First things first: you are unique and beautiful!

Many people ask me about styling and clothing advice for their photos. They may know of photographers who dress their clients or even offer wardrobes! I can see that, for some folks, that would be very convenient! But I’ve always adored the eccentricities of people and their unique style. Why mute your awesome and genuine personality by running with the pack?

That said, there are certainly tips and tricks that help everyone look their best. It’s not so much about WHAT you wear (as an individual or a group) but how that look compliments your surroundings or the other folks you’re with! For that reason, my guide here will be quite simple and give a few examples that should help you pull your unique, one-of-a-kind look off without a hitch!

Here to help me are my amazing and stylish clients! Let’s take a look at some home-runs and learn from them! 


Mix prints and solids

When it comes to couple’s portraits or family groups, I would recommend that you somewhat limit or carefully mix prints/florals/stripes. A good rule of thumb is to blend them with solids, and keep the busier prints for only one person or with a family group, 1-2 individuals at most.

Find that great accent color and run with it…

My client Amie, who gets fall family photos each year, told me she was working her family’s outfits around navy and mustard. They did a great job of blending together so nicely, and accented with some prints as well! Way to go, y’all!

Let your mood speak during your portrait session

Chanda and Dan killed it with the intense and vibrant colors during their anniversary portrait session–it spoke of passion and energy! They chose small accents that complimented each other (notice Dan’s tie to Chanda’s dress) and fabrics like lace always suggest romance to me! Don’t forget that if you’ve purchased a deluxe portrait session with me, there is always time for wardrobe changes so that you can have the best of both worlds and change it up a bit!


Throw in a pop of color with an adorable munchkin

Is there any cuter accessory? =) But in all seriousness, kids’ clothes are so fun! As moms we know how dangerous wandering in to, say, Target is, right? And there are always adorable prints and bold colors! If you’d like to let your sweetie take the style reigns, try working your outfits around them in neutral or dark colors.

Meaningful and fun clothing artifacts make for great pictures–and stories!

When Hannah told me that she wanted to bring in her grandmother’s vintage fur coat for sentimental and style reasons, I was all in. She did an awesome job of balancing the warmth and neutrality of the fur with a dress that she felt comfortable and beautiful in, with matching warmth in gold accessories.

Casual and fun is awesome!

Chelsea and Troy had no trouble keeping up with their adorable Rocky pup in their casual weekend outfits this fall. Again, nailing it with one brighter print + one solid!

Keeping things neutral and soft during infant lifestyle is a good idea

It’s a great time to be relaxed, comfortable, and neutral. Infant portraits should allow the main focus to be the new babe, and a palette that is soft and complimentary. Not only will it draw the eye to the main attraction, it will also help to keep the little one from being overwhelmed during the portrait session.

BE YOURSELF! (Because it bears repeating!)

I know it’s very tempting to buy a new dress, get a new haircut, or go rogue for your portrait session. However, I promise that your favorite dress won’t bore anyone. =) In fact, you’ll feel comfortable and confidant if you’ve already done a “test run” or two in your planned outfits!

Comfort is important

You’ll definitely want to choose items that you can move comfortably in! For maternity sessions, stretchy fitting items, as well as flowing or sheer garments that allow the baby belly to shine through, are awesome.


Clean and Wrinkle-Free

A small stain or bit of dirt isn’t hard to remove from photos, but wrinkles are extremely difficult. Another tough culprit is white fuzz on black or dry skin/dandruff on black. You also might be surprised at the amount of time that it can take to clean up a boogie nose in Photoshop! Haha! Keeping little faces clean and clothes wrinkle-free are probably two of the most important things you can do for your family on photo day.

Dress for the season

Layers are so smart! We can always remove them during our session for different “looks.” However, dressing seasonally appropriate looks awesome and keeps you comfortable, which can definitely shine through in photos. It’s difficult to look comfortable when you’re cold! It’s much easier to do when it’s only for a few moments at a time, and you’ve got layers to put back on afterward.

Accent curves with snug fits, etc.

Chantal here, and I’m a plus-size woman! For other folks out there who are of a similar body type and would like to feel flattered by their wardrobe, I’d like to offer the following tips I’ve found to be true! That’s my maternity photo above, and it was a self-conscious time for me. I’ll be honest–I get nervous about getting my own photo taken, so please rest assured that I’m going to take excellent care of you if you feel the same way. =) Snug-fitting pants and jackets are generally more flattering to your body if you are looking to minimize a bit. Loose items can often add bulk unless paired with something snug, but mixing items of different lengths together can work well (extra long, snug tee with skinny jeans, paired with a fitted jacket, for example.) I have found that simple tank dresses and maxi dresses/skirts really flatter me, and because my waist is a little smaller, I always grab an opportunity to highlight that part of my figure with a belt, or a dress that gathers there! Don’t be afraid to flaunt your favorite attributes. Also, please know that I’d love for you to communicate any fears or concerns you have with me–we’re working to create perfect memories for you, and I want you to feel your very best!

The Best, Sneakiest Tactic for Last!

One of my favorite ways to put together color schemes is using paint swatches as an inspiration point. You can do this easily without ever stepping foot in Home Depot by simply searching “palette” in an online search. For example, if you’re taking fall photos, try “autumn palette” or “fall palette.” Conversely, if you’re looking to build a theme around the amazing fall dress you bought, Google “mustard palette” and let that guide you as you select additional prints and colors!


  • If you’re at a loss, classic is always great! Just remember that “matching” a little too much may look contrived and unnatural.
  • Bring extras, layers, different shoes, etc. Especially if you’re worried about that sexy pair of heels becoming a torture device!
  • Mix and match textures, prints, fabrics.
  • Bring fun accessories! We can always play around and see what works.
  • Family Film Clients: Please avoid fine stripes. It tends to look very strange on video because the actual pixels of your stripe pattern will cause a phenomenon called “moire” that messes with the eyes a bit!

Please don’t forget that I’m here to chat with you about your wardrobe and styling ideas! You can feel free to email or text your photos/thoughts to me at:

(231) 203-3360

I’ll offer you immediate feedback and advice. Together, we’ll make sure that you feel beautiful and confident in your portrait session at Chantal Elise Photography!

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