My goal is for you to have the best session ever, so I feel it’s important to give you the most guidelines I can on how to choose outfits for your session. Ultimately I’m sure that you want to pick the ones that will provide you with the best photographs.
So first you have to decide if you’re doing a LIGHT or DARK session. That will have significant impact on what you choose to bring. So I’ll cover my recommendations by the type of session. First however, I do want to stress that this is not a pinup session. Leave those little “costumes” at home. This is about lingerie, and/or clothing, that make you feel sexy, soft and gorgeous. Not like a “french maid”. My other recommendation is that you leave the sports jerseys at home, but I’ll talk about that shortly.
Let’s begin by showing you a feature I have weekly called “Saturday Dare to Wear”. Each Saturday I show a new combination of lingerie ideas. There is something for literally everyone. I’m hitting over 20 volumes of changes and I know there has to be something in there for you.
What works? Well I’d say the best advice I can give you is that any form of lingerie works as long as you feel comfortable in it.
The options are endless, i.e bra and underwear sets, corsets, bustiers, babydolls, garters, stockings, etc. All of those things can be pieced together to make great combinations that feel sexy. But be careful that you are picking things that you don’t feel awkward or silly in. Example … corsets aren’t for everyone. They are tight and restrictive, and while flattering to just about any body type, can be a bit of “overkill” for some people. Babydolls / cami’s and things of that nature work well on pretty much everyone, but some don’t show a lot of body shaping. The one’s that have the built in bra tops are typically the best and make the breast look well shaped.
I’m not a huge fan of anything that is to “satiny” a fabric. I prefer flatter fabrics, lace and organza, which is softer and prettier, plus doesn’t bounce the light around from here to eternity. I don’t have satin sheets for that reason.
Stockings or Stay-ups? I find if anything is going to confuse a client, it’ll be that question. Stockings are only of use if you have a garter belt or garters attached to an outfit. They will not stay up without them. Stay-ups are exactly that … they have rubber and they stay-up. They are not, however, any good with garters because typically the rubber gets in the way and won’t let it hook properly. So each is useful depending on what sort of outfits you have. The other thing that people worry about is the fact that both can sometimes cut into the leg. Don’t worry about it, that’s what photoshop is for … it’s all good and quite frankly whether it be “Stockings or Stay-ups” both look fabulous, so try to include at least one pair for one outfit choice.
Bra and underwear sets are great, but make sure they match. None matching sets look like you just threw it together. Now sometimes you can combine cute underwear with a slouchy sweater and it looks fantastic, here’s an example:
My biggest word of caution … if you don’t like it on at home, don’t bring it with you. If you’re wearing something you are not comfortable in, the photos will reflect that.
Now let’s talk about props. I like props. Props can be small or large. They can be something that means something to him, or they can simply enhance your image. Some props that I’ve had people bring are guitars, trenchcoats, hats, leather and fur vests, small flowers, their cars (yes believe me they were well worth photographing), and so on. Here are a couple of examples of some great prop shots:
Just don’t bring props that don’t enhance the photo, i.e. his football helmet. Think about how this will work with lingerie.
Jewelery can also be a great addition to your outfit, but again, don’t bring things that won’t enhance the images. I really like earrings, bracelets and rings. Some necklaces work well … here’s a great example of how a necklace can enhance a shot:
WHAT NOT TO BRING
So there are definitely some things that you should leave at home. My typical list includes:
- Boots – it’s very rare that an outfit looks good in them. Those little ankle boots are horrible and make your legs look shorter. They look great with pants … not so great with lingerie.
- Shoes – leave home the “office” pumps and anything with a heel under 3″. Also, typically shoes that have really thick ankle wrap pieces look pretty much like the ankle boots. I likely wouldn’t choose those.
- Necklaces – I’m putting them on the list because most of them I won’t use. You are up, down, laying down, etc. constantly moving. Necklaces typically end up all over the place. So overall I don’t like to use them, but like the above image, they can be used for the odd image to make a really cool photo. So keep them on the “maybe” list.
- SPORTS JERSEYS – oeew vey … can I please shoot myself when I see one come out of your bag. They are absolutely the ugliest garments on the planet and they are NOT SEXY!! I know that you want to make the shoot for him, but I think you in lingerie is more then enough for him … you in a sports shirt that looks like a sack kinda defeats the purpose of the whole shoot.Sorry, I know that’s brutally honest, but I can’t help myself.
So overall there you have my recommendations for the “LIGHT” sessions. There are some fabulous places to shop for lingerie, which I’ve given you in this list. My two personal favourites are the first one’s listed.
These sessions are a completely different cup of tea. They are 100% all about the body. A lot of the lingerie suggestions I made for the “LIGHT” session WILL NOT work for these. So I’m going to approach this differently then I did above. I’m going to tell you what NOT to bring. It’s merely a process of elimination from what you had shown above.
So first and most important, as I mentioned, is that this is about the body, it’s shape and skin texture. I’m sure then when I say that corsets and non-form fitting items, like big bulky sweaters, will not work, you can understand why. Bra and underwear sets work best. I don’t like corsets because typically they have to be tight by nature, which means no movement and leave bad marks on the body from the boning. So those are out.
Also, I prefer NO JEWELERY for these sessions … NADA, NOTHING. Mostly because I don’t want the focus on something you’re wearing on your wrist or neck. You do still need your wedding rings but you can leave the other jewellery at home. Plus they reflect the light around, especially really blingy pieces. Doesn’t work well with the strobe lights I use for this style of imagery.
NO PROPS … props don’t work for these sessions. The prop will not enhance the session and will in a lot of cases cause shadowing. Again it’s about your body.
COLOURS … SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT: Unlike “LIGHT” sessions where you can pretty much get away with any colour combo, for dark sessions you need to stay away from light colours. No whites, pastels, creams or anything of that nature. No super neons like fuschia pink. These colours will become beacons in the night light and totally ruin the entire effect of the shoot.
SO WHAT WORKS: As I mentioned, bra and underwear sets. Snug fitting babydolls and teddies. Bodysuit style garments are fantastic for this style of shoot if you prefer something more covered up. Garters and stockings look awesome. I have this one cool stretchy shirt shown below that’s pattern looks amazing for dark sessions. Worn over a black bra and underwear set looks amazing and it can be pushed to the waist, over the bra, etc. So it makes a good “prop” of sorts as well. As far as colours, stick to dark shades. It doesn’t have to be black. Dark blues, purples and reds work well. Animal prints like leopard, i.e. not black & white like zebra, work well, especially if they are combined with black. Use the same guideline for your shoes as you do for your lingerie. No light colours, all dark. And if all else fails, I like barefoot for dark sessions a lot too.
Here are some examples of what works well for a dark session:
WHITE SHEET SESSIONS
While these sessions are typically designed so that you’re not required to bring lingerie, i.e. nude under the sheets, I am open to you bringing one outfit that we can work into the theme. So when choosing an outfit, think white, cream, light beige. Even if you want to wear underwear throughout the process, again, no dark colours that will show through the sheets. Nude underwear would be best. I’ve attached an example of some images from a recent session below that show both with and without lingerie.
I’ll be honest with any of these sessions, if I don’t like the look of an outfit and/or don’t think it will photograph well, I will be frank with you about that because it’s my goal for you to look amazing in everything you wear.
So there you have it for all of my best suggestions. I hope this helps you when you’re trying to decide what to bring or what you need to shop for. Of course, as always, if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.
Ciao and have fun shopping!