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How to Style Yourself for a Photoshoot

Let's talk about setting yourself up for an awesome photoshoot! There are a few main variables that make your shoot a success, and your style and outfit is definitely one...

Let's talk about setting yourself up for an awesome photoshoot! There are a few main variables that make your shoot a success, and your style and outfit is definitely one of them!

Key Variables

  • Shoot location - What season is it? Indoor/outdoor? City/wilderness?

  • Solo or coupled? 

  • What is the purpose of the shoot? - Boudoir? Engagement? For fun? Who will see these photos and who/what are they intended for?

Shoot Location

You want your style to match your background, and you want it to make sense. If you're taking your photos in a more urban setting, definitely style it up! It makes sense to be dressy in the city! If you're going outdoors, you probably won't wear stilettos in a bed of wildflowers on top of a mountain (unless that's your goal).  Talk with your photographer about location. If you already have an outfit in mind, tell him/her so you can brainstorm a location together! Otherwise, if the photographer has a location in mind, ask! Your outfit depends on it!

Here are some examples:

  • Mountain/Beach - wear something with movement, as these locations tend to be breezy! This can be super fun! Think long dresses, light materials that float effortlessly in the wind, scarves, dusters, wraps, loose fitting items, and your hair down or in a loose style to let strands run wild!

  • Indoor Setting - go casual! What do you wear when at home? What do you wear when you want to be cozy? Take that but level up! Often times at home I wear a black or white tee and jeans. Take it up a notch by styling your hair, and adding jewelry. Is your indoor setting more formal? Simple tones and luxe items stand out and give you a polished, sophisticated look.

  • Downtown Streets - Pinterest the hell out of outfits! So many possibilities! Have fun! It doesn't matter how casual or dressy you go, it's all about what fits and feels the best and what would make you have the most fun (but seriously no sweatshirts and leggings allowed).

Bottom line - The outfit must match the location in a way that makes you feel relaxed yet excited. If you're happy in your outfit in that location, it will come across in all your photos. If your hair is too tight and your muffin is showing, that uncomfortableness will also come across in photos.

How to Style Yourself for a Photoshoot

Solo or Coupled?

Solo - If you're rockin' your shoot solo, you have no limits! It just depends on location and what/who the image is for.

  • If you're celebrating a milestone, dress like the boss lady you are!

  • Having a birthday? You better wear your favorite outfit! Something fun, fitting, and sexy (on your terms). Sexy doesn't mean showing skin. Sexy means what you want it to mean, whether that's fitted and elegant, sporty, soft and bohemian, whatever it means to you, do that!

  • To have fun - Dress according to your location! If you're in the mountains, wear something wild and free! If you're down at the docks, wear something you'd put on for that occasion, but level up with jewelry or a fun and bold accessory. Wear something fun and interesting that you hardly get to wear!

Tip - When soloing, have some sort of a prop to keep your hands busy. An accessory of sort, like a small bouquet, a book, coffee cup, sunglasses, a hat, backpack, your pet! Something to keep you moving naturally.

How to style yourself for a photoshoot
*Note that I'm wearing a super playful dress and simple jewelry, and as a prop I'm using flower petals to throw at the camera hah!

Couples - definitely compliment each other! Think colors, not necessarily the same colors for each, just colors that compliment together. Colors that compliment your location! During sunset, you want soft pastels, maybe one wears blush while the other has a hint of orange or blue. Outside in the rain and overcast or cold, warm dark colors with a pop of rich color somewhere. A snowy scene should be cozy, long sleeves, knit hats, a blanket to wrap each other in. Maybe one wears navy, while the other has maroon or forrest green!  Indoors, at home, casual. Think black, white, gray neutrals. Slouchy, off the shoulder tees or sweaters paired with your best pair of jeans. Dress up the casual with simple jewelry and your hair tied up, or relaxed and down.

You should also be on the same level of dress! Meaning if one of you are wearing sweat pants, and the other is wearing a tux, something's wrong. Guys are easy, a great pair of jeans. It's the shirt that changes everything!


  • Casual scene, an awesome t-shirt, or no shirt haha.

  • Dressy scene, button down, pattern for fun, or solid for more formal.


  • Casual scene you can do a t-shirt and loungers, off the shoulder tee and jeans, add sexy hair and jewelry.

  • For a formal look to pair with his button down, wear a fun top, maybe a duster, or a dress with similar fabrics. If he's wearing a silk shirt, you get a silk chiffon dress. If you're wearing a summer dress, he's wearing a short sleeve cotton button down. Catch my drift?

    how to style yourself for a photoshoot 
    *Note the same level of dress and complimentary color palettes.


    Purpose of the shoot?

    Is this for him? Your Christmas Card, wedding, maternity, or even Instagram? Know your audience and dress for that! Is your couples shoot for fun or for an anniversary? An engagement or something more intimate? You don't want to be wearing a deep v bodysuit for a birth announcement, just like you wouldn't wear maternity styled clothes for a honeymoon shoot in Vegas (unless that was your situation, and in that case, go balls to the wall!). Think of it like you would for your job. If you're a preschool teacher, there's a reason you wear what you do to work versus what you'd wear if you were an office executive, or as a bartender. Totally different audiences that should never cross haha.

    Other outfit tips!

    • Wear something you can play with! Often times you get in front of the camera and you're not sure what to do with your hands. If you're wearing a hat, a cozy cardigan, a dress, scarf, pants with pockets, or a wrap, you can busy yourself by adjusting those things and toggling back and forth with that item. This creates natural movement, and that is key!

    • This is your chance to bust out the playsuit, moto jacket, a-line skirt, badass shoes, and that dress that's always hanging around. Freaking wear it! Not sure how to pair that one awesome item? Everything else casual. Fancy jacket? Simple top, basic pant. Dress? Causal hair and makeup, minimal jewelry. All casual items? Lipstick and jewelry. 

    • Layers are essential. Living in Alaska there's always some sort of a chill. And when you create layers, you create a look. Always try and mix up your hem lines. Meaning, if you wear a hoodie and jeans, wear a long a down jacket over top. Or maybe you're wearing a cute cropped tank and jeans, wear a chunky cardigan that goes past your butt. When you layer, layer with different lengths.

    • Spend time on Pinterest, relook at your Outift Inspo Board, or browse someone else's outfit board! Here's mine:


    Bottom Line - Wear something that makes you happy, comfortable, and confident! That will come through in your photos and make for a stress free shoot. Discuss your location or your outfit goals with your photographer so that they make sense. And dress for the purpose of who will see these photos!


    Favorite Looks!

    how to style yourself for a photoshoot 
    how to style yourself for a photoshoot


    Overall, draw inspiration from all over! If you're super hung up on an outfit, go shopping! Walk into a boutique, or message my shop and get assistance putting together an outfit! But make sure you communicate your location and vision. If you have one item you really want to wear and not sure how to pair it, bring THAT item into a store, or take a photo and send it my way! Any sales rep should be more than happy to assist.

    Photos last a lifetime, so make this photoshoot count by nailing it with a killer outfit!



    Cordova Pleasants, owner of Resolute Boutique & Lifestyle


    These photos were all taken by Sydney Akagi who is based in Juneau, Alaska.


    Shop the looks!



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