not alter this fact—there’s just something about a tailored suit that makes everyone look instantly handsome.
Stick with solid shades and avoid pinstripes, plaid patterns, graphics and logos, which tend to distract the eye. Here’s a handy guide to choosing colors that go well together. (*Tip: You’ll look great with gray, white or navy as your dominant colors, and if you’re feeling daring, accent with pops of bold color in your accessories.)
Details / Accessories
Here are some accessories that are sharp complements to any outfit (choose just one or two if you’re new to this sort of thing):
Tie and/or tie clip
Layers on men look great on camera, since they bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats can kick any look up a notch. Also, feel free to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and breaks up the color tones.
On Your Feet
Closed-toed shoes are best, Brown leather dress shoes or boots always look timeless on guys, whether you’re wearing jeans (fitted!) and a t-shirt, dress pants, or a full suit.
(Please: No slippers. Even brown suede slippers can’t pass for dress shoes.)
All of these small details add up to someone who looks clean, handsome, and put-together.