Marc Friedland Photography Blog

Dallas Wedding Photographer. Dallas Senior Portraits. Dallas Event Photographer. Dallas Family Photography.

Clothing Tips for Business Portraits

Clothing Tips for Business Portraits

This Is All For YOUR Benefit!

The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is a critical factor in the preparation for a successful portrait.

If the clothing is noticeable in a portrait, it could easily become a distraction.  Clothing that does not attract attention to itself is the ultimate goal.  It could be the difference between a very successful portrait and just another picture.  We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to observe the following criteria. It is quite possible that if inappropriate clothing is selected, the photographer may ask you to change your selection before the portrait sitting is made.

Dark Clothing Tends to Slenderize

Darker clothing helps to blend the bodies with the background, so that the faces are the most important part of the photograph.  Dark colors definitely tend to slenderize the subject.  Light colors seem to add weight to the bodies.

The color of the clothing should always be toned down.  Bright colors attract attention away from the face. Colors MUST be dark and not bright.  This is ESSENTIAL!


Prints and any kind of pattern – no matter how small – can become a distraction.

In the case of digital portraits, in particular, small patterns in clothing (even a small herring-bone or checkered pattern) can cause terrible distortions to appear in the portrait that are not originally there.

Avoid Short Sleeve Clothing

Long sleeved clothing is a MUST!  When arms are exposed to the camera there will be more flesh in the photograph in those areas than on the face, itself.  This is a major distraction.

White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket (but not by itself because white tends to pick up reflections of any green grass, bushes and trees) are perfect.  A scarf loosely tied around the neck also helps to frame a face beautifully when a collarless blouse or sweater is worn.  Neckties should definitely be toned-down in color and with a minimum of pattern.

Proper Necklines for a Portrait

The most flattering neckline for anyone is something that comes up close to the neck.  A wide-open neckline tends to thicken the neck in a photograph.  On the other hand, a neckline that comes up to the base of the neck – a turtleneck or a v-neck top is the most flattering.  It tends to slim down the person and frames the face beautifully.

Finally, lay out all the clothing onto a bed. Shoes, socks, stockings (dark hose is mandatory) – everything should be included…shoes, too!  Then, take a careful look at the collection.  If your eye goes to any one item in particular, you can be certain that the same thing will happen in a photograph.  That item should be changed.

Clothing should not be too tight or too loose.  Clothing below the waistline should be darker than above. Otherwise, even light jeans worn below a darker top could easily attract attention to the lower part of the body and away from the face.

Hair Style and Makeup

Hair styles should be SIMPLE and MUST be off the face.  Hair falling down onto the sides of the face creates distracting shadows.  Bangs that come down too low onto the face will keep light from getting into the subject’s eyes – the very most important part of the face.  Eye makeup should be blended – no sharp demarcation lines between colors.  AVOID WHITE above or below the eyes. It does not photograph well at all.  Too much color above and below the eyes attracts attention to itself. It actually takes attention AWAY from the eyes, rather than attracting the viewer to the eyes.  Foundation makeup should be blended at the jawline, so that there is no demarcation between the face and the neck.  Some photographers also recommend that makeup be extended down from the face to the neckline to have a continuous tone on the skin.


Eye glasses may or may not be worn.  Non-reflective lenses, of course, are a big help.  Better yet, sometimes it’s possible to obtain a matching set of frames without any lenses.  This is particularly helpful, if your lenses sometimes distort the outline of your face. Another technique we use is to position your face slightly away from the light source to minimize (but not necessarily totally eliminate) reflections.

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