Portrait Session Style Guide

You’ve found the professional photographer you want to work with and you have agreed on a beautiful location. You have ideas about how stunning the session will turn out, but WHAT DO WE WEAR?! Everyone can benefit from a portrait session style guide. This dilemma of what to wear is common, for graduating seniors, family sessions, wedding anniversaries, maternity, newborn, etc. Let me help with some pointers so you can create memories you’ll look back on and cherish for a lifetime!

Styling your Session

If you’re looking for that wow factor in your photos, I suggest bringing a few small props to the session. A blanket to sit on, some fresh flowers to hold, a simple prop to add to the photos can make that extra special pop. Maybe you have some connections to an even bigger wow factor, like a classic car, a boat, or a vintage loveseat. You do not need any props for beautiful photos, but if you have the ability to bring one or two along it can add a lot of fun! Outfits can be more of a make it or break it moment for your photos.

Tips for HER

Say yes to the dress! Dresses or skirts are flattering on a female body — thus why we see so many of them on the red carpet. Dresses allow for movement in photos, swishing or twirling. Depending on the session you’ve booked you may have the opportunity to do a long flowy dress and then change to a cute shorter look to add more variety to your gallery of photos. I almost promise you won’t regret dressing it up a bit more than normal!

Keep in mind any body insecurities you have, and darn it if we don’t all have some! When selecting your outfits keep these things in mind. For example, if you are worried about your arms, find a dress with three-quarter or long sleeves. If your dress has skinny straps or shorter sleeves consider bringing a cardigan or blazer to wear too. A closed-toe heel is one of the most flattering shoes on a woman. You really can’t go wrong with a pair of neutral pumps!


Light, neutral tones with muted shades will allow you to remain the focus of the photograph. If you have a fun bold print or a bright color, that can be distracting and move the focus away from the main attraction, YOU! Creams, taupes, light grays are always a win. The softer, more neutral color palette will almost always look beautiful in any outdoor environment–the beach, the desert, the field, etc.

Refrain from too much “matchy-matchy” in your group as well 🙂 Portrait Session Style Guide Tip for colors, select a color palette that usually has two or three coordinating colors. I recommend adult female picks her outfit first, something she falls in love with. As a result, she’ll feel amazing, and it will look amazing in your portraits. Then select everyone else’s outfits from the coordinating color scheme on your color palette. Another tip is to look at nature, what colors do you find in the pictures below, and pull those together in your outfits.

mauve colored cactus with fresh cut sunflowers in the desert. Colors Kimberly Martindale Photography uses to help clients choose what to wear in a photo session
mauve, taupe, green and soft orange
gray and white rocks with the brown dirt and a few green cuts of grass showing through.  Kimberly Martindale Photography uses this image to help clients see how nature shows colors that go together
gray, green, chocolate and white
yellow and pink flowers on green stems Kimberly Martindale Photography uses this image to show how nature puts colors together
green, taupe, multi shades of yellow with a splash of pink
rust, white and cream colored foliage Kimberly Martindale Photography uses this image to show how nature uses colors that compliment each other
rust, white, cream, and green
blue, white, rust, green and white

I hope these portrait session style guide tips have been helpful for you! I would love to hear what color scheme you chose for your session, drop me a comment below.



blue sky, white clouds, rust and green foreground all colors Kimberly Martindale Photography uses to help clients choose colors

June 29, 2021

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Joyful. Authentic. Captivating.

Kimberly Martindale