How to Dress for a Portrait Sitting

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When dressing for a portrait sitting, consider wearing very toned down colors to help the face stand out more, and have groups dress in similar hues to avoid drawing the eye away from the faces. Dress appropriately for a portrait sitting with information from a certified professional photographer in this free video on photography.

Part of the Video Series: Portrait Photography
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Let's talk about clothing choices for portraits. We're going to start with an example of how maybe not quite the dress, I mean, they tried to get the family units waring, you know, the same kind of colors and stuff, but there's an awful lot of strips and things like that. If you think about it, all these different color combinations, tend to take your attention away from the faces in the portrait and you know, to my mind, a portrait is about the faces and we want to see those people. When you first look at this image, if you were to just glance by it, you know you're going to see this big patch of white first because your eye goes to the area of highest contrast. And ideally what I try to do, is make the faces, the area of highest contrast. The other thing is, look at how the strips kind of jump in there, and the big patches of different colors. If you wanted to do something like this for an extended family unit, this is like forty people, with maybe, six or seven different families. You want to have all solid colors, and all maybe different pastel colors for each person, or something like that. Let's look to another image for the way, maybe it might be a little better to do it. Here's an example of, pretty much, seeing what we want to see in a portrait. Everybody's in black, we have a little bit of short, shorts with the color there, but I didn't mind that, because I put the two girls on the outside, they are very close in age and they have the same type of top on, so it kind of works. If you look at this image, when you look, the very first thing that you see, is the faces in the portrait. And that's entirely due to the fact that they are wearing a very toned down color. In my case I really like to see black, and if the family's more in the casual mode, blue jeans. And also notice, bare feet! That's part of the portrait! The fact that they have bare feet, kind of ties it together, makes it more casual for them hanging out. Clothing choices, at the very least, you want to have single colors, and long sleeves. And this enables you again, when we look at this image, the very first thing you seem to go to is because we go to the area of highest contrast. Now notice this was also done, even though there was some bright spots in the background, there faces are over a dark patch. Which this makes this the area of highest contrast, so therefore your eyes go straight to the faces when your looking at this. And again it's a group portrait, we're a little casual because we're outside, and we've got the jeans. But again, simple solid colors in any way shape or form, again, tying together if they can, are a great choice for your wardrobe selections.

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