Zeffler Photo 101: What to Wear

“What should I wear?” – updated Aug. 26, 2013

I get this question more than any other. It is a miserable question to try to answer because everybody could – and should – wear something different. Every photo shoot is different and the clothes you wear in your shoot will go a long way in expressing your personality and style.
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This is not a stuffy private school in the suburbs. We do not make everyone dress in the same uniform. The goal is to capture your personality, whatever that may be.

I admit it, I need your help. We will talk about the kind of photos we want to take and the “look” we want. If you want to buy new clothes, great. If you want to work with what you have (or borrow), then that is great too.

Not everybody has to be a land pirate in the desert, but you do need to be yourself – your real self or your make believe self.

I understand that not everyone will want to play make believe. Not everyone will be a pirate or an Old West family. You may want some simple and clean family photos. But I would continue to urge you to avoid having the whole family match clothing. I doubt white polo shirts and jeans say much about your family, so don’t be afraid to let everybody represent their own style. In any event, here are a few tips that might help – in that instance you do not want to get weird with me.

For women:

  • Wear clothes that flatter your body. I know that is vague, but clothes that are too large or do not fit right will make you look frumpy.
  • Accessories are always good.
  • Get shoes that you love. Great shoes seem to make all the difference for the ladies.
  • Try your outfit on in front of the mirror (as if I really need to say that). Move around in it and make sure it is comfortable (especially if you have kids you may need to wrangle). If you feel like you look good in the mirror, it will likely photograph even better.

Casa Grande 001

For men:

  • If you do not have an established form of facial hair, please shave. A day and a half of facial hair growth does not look great on most men.
  • No short pants – unless you have sexy legs.
  • Shirts that button up with collars are often more flattering. Jackets and vests look great too.
  • Be careful with t-shirts. A nice t-shirt might look good while you are running around on a Saturday afternoon, but they don’t always photograph well.

For kids:

  • Kids tend to get a free pass with me. Make sure they are clean and have combed their hair. A clean nose is the best accessory (and a few baby wipes are always handy).
  • Kids should be comfortable and having fun. Whatever that means for your kid.
  • With that said, if you see some of the photos of my kid, you know how much fun a kid shoot can be.

General notes:

  • Avoid too much of one color (i.e. too much white, too much black). Specifically the extremes of black and white. We don’t want everybody in the photo to blend into each other.
  • If you don’t want to stress about clothes too much, just coordinate it so everybody is dressed one or two steps nicer than they would normally dress. You don’t want to rent formal wear, but keep in mind these photos are for posterity and will be much, much better than your standard Facebook profile photo.

I would urge you to check out some of the photo posts I have here on the blog. Not that you need to steal ideas, but it always helps to get a feel for what you think would be a good direction to take your photo shoot. And, as always, feel free to ask questions.

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