What Colors to Wear for a Portrait

Coordinating colors helps your family look uniform.

Photo: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Along with clothing style, color choice is key to taking a great portrait you'll cherish for years. The stakes are big here, because you could gamble on a look and have a fashion fail and be left with many unimpressive pics of your big day. Safe colors for portraits don't cast a freakish glow on your skin, slim down your figure and pop against a background to show you at your best.


Your best choice of clothing colors to really make a portrait shine incorporate either light hues, such as pastel, or dark bold hues such as black. Colors that are "busy," such as chartreuse or hot pink, will overwhelm the photo, stealing the spotlight from you. Avoid wearing busy patterns or pieces with too many colors, because they can also detract from your style. Also, no logos: What's hot today may be so out tomorrow.

Group Photos

If you're posing for shots with your best buds or your family, coordinate your outfits. This isn't a creepy matchy-matchy thing but solid sense for getting a portrait that looks great. If you're all wearing different hues, the end product can be busy. If you blend colors, you'll look more unified. Wearing the same general color palette for a group photo also draws attention to your faces and makes the group look equal.


To get more visual interest in your photo, try a shirt with a fun collar, neckline or sleeves. Try a patterned sweater with a texture that will shine through the photo. You can also change it up during the photo session, and you should! Taking pictures with several different hues and styles will give you a much better chance of finding a winning look.

What Not to Wear

This is just as important and colors to wear. Stay away from red, yellow and orange tones since they can cast an unflattering glow on your skin. Dark colors will make you look slimmer and pale ones can emphasize roundness, so plan accordingly. Coordinate shoes and accessories with your outfit and keep in mind that pieces you love now could look dated in the future. You don't have to be boring, but choose pieces that flatter you without looking too trendy or being too loud.

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