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What to Wear and How to Prepare for your Portrait Session || Couples

Valerie Kay Photography Las Vegas photographer and traveling photographer providing quality memories of both gorgeous smiles and cherished fun-filled candid moments.

You've booked your photographer for some updated portraits! Yay! Now you're thinking... What are we going to wear? You might even be a little stressed about this perceivably daunting task. You are not alone! I even struggle dressing my own family and I've been a photographer for the better part of a decade. Here's what I recommend for how to style and how to prepare!

Don't match, Coordinate!

Okay, so maybe you've had an idea to just put everyone in denim jeans and solid white shirts? That matches right? It does, but it doesn't create any visual interest. When people view the photo, their eye will go directly to what you're wearing instead of your beautiful faces first.

I always recommend starting with picking your colors. I typically say three colors; one neutral, one bold, and one accent color. You can definitely add in another color or two if it coordinates well. Here's what else is great, you can also use variations of these colors too. Different shades of gray work together very well, or various shades of red seen here:

Coordinating can mean one person in a print and the other in a solid color in a shade that can be found in the print, that extra detail really helps bring everything together.

Can't decide? Plan for an outfit change or two :)

A fantastic added value to booking a session with Valerie Kay Photography is exclusive access to the wardrobe. The wardrobe has many options of varying levels of formal that could help add a little something extra to your styling and it is always helpful not to have to shop if you don't want to! View the wardrobe here:

Here are some color schemes that may inspire you.

A couple last notes for styling, we want to avoid neon colors. They have a glowing effect that cause some nasty color casts that are very difficult to balance in post processing. Also items with tiny prints or lines, these sometimes cause undesirable moire in photographs.

but... most importantly.. Don't Stress!

All of these recommendations are only suggestions and I don't want you to get too hung up if you're not finding the perfect something you have set in your mind. There have been plenty of gorgeous photos that came out perfect without following all the rules!

This couple in all black slayed their session and we were able to get very creative with light and color. <3


Accessories are a great way to dress up your family. Scarves in the fall are the perfect example and are amazing! Also, some nice jewelry (long necklaces are very lovely) or a beautiful headband, tie, suspenders for the kids are great. Hats can be great too! I don't recommend baseball caps but a stylish hat like a fedora or a nice flat cap looks great in photos. If it fits your personality, add it in!


You want to make sure you're comfortable in whatever you're wearing because it does translate into your portrait if you're uncomfortable. Layers are always a great idea, that way you can take off if it ends up too warm, or add if it's too cold. Here in Las Vegas, you can pretty much count on the weather forecast, so it's easier here to plan.

For my clients in Colorado Springs, we all know too well how unpredictable the weather can be, so planning accordingly with layers will be beneficial in Colorado.

Hair and Makeup

I always recommend professional hair and makeup as a way to help pamper yourself, take a huge task off your getting ready to-do's, and brings that extra level of care and detail to your portraits. Professional makeup does more than just make you look stellar (which we love of course), but it also helps even skin tones, remove shine, and bring out the best tones in your skin. That is an extra expense though, so I understand that may not be for everyone. If you are doing your own hair and make-up, here are my recommendations:

- Use a primer on your face and eye lids

-Avoid reflective based foundations (I haven't seen these in a couple years so you're probably good!)

-Only apply highlighter to the appropriate places -Wear a lip color! Any color or finish you want. The camera loses a good percentage of color right when it takes the photo and lips tend to get lost.

-Sometimes a little lightweight hair oil to finish your style is fantastic at avoiding fly-aways


It's best to plan out your entire day ahead of time and manage your time well. If you don't, it's possible to lose track of time and end up late to your session. This is typically a problem because we've scheduled your session for best light and any time that you may be late will take away from that gorgeous light. Also, being late will start your session stressed out and we really don't want that.

The Great Outdoors

All of my sessions typically take place outdoors. I absolutely love capturing nature's beauty in gorgeous natural light. With that, it's important to remember that it is outside. There is going to be dirt, sometimes cactus, and we are always cautious of wildlife. Being prepared and also dressing for this is important. High heels might make it difficult to walk on dirt and gravel or having open toe shoes can leave you or your kiddos vulnerable to scratches or cuts. You can still wear these clothing options, of course, just wanting to keep these things in mind.


Sometimes it will be windy and that's okay! Movement from wind makes for great photos. However, fly-aways can be a pain. I always recommend bringing a weightless hair oil, serum, or some anti-frizz product that you can just put a small dab on your hands and smooth out your hair (and the kiddos too). I love agave hair oil but any product you love will be great.

While my style is both posed and candid, I really just want everyone to have fun the whole time. We will start with looking at the camera for a posed shot, but after that, it's all about the interaction and real emotions. Come ready with a favorite memory of your person to share, your favorite jokes, anything that you love about you. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you learned a few helpful tips! Any questions or you want to book your family portrait session, please feel free to shoot me an email or you can click here.

Valerie Kay Photography || Las Vegas Photographer

Internationally Published Photographer ~ Recognized as Best Fine Art Photographer of Las Vegas by Peerspace ~ Best of the Best Photographer by Summerana Magazine 2019 + 2021 ~ Best Fine Art Photographer of Las Vegas by Giggster ~ Top Portrait Photographer in Las Vegas and Colorado Springs by Expertise in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 + 2022 ~ ~ Fab Photographer of Las Vegas by Hulafrog in 2019, 2020, 2021 + 2022

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