1.) Layers and Textures make for a beautiful Picture.
Textures can be created by wearing multiple types of fabrics, for example a sweater over a blouse with a scarf. Both layers and textures add depth to a pictures and make it more interesting. They also are great for black and white portraits. Layers can also be removed to create a totally different look in just seconds.
If you choose an outfit that you wouldn't normally wear you will probably be less likely to love the images once you see them. If your normal attire is not something that you would want to pay to have your portrait in, then find a happy middle ground but stay true to yourself. The purpose of a portrait is to represent who you are in that moment, not who you are on picture day. Being comfortable in your clothes will make for a great session not only for you but for your kids as well.
3.) Steer clear of white if you are going to an afternoon Session.
Personally I like to meter my light to my subjects face as that is my main focus with portrait photography, because of this a white shirt or dress can actually appear washed out and overexposed even when the photograph is taken in the shade.
4.) Accessorize : A little pop of Color is A beautiful thing.
Sometimes Less is more and personally instead of a portrait being saturated with colors I love just a little pop of color here and there which can be accomplished with accessories such as bows, hats, scarves, and jewelry. The subject's shirt is a neutral ivory but the bow accents the picture and draws attention to her face without taking center stage. Accessories can also be easily removed and give a subject a whole new outfit in seconds.
Too much jewelry draws attention away from the face which should be the focus of your portrait.
6.) Choose 1 to 3 colors for a group portrait.
Chose colors with similar tones that go nicely together. Have you ever noticed how wonderful wedding pictures look? It's because they usually have a color pallet that everyone is wearing.
7.) Shoes do matter!
They can make or break an outfit and are excellent sources to coordinate with other subjects clothing to make for an interesting picture.
8.) Think about the location when choosing your clothing.
Choose outfits that will compliment the surrounding. If you are going to be photographed in the forest then you may want to steer clear from green, or if your at the beach beige would not be the best color choice. Likewise you would not want to wear flip flops into the forest and catch poison ivy or high heels to the beach.
If the subject plans to hang their portrait in their living room they may want to coordinate their outfits with their décor. If It is for their Christmas card they may want to dress
traditional Christmas colors. The way that a picture will be displayed is important when deciding on colors for your portrait.
10. Your outfit should express who you are.
Personally I tend to Choose clothes that are timeless. Trends come and go quickly and can make your portraits look terribly dated in years to come. However, if you like capturing time as it is or was, trends may just be perfect for your session. Everyone has their own style. It's important that you embrace yours.
I hope that my 10 portrait tips were helpful to you as you decide on your portrait attire. Every Photographer is different and may not agree with them but they hold true to the style of photographer that I am. The most important thing is to have fun and don't stress out about all the details. Great pictures can be achieved without every single detail being mapped out. Here is an example of a non-color coordinated session that still turned out great with very little planning.