5 Tips for Dressing for Outdoor Portrait Sessions

Virginia Portrait Session Outfit Tips Heather Hughes Photography

With my background as a newspaper photographer, I spent a lot of time photographing outdoors and absolutely LOVE outdoor portrait sessions! Virginia has so much to offer – from beaches to trails, historical landmarks, urban scenes, barns, if you can think of it, I know where we can find it.

But most of us know it takes more than a pretty backdrop to get great outdoor portraits. So once you settle on your location (and I’m always available with suggestions), what’s next? Your outfits!

To take a little stress out of the process for you, here are 5 Tips on how to pick out the best outfits to wear for your next outdoor portrait session!

Portrait Session Tip 1: You can wear more than 1 outfit

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one set of clothes! Besides staying casual and dressy, think about accessories, too. Hats, scarves, the family dog, or props like bubbles, balloons, and sand toys can be a great addition at the park or on the beach. Get creative with it! I love sessions that are about having fun together, not just simply smiling for the camera. The aim is to get adventurous with the photos and really capture what makes you unique!

Portrait Session Tip 2: Don’t try to match each other perfectly

Your photos will look better if you’re not all in white shirts and jeans. Coordinate your outfits and accessories to complement each other instead. And be sure to keep your background in mind too. If you’re going with a neutral scene, like the beach, colors work best. But, if you’re leaning more towards lush gardens with plenty of colorful flowers, then grays, blues and tans always make for a fantastic choice. (I also offer personal color consulting, just ask if interested!)

Session Tip 3: Avoid bold patterns & logos

Solid colors always work better than busy, big, or bold patterns. You also want to avoid logos and super trendy clothes, since logos (and bellbottoms) tend to go out of style after a while. The goal is to take timeless photos that you won’t cringe at when you look at it 10, 20, or 40 years from now. I want you to have photos you’ll enjoy looking back on and that make you smile – without giving yourself a fashion critique!

Session Tip 4: Please don’t wear RED

While you know your style best, and I can make just about anything work, it’s been my experience that it is usually better to avoid a lot of bright red, yellow and green. Red and yellow add a color cast to the skin that can be less than flattering, while green can not only have the same effect but might even make you blend into the background!

Session Tip 5: Be yourself & Relax

With all of that advice being said, make sure you aren’t dressing just to my specifications. You want something that reflects your style, is comfortable, and looks downright amazing! You want your confidence to come across in your images, and I want to capture that happiness and for you to enjoy the experience. It’s going to be a blast, I promise!

Living in Virginia, we have a lot to be thankful for with the scenery we’re given to work with. If you’ve scheduled an outdoor portrait photography session with me, feel free to shoot me an email at if you have any questions about your upcoming session!

If you’re looking to schedule an individual or family portrait session for the oncoming spring season, don’t hesitate to get in CONTACT with me.


Virginia Portrait Session Outfit Tips Heather Hughes PhotographyVirginia Portrait Session Outfit Tips Heather Hughes PhotographyVirginia Portrait Session Outfit Tips Heather Hughes PhotographyVirginia Portrait Session Outfit Tips Heather Hughes Photography

Heather Hughes Photography Studios

733 Thimble Shoals Blvd., Newport News | (757) 870-4006 | 5560 Foundation St., Williamsburg

- by appointment only -


Voted the Knot’s “Best of Wedding Photographers” | WeddingWire’s “Couples Choice” Award 2008 - 2020 | Virginia Living Magazine's "Top Wedding Vendor" 2015- 2020 | VA Small Newspaper Photographer of the Year | Wedding Photojournalist Assoc. Blue Medallion Award