How to Snap the Perfect Outfit Photo

January 28, 2015

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Morning Gals! Today I am switching things up a bit and sharing some of my tips for taking outfit photos. I receive so many emails and comments asking questions about how I take my pictures. Hopefully you can gain a little insight with the 9 things that I think are most important for the perfect outfit photo!
location
Location

Location, location, location! You've heard that saying a thousand times. Here's the simple truth... you can make most any location beautiful, as long as you look at it with a creative and fresh perspective. Sometimes this means looking past what the area looks like in it's entirety, and simply honing in on that one little spot that will fill your camera frame. The above shot was taken on an empty, litter filled plot of land behind a rite aid. But all I needed was to look past the ugly and see what could be utilized in the final image. Step to the right one time, the background would have been filled with junk. But taking the time to find just the right angle resulted in a really interesting shoot location!
perspective
Perspective

Never limit yourself to having your photographer take pictures straight on- standing up. One of the greatest things you can do as a photographer is to experiment with new angles and perspectives. I can't tell you how many weddings and portrait shoots I've shot, where  I've ended up laying in the dirt, or bending over backwards, (literally) for the perfect shot. Now if you are the photo subject- talk to your photographer about new ideas for perspectives. It's fun to switch things up, and it will add a ton of interest to your photographs!
settings
Settings

If you own a dslr camera, I cannot urge you enough to shoot in manual! This is one of those things that will completely revolutionize the way you take pictures. I suggest picking up a book to get started- funny though it may sound, DSLR Photography for Dummies was a huge help to me back in the day. Once you start playing around with the manual settings and become comfortable using them, a whole new world will open up to you. This is how perfect lighting, sharpness and soft bokeh backgrounds are achieved.
outfit2
Movement

Never be afraid to move in your outfit pictures! Some of the most interesting shots are taken when the subject is moving. Play with the clothing- spin, jump- sometimes the wind can even help add interest, as it did the the two shots above!
emotion
Emotion

One of the best achievements as a photographer is capturing true emotion. There's nothing better than getting done with a shoot and finding some real, genuine candid shots. If you are the person in front of the camera, try interacting with your photographer. I find that I have no trouble getting a good laughing shot after a banter with my sister or mom (whichever lovely lady happens to be taking my picture that day ;).
outfit1
Details

Detail shots are like the meat and potatoes of an outfit post. Without them, you are left with a set of pictures that are really just lacking. Pay attention to what is interesting about your outfit- is it a button on the sleeve of a coat? Maybe an accessory? These shots will help capture the feel of the outfit, sometimes in a way that's even better than seeing it in person!
props
Props

Ahh, the wonderful world of props! Let's be real here. Sometimes you shoot pictures and there's really just nothing for your subject to do- especially at more simple locations. Props are a great way to add visual interest to a shoot, and keep your subject pre-occupied. It's also another great trick for capturing candid shots.
outfit3
Golden Hour

I can't stress this one enough- decent lighting is key for a good outfit photo! If possible, try to shoot either early in the morning, or in the afternoon when the sun is setting. The reason being is that shooting mid-day will often times result in nasty, overhead lighting. Unless you are going for a very stylized, bright sunlight look, avoid this as much as possible. Here's a trick I use a lot- hold up your hand- wherever the sun shines on your hand, face the subject's back towards. This creates that ethereal back lighting. If you are stuck shooting in mid day light, opt for shady locations.
story2
Tell a Story

Finally, try and always tell a story with your photographs. It's great to see a nice outfit and good photos, but if you can tell a story with your images, then you're really doing something right. The theme story can be something extremely subtle- or it can be more obvious. It depends on the feel you are going for. For example, the pictures above are from an outfit post I did last year. The goal was to simply capture a 1920s Parisian type feel. A lot of this "story" was determined by the style of the location. Sometimes it happens that your location will really help you to tell a story. Go with it! Or if you want to illustrate a stronger story, inspire yourself with a theme- a fairy tale, a movie- maybe even something from pop culture!

A Few Frequently Asked Questions

What camera do you use? I use a Canon Rebel T3i (different than a T3), with a Canon 50 mm 1.4 lens. These two are a power duo- I love them both and could not recommend them anymore strongly!

Are you a professional photographer? Yes! I have been shooting weddings, fashion and portraits for over four years at a photography business I started in 2011, Simplicity Photography.

Who takes your pictures for your outfit posts? My wonderful sister, mom, and sometimes my friend Jenna snap outfit pictures for me. I have tried the whole tripod kaboodle back in the day, and let me tell you- not fun! It's enormously helpful to have an actual person behind the camera!
Claire Petersen said...

Such a helpful post, thanks so much for sharing! The one thing I would add is to shoot in RAW, because it really saves the day if you've made any lighting mistakes when using manual mode. Anyway, there's some amazing photos here, so inspiring! :)

Claire // Technicolour Dreamer // Bloglovin'

Ma Cherie D said...

Really nice post. My hubby is professional photographer ad mine photographer and about my photos we always discuss together.
I really love your photos, always nice story, good location and you are so beautiful <3

CiCi said...

Your photos are always stunning - and these are some great tips! I never really think about creating a story out of mine, but you're right that it makes them more interesting if you do.

We have almost an identical camera set up (I have the regular T3 though)... I have real problems getting that lens to focus on full-length body shots though. Don't suppose you have any tips? I feel like I've tried everything! CC x

The Boyer Family Singers said...

Thanks so much for these tips Alexandra! I will certainly have to keep these in mind in the future.

Brigid
the Middle Sister and Singer

Damaris // The cat, you and us said...

Perfect tips! I really like the "Tell a Story" one the most, I think this is what when I am looking at an outfit session makes a huge difference for me :) Moving around while taking pictures is a really good one, also makes facial expressions look more natural since you're not so focused in the camera but on the movement. Thanks! Will keep them all in mind!

Damaris | The cat, you and us

Jenna Condon said...

Loved this post! Very helpful Alex. Plus enjoyed the switch up on posts this morning :)

Ashley Faith said...

This is seriously great. So helpful! Thank you so much!

Peyton Taylor said...

So useful!

Xo
Peyton
perfectlytayloredblog.com

Madison McQuary said...

YAY!! Such great advice!!!
-Madison
www.1minniemuse.blogspot.com

Korallia CorallBlogs said...

One of the best posts I've read on this topic! Great tips! Gonna try them out in my next outfit post! I am also considering buying a camera to up my blogging game! Following you on both gfc and bloglovin, hope you stop by my blog as well and follow, I'd be honored!

x Korallia
CorallBlogs

Paige said...

Thanks for the superb tips Alexandra; I will have to keep them in mind for future blog shoots! :)

Bivisyani Questibrilia said...

Oh, what a great post, Alexandra! Incredible tips and I'd be sure to check each of these points next time I take an outfit picture ;)

Also, I also use that camera and it's SUPER HANDY! I love how you can make the picture appear on the adjustable monitor. It's so much easier for self-timer uses! (which is how it usually happens for me)

Alive as Always

Frances said...

Ooo, what a helpful post! You always have exquisite photos... and I admit, when I was trying to get my fiance to improve his photo skills, I showed him some of your pictures as inspiration! Half the time I shoot with the remote, but the other half I use a real person.... so I'll be sure to share this post with my photo helper!

Sophie Athawes said...

This is a great guide! I'm still new to blogging and I've found that since I've been working harder on imagery, the more popular my blog has become! You have some gorgeous photos, beautiful outfits xx

Sophie Elizabeth
www.popcornandglitter.com

Jamie Rose D. said...

I use the same camera and lens to take my pictures. I wish I had someone who could really utilize my camera to take pictures for me but I take mine myself with a tripod and remote (which is why my locations don't vary much!) I always love your wonderfully backlit photos and detail shots. I'm a big fan of including detail shots in my posts too!

Anyway, there are tons of great tips in this post!

Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

Sophia said...

These are great tips! I'll be pinning to remember. I'm a new follower and I LOVE your blog. :)
Sophia
someplaceinthemidst.blogspot.com

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