Six Fall and Winter Portrait Styling Tips

So you have booked a portrait session or maybe an engagement session to get those frame worthy images of your significant other, or your family! Yay! Now comes the next question… what do you wear? What you wear for your photo session makes a HUGE difference with how your photos come out, so I’m sharing my favorite portrait styling tips and tricks to photograph your best so these images turn out just how you imagined them!

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  1. Instead of matching, coordinate!

My first of the portrait styling tips is probably the most important! What is the big difference between matching and coordinating anyway? Matching, for example, would be if everyone in the family wears a white shirt and jeans (or everyone has on the same color tops and bottoms). However, coordinating would be Mom wearing a light orange flowy dress with a tan cardigan, Dad wearing dark pants with an neutral colored collared shirt, and their sun wearing a light orange bow tie with a plain white collared shirt and tan pants.

The difference between these two options is that in one photo, people will notice that you are all wearing matching outfits, and in the other photo, people will notice YOU and how cute your family looks. Since the outfits compliment each other without matching, it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye without being distracting, and helps create those frame-worthy images!

To break it down and make it easier to coordinate, I recommend thinking about having a dominant color and a secondary color in your outfits, and just to make sure that no one has the same dominant color! 🙂

Here are some more examples from that encompass mostly neutral and coordinated family outfits!

2. Go classic and neutral with styles and color!

Neutral colors palettes and muted tones are classic, and help make your photos timeless. You want to look back and love these photos for years to come! Neon colors tend to take the focus away on what it should be– you! During fall, warm neutrals like camel, taupe, cream, champagne, and gray are going to look great. Neutral palettes for fall and winter include taupe, cream, champagne and gray. If you want to have some color, I recommend selecting muted tones over primary colors: mustard yellow, burgundy, sage green, or navy. These colors work great for Christmas photos as well!

3. For women: when in doubt, dress it up!

As far as portrait styling tips go, if you were hesitant to dress it up before, this is me giving your permission! Have you been eyeing that gorgeous dress or skirt but haven’t had a reason to wear it? This is your perfect reason! And even if you don’t want to splurge on the outfit, you can use something like Rent the Runway. When it comes to portraits, you really don’t have to worry about being too dressed up. The camera photographs women best in dresses or long skirts as dresses tend to compliment all the right areas and that hourglass shape! Heels also tend to elongate the legs! I love to recommend long and flowy dresses and heels for this reason. If you feel like a dress isn’t your style, then wear something that feels true to you! Que my fourth tip….

engagement portraits in old town alexandria with cobblestone streets

4. Choose items that accentuate your features and are true to you!

Portraits are supposed to be FUN! Don’t spend your session stressing or feeling self conscious about your body. Instead, plan your outfit so it is true to you and compliments the features you love about yourself! For example, if you are self-conscious about your arms in photos, wear sleeves and don’t think about it another wink during your session. 🙂

5. For men: collared button downs are the way to go.

Men have it a little easier in that nearly any combination of a button down collared shirt with plain fabric and tan or dark khaki pants photograph beautifully. When picking those out, fit matters most! Just like how heels elongate womens’ legs, pants that are too long and bunch up at the bottom can make men’s legs look shorter than they actually are.

6. Prepare your little ones

If this is an engagement session, then perhaps this is something to think about in the future. If this is a family session for you, then there are a few things you can do to prep your little ones! If they are old enough to understand, then explain to them that you are getting family photos and how much these mean to you. Make sure naps and meals have occurred beforehand so they aren’t hungry or tired. It also helps to have a reward set up for after the photos like ice cream or a nice treat! If you have toddlers, you can even bring a candy like Smarties to bribe them during the session if you are truly concerned. I know bribery is typically frowned upon, but these photos are important, right? 😉

If you’ve made it to the end, thank you so much for reading this post and I hope you find these tips helpful! Comment below and let me know if you used any of these at your session! If you are one of my clients and unsure about the outfit you have picked, I am always on board with helping you out and just an e-mail away. 🙂

All my best,


Helpful Tips

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October 2, 2020



  1. Suzanne Campbell says:

    Love these tips. As our Christmas mini gets closer I have been planning for our outfits. Definitely like the children tips as well. We have a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. So bribery it is lol 😂

    • Brigitte Kleiber says:

      I’m so glad you have found these fall/winter styling tips to be helpful, Suzanne! 🙂 I can’t wait to meet you during your Christmas mini!

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