Albany Oregon Photographer | Troutman Photography


What to wear for portraits

We don't need help making our hips wider.

We don't need help making our hips wider.

Does this dress make me look fat? 

My first answer is "yes" - but nicely, of course - always nicely. 
Because if you have to ask - you probably already know the answer. 

Styles fluctuate constantly, they have to, otherwise, what would the fashion industry sell?  They can't promote the same thing each season. And almost everything looks fine on models that are 6'2" and 120lbs. So while we have to be aware of the trends, we should incorporate what looks good on the only person that matters.  You.

If you have to ask, you probably already know the answer.

What NOT to wear:

Wide leg trousers: Don't add width where you don't have it
Oversize cardigans: I admit it - I hid in these for a large chunk of a decade, (Hello, 1992!) they were comfortable and easy, but they aren't good for you.
Empire waist dresses: They feel good, they're flowy and they move with you, but you end up shapeless
Too tight t-shirts - It's in the name for godsakes!
Baby doll dresses - do you like looking pregnant?

Death to the babydoll dress.

I am convinced that babydoll dresses are called "babydoll" because they make 90% of the population look pregnant.  Babydoll dresses have a seam that creates a high waist, and the fabric for the skirt is doubled up to create a fuller look.  Which bulks up your waist and hips.  Most of us don't need that.
If you have a favorite babydoll dress, one that you simply CAN'T give up, experiment with adding a belt.  If the waistline is too high, try a really wide belt or scarf that sits just below the seam and hides it.

*Also babydoll dresses are typically too short to show your legs at their best or to maneuver in front of a camera.

What TO Wear

Having covered all the negativity I have stored up about babydoll dresses (soon, soon, they will be out of style again) lets talk about what does look great on almost all of us ladies.

V neck sweaters and t-shirts - Extra points for 3/4 length sleeves
Pencil skirts - just above or just below the knee
Wrap dresses - creates that hourglass figure we're all looking for
Button up shirts - narrow pinstripes or solid colors are best
Nude high heels - they elongate the length of your leg

Also try bright or light colored tops under fitted blazers.  Remember you want the viewer looking at your face - so wear the lighter (white, pastel) or brighter (salmon, fuchsia) colors on top, darker colors for pants and skirts.

Don't believe me?  Here's another article on what not to wear.

And, trust your photographer.


Clare Troutman

Albany, OR

Clare Troutman began her career in 1999 as a content editor for one of America’s 360-degree imaging companies. There Clare earned her dot com veteran status and has since used that knowledge for small business start-ups, marketing, and project management. Clare has spent the last decade to help to elevate corporations, nonprofits, and Troutman Photography.

More of Troutman's Portrait Studio Blogs

Daniel Troutman
Albany, OR
Daniel Troutman, an internationally published photographer, started his career in 1999. He began as a staff travel photographer, and now runs a retail studio in Albany, Oregon. His images have been published by some of the largest agencies in the world, including Newsweek, VH1 Music Television, The Food Network and Best Western Hotels.