A couple weeks ago I sat down with model & photographer Cassie Scott to get some feedback on my what to wear guide. I’ve been working on developing it as a resource for my couples to use as they are planning outfits for their engagement or anniversary sessions and I wanted some expert advice. Because Cassie is used to being on both sides of the camera, she had so many helpful things to add that I decided to make this blog post in addition to incorporating her feedback into my existing post!
How do you choose clothes for shoots?
Picking clothes for a shoot can be a daunting task, and I’ll admit even after many years of having my photo taken I still stress about it sometimes! I ask myself two main questions that usually help:
Where is this shoot going to be?
This is always my first question because it dictates everything else. If for instance, I’m going to be outside in the woods I know that wearing heels won’t work because not only will I be sinking into the mud but it simply doesn’t match the location. You want to match your surroundings when your portrait is being taken otherwise the photos can come off as too set up. What would I wear if I were hanging out in this location? What time of year is it? It’s okay to dress casually! Casual doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Often people think they need to wear their very best clothes for their photo to be taken and it’s just not true. Simply looking through Pinterest is a great way to find inspiration or how to style clothes you already have.
What is this shoot for?
Keeping in mind what the photos are supposed to show and signify is extremely important. If you’re doing a couples shoot that’s supposed to be about you as a pair, making sure you don’t clash with your partner is important. You want your clothes to look like yourself but not distract the viewer. If they’re too fancy for the location they can stand out in a bad way, and vice versa.
Are there any fashion rules you keep in mind when planning an outfit?
- Find clothes that can be dressed up or down so that you can change the mood of the shoot quickly. A wrap dress, for example, can be casual with a jacket over it or more fancy with a pair of heels.
- Pick clothes that are flattering to your shape. You want to show off your best assets but also not distract from your face. Being comfortable is also key!
- Find colors that suit your skin tone. There are lots of guides online for this, but making sure you avoid colors that make you look washed out or ill is also good to keep in mind. As a pale woman, I usually avoid things that are light pink as they're too close to my actual skin tone, and pale green can make me look sick.
- Patterns can be great so long as they’re timeless. Geometric, stripe, plaid and floral prints never go out of style and are good options if you’re really wanting to add some interest. So long as the tones are fairly neutral (avoid neons) and the shapes aren’t too overwhelming and large you’ll be set.
- You should feel good in the clothes you wear! If you don’t feel your best in the clothes you put on it’ll show on your face, trust me!
During engagement sessions, we are often in public places and it can be difficult for clients to quickly transition into a second look. Any tips on how to do that in five minutes or less?
Personally, my favorite way to transition between looks quickly is either by adding lipstick or swapping accessories. The best way to do this is to start with clothes that can be dressed up or down and work with a variety of shoe, jewelry, and even hat choices. You can also add a stylish coat or jacket over what you have which can give any outfit a totally different vibe. Adding a lipstick can transform a look to be more glamorous or fun quickly, and if you bring a small mirror can be done anywhere. Personally, I’d bring a lipstick that’s an “all-day” variety so it’s kiss proof for couples pictures.
So I know that my shoots are usually shorter and more laid back than a full-on modeling gig would be, but just out of curiosity, what do you bring with you to a shoot?
Most models have a “model bag” that they bring to all their shoots that has essentials they need for either being on set all day or on location. I personally find these items are great for anyone planning on having their photo taken on location:
- Garment bag for carrying/protecting clothes
- Regular nude bra + strapless nude bra (the goal is to avoid any undergarments showing as they’ll distract from the clothes, and make sure the bras fit well)
- Seamless nude underwear (I personally love Calvin Klein’s Invisible Hipsters)
- Make-up wipes
- Concealer and powder for touch-ups (faces tend to get shiny when you’re outside for a bit, just check yourself between locations)
- Small mirror
- Tennis shoes (really any practical shoe for walking between locations)
- A snack! Don’t let hunger creep up on you!
- A weekender bag to carry all this and any accessories you may have
We went to Joe Ley in Nulu and Cassie's dress was the perfect blend of modern and vintage— it really worked well in the space. Fun fact, we only spent twelve minutes shooting there because they were closing, but I'm so pleased with what we got!
I hope you found this interview as helpful as I did! If you are wanting to dive even deeper into what to wear for your engagement session check out the guide I'm working on!