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How to coordinate your outfit colors and material for a photo session

Whether it is  for an engagement session, a family, or a solo session, your outfit plays a significant role in the final result. That’s why it is important to coordinate different clothes, their colors, and their style.
I consider the goal of a good dressing is not (only) to amaze your friends with your sophisticated taste, but to drive the viewer’s attention on your face, not on your clothes, nor on the background.

If you are not a fashion stylist (neither am I), and if you need to think twice before finding the perfect matching between clothes, then this article should help you.

To make it clear, we won’t speak here about the choice of your clothes regarding your shape, which is another article. In this article, we will talk about colors, and conclude that it’s all about a good contrast and a good balance.

—Spoiler alert, if you have only 10 seconds: RED and BLUE, are two colors you can use for your outfit, mix together with BEIGE, and that would work all the time.—

To compose your outfit you can work on three parameters :

  •  The color of your clothes: bright vs. dark tones, and saturated vs. unsaturated colors. That’s the most important part!
  •  The natural strength and impact of each clothes given by its material, the pattern, and the texture. We will see how to choose them.
  •  Style: casual, dressed up, romantic, sportswear, etc. You should be aware of your style and both sharing, more or less the same style.

For this purpose, we will start with some theory. I will present a wonderful tool that is the color wheel.
With that, you should understand how the choice of an outfit can make you look taller, stronger, slimmer, or bigger. But that’s not all, with the color balance, you should understand how to make sure to be immediately noticed when you enter a room, or ignore you if you prefer.

Reader warning:
Before diving into the subject, I would be honest, I don’t have THE truth, and there is probably not one and unique truth.
What is explained below is theoretical, and, as often in artistic fields, the opposite can (sometimes) also work pretty well! I don’t offer you the truth, just some simple rules.
What’s more, there is not one perfect solution for everyone. Those rules must be applied regarding your physic: what color is your skin, your eyes, your hair, and how tall, short, slim are you?

Table of Contents

I/ The 3 characteristics that define a color: Hue, Tone and Saturation

Given we will speak about colors, let’s start with a quick reminder of the 3 qualities that are used to name the colors, the hue, the tone, and the saturation.


When you diffract daylight (using a prism for instance), you have all the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and violet.
Now, let’s curve this rainbow to make a circle. Each color is located in a different position on this circle, at different angles (from 0 to 360°). Hue is precisely the measurement of the angle between each color.


Each color has a tone. Tone is the variation of luminosity, from black to white. Dark tones of color are named shades, while bright tones are named tints. For instance, brown is included in the shades of red, while the pink is included in the tints of red.


Each color can be more or less saturated. Saturation is the variation of the color intensity, from the thoroughly full color to gray.

NB: white and black (and all the grays) are officially not considered as colors (even if your closet might be full of them).

II/The color wheel theory and Which colors work together

Historically, the color wheel was used by painters in order to choose the right color combination. It has been theorized by Isaac Newton in 1666. It’s a wheel that represents each plain color of the rainbow (hue). The purpose of Isaac Newton was to create a tool for a painter, so we can forgive him this disparity.

On the color wheel, colors are disposed so if you draw an equilateral triangle in the middle, turn it, and the three colors situated at each triangle’s corner will match perfectly together (the triad colors). For our dressing purpose, we don’t need more than 3 colors!

The complementary colors

We say that two colors are complementary when they face each other on the hue. Some people also call them the opposite colors. Their association creates the biggest color contrast possible, emphasizing the power of each color. The association is so vibrant that it’s not recommended. It’s very used in painting, TV and decoration. However, for clothes it doesn’t work well. Using the complementary color for a small touch might be a good option (or with very muted tones such as pastel and dark tones).

Examples of complementary colors: Red and Green, Yellow and Purple, Blue and Orange, etc.

The Primary colors

The 3 Primary colors are true-yellow, true-red, and true-blue. They are named « Primary colors» because they require pure pigment, and can’t be produced by mixing other colors. Those colors are the one with the higher impact, especially when used as plain color. They would stand out in every background, and thus you can find them in many logos, flags, sport team colors.
In other words, red, blue and yellow are the colors to wear if you want to be sure to be noticed! Wearing all plain primary colors together is not recommended.
That being said, muted primary colors (pastel and dark tones), can work together for an outfit when well balanced.

The Secondary colors

The 3 Secondary colors are green, orange, and purple. They are called secondary, because they are made by mixing primary colors. They are less impacting than primary colors, but still very attractive for the human eye.
These three colors also match well together and are often used.

The Tertiary colors

The 6 tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary or a secondary color with another secondary color. For instance, yellow-green, orange-red, etc. They are less impactful than the secondary colors, but of course they match together. They are also often used as complementary colors to a primary or secondary color.

List of the tertiary colors

  1. red-orange = true red + true orange
  2. yellow-orange = true orange + true yellow
  3. red-purple = true read + true purple
  4. purple-blue = true blue + true purple
  5. green-blue = true green + true blue
  6. yellow-green = true yellow + true green.

Of course, this is a simplified list. There are actually infinite possibilities of color variations between these colors! If you want to have fun check a list of all colors and their names.

The Triads Colors

They are colors that are equidistant from one-another on the color wheel. We usually use a triangle to designate the colors that work together. That includes the primary colors, the secondary, and the tertiary colors.

Analogous Colors

They are also called sister colors, which are adjacent colors in the color wheel.


Neutral: White, black, and « other » neutral colors

White, black and all the gray tones in between compose what we call the neutral colors, even if they are not considered as “real colors”. They are your best friends, and can be added to any outfit.

For clothing, some other muted colors are usually referred as neutral colors, such as :

  • beige and all tones that are pretty close to human skin tone (avoid using your exact skin tone, or it would look weird)
  • brown (earth) tones and burgundy that are used instead of black
  • dark blue (navy) are used instead of black
  • dark green (khaki) are used instead of black
  • gray blue (blue jeans) can be used instead of plain dark gray
  • light blue (light blue jeans) can be used instead of plain bright gray

Neutral colors can usually match almost any other color. So, you can use them for all your outfits, they are your best friends, and your closet should be full of these colors!

Conclusion on the color wheel theory

Red or Blue are always a good choice.
Red and blue are two primary colors that contrast with the background. What’s more they also contrast with the skin tone, but not too much. They can be mixed together, in almost all tones and saturation degrees. What’s more, they are pretty common colors and easy to buy. As a consequence, they are two easy colors to work with, either by mixing them, or by using a monochrome outfit. You can combine them with neutral colors, or use the Camaïeu technique.


Now that you know how color theory works, you should be able to be a good painter and to choose your outfit.
Except that, as we will see it later, it is not so simple!

III/ How our brain works (light and survival behavior)

Keep in mind that we don’t only want to coordinate the colors, we want to drive the attention to your face. So let’s see how our brain tricks us.
As you know, before humans could drink French wine, listen to Debussy while enjoying a Claude Monet piece of art, they were just ordinary wild beasts desperately fighting for their own lives into a wild world.
Through evolution, animal brains have developed some mechanisms that increase our survival chances, by generating pure reflexes and influencing our behavior (making us addicted to dopamine). A reflex is an uncontrollable and unconscious behavior facing a stimulus. The reflex that we are interested in is how we will focus our attention depending on an object’s contrast, or shape that looks like an animal’s face, and finally depending on the color.

– Tone contrast is what human brain gives more importance to

The first thing a human brain does when looking at an image is to appreciate the tones and contrasts, paying much more attention to the contrasted elements. In other words, strong black and white contrasts immediately attract our attention. Thus contrast is more important than color.
Let me give you a couple of obvious example:
A little dark rabbit standing on the top of a white snow field (means food for the predator), or a black eagle in the blue sky (means danger).

– Brighter tones attract more attention than the darker ones

Given that our natural environment (rock, three, lawn) is closer to dark shades than bright tints (except in the north pole), our brain focuses first on brighter tones. Therefore, bright tints are more attractive than darker shades.
This means that using bright tones allows you to attract the viewer’s attention where you want, distracting him from the part you want to hide, which would be in darker tones.

– A vivid color attracts much more attention than an unsaturated color

Have you noticed that thanks to evolution, fruits are colored to attract animals’ attention? So are some sexual parts, and so are some poisons. Our brain gives a lot of attention to vivid colors.
Today, child’s toys manufacturers take advantage of that, and sell us toys with plain colors.
That’s also the reason why women love plain red lipstick: to focus the viewer’s eye on their lips!

Advice how to use Contrast Consequences:

– Take in consideration your skin color! Indeed, the first element to take in consideration is you! You might be presenting a high contrast (bright skin, with dark hair), a medium contrast (tan skin, with blond hair), or a low contrast (white skin white-blond hair, black skin with black hair). Check at the end of this article what is the kind of contrast you are presenting, and colors to exploit.
– If your couple presents a high contrast between each of you (one very bright skin, and one very dark), then choose medium tones for your clothes.
– Take in consideration the background (white snow, green vegetation, beach with bright sand and blue sky). You want your outfit to pop up out of the background just enough so viewers look at you, but maybe not too much, so viewers don’t pay attention only to your clothes.
– Try to stay on the same tone as your partner and family members. No one should contrast too much.
– Avoid logos and patterns; that would attract too much attention.
– Avoid monochrome outfit (if you want to wear a unique monochromatic clothing—such as a long dress—then use props and create some contrast)

Brighter tone consequence:

– Avoid true black, and prefer bright tones, especially for the tops.
– Choose a brighter color for your top than for your lower part. It will drive the attention towards your face. That’s the same reason why women wear earrings, neckless, props on their hair, and mascara to enhance their eyes.
– Avoid clothes that attract too much attention, such as shiny glitter, mirrors, diamonds.
– If you have several layers, choose a brighter one for the interior layer, and progressively go darker for the superior layers. For instance, white tee-shirt, light gray cardigan, and dark gray jacket.
– You can hide some parts. If you have a plum silhouette, you might not put a white cloth on your belly, cover it with a dark jacket.
– You can use contrast to create a visual tension, and make something look taller than it is (for instance, hair and shoes of the same color as contrasting with the other elements would make you look taller).

Vivid color consequences:

– In general, avoid using too many vivid colors and fluorescent colors, they would be more visible than your face. In other words, saturated colors are not always your best friends.
– If you love plain colors, then pick only one, and choose the others in muted tones, or pastel tones.
– You must choose no more than 3 colors (see the rule of three colors below), unless you want to look like a clown.
– Pay attention to the disparity of saturation between each element.
– If you have kids, they might wear just a slightly more saturated color than parents to attract more attention.
– If you want to attract attention to your eyes, avoid the immediate proximity with the same or brighter tone clothes. In other words, if you have blue eyes and want the viewer to see them, avoid wearing  a plain cyan top. Instead, opt for a slightly darker and less saturated blue color.
– For pictures, avoid wearing black, but prefer a dark tone of color instead.

Other implications: Balance and tension

Contrast is not only attracting attention but also generating tension. Contrast and tension are techniques to direct the attention where we want.
Painters such as Miro, or traditional Japanese architects have perfectly understood that in their pieces of art by creating some never-ending lines, playing with space and points.
Explaining the theory of tension would take way too long. But, of course, it’s part of our unconsciousness when we are selecting clothes.

Tips: how to create tension to make you look taller.

  1. Select shoes (for a 2-point contrast), and the belt (for a 3-point contrast), that are the same color as your face, or your hair (or your hat).
  2. Pick a contrasting color, and use it for the top and the lower part.
    You now have 3 points of tension (hair, belt and shoes), contrasting with your outfit.

Conclusion regarding the way our attention is tricked:

We have learned that tone contrast attracts more attention than color contrast, and that bright tints are more attractive than dark shades.
In other words, choosing the right tone contrast between your clothes is more important than choosing the right hue.


IV / How to Choose the right colors and properly coordinate them

What about the color? Actually, there is no brain and scientific explanation for that. It’s more a cultural heritage that we learn through our education.

Following the color theory, you should have already understood that almost all colors can theoretically work together, if you choose the right tone and the right saturation level. It’s all about balance!

You are the first, and the most important element of the equation

Your skin’s and hair’s colors  are two parameters that are imposed from birth, you must deal with them. Thus select colors that work with your skin and hair, warm and cold tones. (Check at the example at the end of this article.)

Start to Compose your outfit with the clothes you like

Instead of looking for all the possible combinations, the easiest way to start is choosing the colored piece you love so much, and then to select among your clothes what could possibly work with.

One or two colors are already great, three is the limit

Choosing one dominant color and using neutral tones is already great. Colors bring more energy.
A two-color outfit (one dominating the other one), and using a neutral tone is an elaborated outfit! Managing to create a two-color outfit is already a great achievement, and it’s not easy.
An outfit with three colors is much more complicated to create because it requires a large choice of colored clothes (especially for group pictures). Therefore, unless you have a lot of time to plan your session and are ready to do a lot of shopping, you may want to stay with one or two colors.

Vivid Colors VS. Neutral Colors

Most people love vivid colors that bring more energy to an ensemble. That’s true! However, too many vivid colors can also be complicated to wear. Indeed, while high fashion uses a lot of vivid colors, in real life, most people don’t.
Actually, using neutral colors with bright tones of blue and beige is already a colored outfit. Of course, if you dress only in gray tones, and you have your pictures taken with a colored background, then by contrast, you might look dull.

The secret: Touch of colors and echo

Most of the time, a simple touch of color in a prop is enough. This is especially useful for large group photos!
See below the list of elements to add a touch of color in an outfit.

V/ Seven techniques from the color theory to coordinate your clothes

Using the color wheel and color theory, these are 7 techniques that can help you.

Monochrome look (1 color)

It works well for a photo shoot with a single person, and it’s easier to compose.
You can pick only one color, for your outfit, and add some touch of neutral colors. Of course pick the color, and its shade regarding your hair, your skin tone, and your eyes. Usually primary colors work pretty well. For instance, if you are blond (yellow), a long red dress, with black shoes would work fine.

Camaïeu looks (1 color, several tones and saturation)

Camaïeu is a technique that uses only one hue (for instance blue color), but with several tone variations (example: light blue, dark blue, etc.).
It allows you to have different shades of the same color to compose your outfit. Again, play with saturation! You can have bright pastel blue, with a dark blue, and an unsaturated blue.
It’s an elegant and easy technique, especially if you have a favorite color in your wardrobe.

Analogous colors adjacent color(s), dark tones and Pastels (2 to 3 colors)

It is pretty much the same idea as the Camaïeu, except that you also play with the shades and saturation of the adjacent colors.
For instance, if you choose blue as your primary color, then you can play with all variations of green-blue (such as turquoise), or blue-purple, or all variations of three colors.
You don’t have to select one dominant color. Instead, they can all be equal,  and you can play with saturated and muted colors.

Pastel colors and Dark muted shades (2 to 3 colors)

This look belongs to the previous category (analogous colors), but the colors work so well, that I wanted to give them more attention.
A great and elegant idea is to compose your ensemble using either dark muted tones, or bright unsaturated tones (Pastel).
For instance
For dark tones: dark red (burgundy), with dark orange (bronze), and dark yellow (mustard).
For Pastel: Bright unsaturated blue (light steel blue), with bright unsaturated cyan (pale turquoise), with bright unsaturated green (jade).
Actually, for each of these color categories, you can almost pick any combination and it would work. That’s why there are so many dark and pastel tones in decorations.

Complementary (2 to 3 colors)

This is a very contrasted style that strongly catches the attention. Therefore, one should pay attention to not have a flashy look!
The primary color is usually stronger than the secondary, when you compare them at the same tone level and same saturation level. That’s why the primary should usually be preferred for the tops. For instance, a red top, and green pants.
Adding neutral colors is, of course, a great idea. They would allow you to reduce and soften a high contrast.

The Triad colors (2 to 3 colors)

Pick one color, and the wheel will give you the two additional colors to use.
This is a very colored outfit (Superman and Wonder Woman costumes are designed with triad colors). Nevertheless, the triad colors work great together without being flashy like the complementary colors.
So, although many flashy colors sound like life and happiness, in photography we want your clothes to gently attract the attention, but not to distract the viewer’s eye from your face!
For this purpose, pick only one true saturated color that dominates, and some less saturated ones to play with.

The Split Complementary colors (2 to 3 colors)

Pick one color and then pick the adjacent colors of the complementary one, which are called split complementary colors. Use your main color as the dominant one, and add a touch of the split complementary ones.
For instance, if you pick red, the complementary would be green, so the split complementary would be yellow-green or green-blue.
Pay attention not to end with a too flashy look.


The limit of the color theory in real life

Let’s be honest, even if all the harmony theories mentioned above are great, and even if the color wheel is a helpful tool, we must admit that it’s complicated to always apply these rules to your wardrobe.
Indeed, if you wanted to apply the color wheel as explained, then, you would have to wear a lot of vivid colors! Thus the color associations would look like this:

(pdf avec le tableau de couleur saturée)

Unless you are a fashion model (that can easily wear any plain colors and love to be noticed), or a loony, I bet that you don’t have a lot of plain colored clothes! Actually, in our modern society, people’s dressings are mostly full of neutral colors, dark colors, muted tones, and pastel colors.
As a result, the color wheel is a great tool, but its application must be made with muted colors. For this reason, I have decided to skip the unrealistic plain saturated colors, and instead present you some muted variations that reflect more our actual world.
Furthermore, for one chosen color (of twelve available), the color theory offers up to 7 other colors to associate with!
That’s why the color wheel is a very good tool to help you match colors, especially for decoration, design and painting. For clothes, it would help you not choose the wrong color, but it may be overwhelming.
Also, after this digression, let’s go back to your photo-session preparation. These are some examples of pairings that work well together.

VI/ Example of color association in real life:

red top – blue jean
red top, brown bottom

à faire

VII / Pattern, stripes, dots, design, face, human, animal, etc.

They usually contain more contrast than plain color clothes. Therefore, they attract more attention. There is no strict rule you should use. Again, the secret is in the contrast and the color balance.
The only rule to keep in mind is that you should make sure your clothes don’t distract the attention from your face.


Some patterns can actually look like plain color (in terms of contrast). The secret to not selecting a destructive pattern is to choose the pattern small and repetitive.

Flannel Plaid

The typical example is the flannel shirt with tartan pattern, the contrast of which varies depending on the size of the bands and the colors composing it (big bands generate more contrast and thus attract more attention). As a consequence, some tartan shirts would work great in photography, while some others will distract the attention and are too prominent compared to the people wearing them.
Avoid patterns with a lot of colors, you don’t want to look like a rainbow.


Printed flowers can work, or not. All is about shape, colors and contrast. Some would greatly work, others won’t.

Pattern that you should avoid

  • African print wax
  • Madras
  • Military
  • Pattern that mimic animals (cow, leopard, zebra)
  • Pattern with many different designs (Desigual style)
  • Pattern with spaced elements



There is a common idea that vertical stripes would make you look larger, and horizontal would make you look shorter. That’s partially true, and so is the opposite.

It’s all about the contrast and the rhythm that those lines generate. Also you don’t systematically ban stripes! For instance, a succession of large horizontal black bands, with thin white bands, may create the illusion that something is taller than it actually is.

You can also play with layers to create a slim silhouette.

Dots, Faces, Humans, Animals, Drawings, Pictures, Characters etc.

Another particularity of humans is its capacity to quickly recognize everything that looks like a face or an animal. That’s why, I would recommend avoiding printed faces, animals and characters.


Text can quickly take a lot of importance if we can read and understand a written message. Thus I would avoid any message that could be read.

VIII/ Material and texture

Why choosing a high-quality material

Materials convey different kinds of sensation and meanings. For instance, cashmere would evoke softness, warmth and luxury, while a rougher linen would inspire a chic summer. That’s why I strongly recommend that you pick real fabric, and not only synthetic ones.


Texture is as important as the material!

The texture is the result of the way the fabric has been produced. It dramatically changes the aspect of the material and thus the way each material reflects the light. Therefore, two outfits of the same color but of different textures won’t look the same. (example: a red cashmere dress with a red leather coat)

The size of the wire, the way the wire has been fabricated and the knitting can change the material’s aspect. Knitting can even create some patterns!
For instance, the way a wool pullover with a small or large loop changes the final aspect. In the same way, a brushed black leather and a black waxed leather don’t share the same aspect. Another example to show you how knitting can affect the aspect is the cotton. Cotton is maybe one of the most used and basic materials. It’s in every home, every wardrobe. But cotton can also be a sophisticated material that catches the attention when knitted into a nice textile! Think about a cotton canvas or a Jersey cotton (and many more).

Only One Kind of “powerful material and fabric”

The shinier a textile is, the more it catches the attention. For this reason, you should compose your outfit by choosing only one kind of shiny material.
Avoid everything close to glitter or mirror.

Shiny material:

silk, satin, leather, crocodiles, fur (depending on the animal), velvet, velour, latex, lycra, sequins fabric, crepe, and many more synthetic shiny materials (Elastane, Acetate, Nylon, etc.).

Other fabrics that attract attention

If they are not as attractive as the previously mentioned shiny fabrics, the following fabrics attract the attention due to the quality of the yarn, or the way the tissue has been knitted. For instance, the most popular are, just to name a few:
Denim (jeans), Tweed, Fleece, Jersey, Rib knit, Interlock, Lace knit, Mesh knits, Eyelash Knit, Terry Cloth Knit, Gabardine, Linen.


IX/Clothes’ Style

It’s a pretty obvious recommendation, so I will go pretty quickly on it.
Style also means a lot and carries an identity.
Therefore, it is important to match your styles. If one of you has an elegant evening outfit, the other one should be in the same mood, and not wearing sportswear.
Experimental stylists can mix different styles, but it must be done very carefully. For instance, today, it’s pretty fashionable to mix a leopard pattern (which I think it’s pretty vulgar), with a very serious outfit (such as a woman’s suit).
For a simple photo session, I would recommend keeping it simple and use only one style.

Clothes that fit you and you love!

You must choose some clothes that you love, that are your exact size, making you confident by taking advantage of your shape. For instance, depending on your body type, you should know what kind of pants would give you a nice silhouette, accentuating your large hips, or your thin waist. But that could be the subject of another article, so I won’t go into details.
What is essential is that you feel at ease in it; otherwise we may notice you being uncomfortable in the pictures. For instance, if you wear nice high heels, but they hurt you, you might end up walking in a funny way which wouldn’t be graceful for the pictures. So wear whatever makes you feel at ease and it is at the same time somehow elegant.

Lightweight and Long Dress

If you are lucky to be tall and slim, then a lightweight long (evening or beach) dress with a split, would catch the wind and thus work extremely well. They work even better if you have long hair that flies in the air. I can’t recommend those enough, especially for engagement sessions.

The way you wear clothes can change their aspect

There are a few variations in the way you wear your clothes that can produce different feelings.
For instance, you can button a shirt up to the top, or you can let some buttons open, and roll up your sleeves. You can slightly fold up your blue jeans and other pants, or wear them straight.
However, there are several ways that you better avoid, such as turning your cap in the opposite way, wearing your pants under your butt, having one pant leg rolled up, etc.

X/ Other tips

– Avoid using colors that are almost the same but are not. Indeed, it might create an unpleasant visual effect. For instance, let’s say one wants to use a pale blue. Then using a pale cyan instead would look weird.
– Avoid old, visually used or dirty clothes. Sin is in the details (especially when it’s about pictures). We will notice any scratch.
– Make sure that your clothes are perfectly the right size. Indeed, it’s not unusual to see people with a shirt that is too long, or pants that are too short. Those are things that can surely be noticed in the pictures and won’t look good.
– If you buy new clothes for the photo session, pay attention to wrinkles and try to wash and iron them before, if that makes sense (for instance a new cotton shirt).


Tips: family and Group

All what is written previously can be applied to group pictures.

  • Bright colors are usually easier to combine with each other, given it works for the top and bottom parts.
  • Avoid having too saturated colors (one very saturated maximum).
  • Avoid wearing identical outfits; you are not wearing a company uniform.
  • Dress the kids with slightly brighter or colored outfits, so they can catch the attention in the pictures.
  • Avoid having someone wearing clothes with text, or very impacting images.


Tips: what color to choose to enhance your eyes?

The easiest way to enhance the color of your eyes, if you are a woman, is probably the makeup. There are thousands of tutorials and videos to help you. What’s more, I know nothing about makeup, so I invite you to research it on the internet if you need it. That being said, the choice of the color matters, and it will be the same as the choice of your clothes.
To make it simple, you have a few options, and some mistakes to prevent.
1/ Dress with a complementary color. You can also use split complementary colors.

  • If you have blue eyes, dress using warm orange tones.
  • If you have green eyes, dark red tones, purple.
  • If you have brown eyes, warm tones (warm brown, beige, green tones)

2/avoid wearing a top that has the same hue as your eyes, and especially brighter and more saturated. Otherwise, by contrast your eyes would look dull. For instance, if you have blue eyes, don’t wear a glacial blue top, or a plain saturated dress.
3/ Wearing a top that has the same color as your eyes can help (not always, depending on several criteria). To make it simple, let’s pick something slightly less saturated than your eyes.
4/Use a touch of colors to echo your eyes. This touch could be the same color, the same tone and same saturation as your eyes. For instance, use a necklace, or patterns with a touch of your eyes’ color.
5/ For the background you have 2 options; ,

  • a background that reminds the color of your eyes, (but slightly less saturated and not brighter),
  • a background that shows a touch of color similar to your eyes.

6/ Regarding the eyes’ makeup, avoid using your eyes’ color for your eyeshadow. Indeed, by comparison, your eyes would look tasteless.  Same advice as for the dress, use complementary colors.
7/ If you want to use the same colors as for your eyeshadow, then pick a darker and less saturated version than your eyes.

Tips: echoed colors using props

Indeed, the simple touch of colors using props is usually enough to signify the presence of the colors. What prop to use to include touches of colors?

for women:

  • scarf
  • necklace
  • earrings, nose ring, etc.
  • Eye liner + mascara + eye shadows
  • Lipstick, nail polish
  • hat, hair bands, hair clip
  • glasses
  • all kinds of shoes and shoelaces, boots, sandals, etc.
  • bracelets
  • rings
  • purse
  • clothes with colored collar
  • belt
  • watch
  • button (any colored ones, or special material such as wood, gold, etc.)
  • tights and leggings
  • gloves and hat during winter

for men:

  • scarf
  • necklace (wood)
  • bracelet (wood, plastic, pearls)
  • hat, cap, beret
  • glasses
  • shoes and shoelaces
  • clothes with colored collar
  • shirt with colored sleeves
  • cufflinks
  • belt
  • tie, tie clipper, bow tie,
  • pocket square
  • watch
  • socks
  • button (any colored one, or special material such as wood, gold, etc.)
  • gloves,
  • suspenders

Kids and group

  • blanket
  • toys
  • helium balloons,
  • colored food (ex-candies, big lollipops, candy floss).

TIPS: What color to choose regarding your skin and hair

We will speak about colors and contrast. Don’t forget that the goal of all that is to attract the viewer’s attention and to direct it to your face. Also, your face, your skin color, your hair, are the first elements to take in consideration.
Cold colors refer to colors close to blue, while warm colors, colors close to red.
You usually have two options, but you should always respect the global contrast of hair/skin, and always avoid colors that are adjacent to your skin (almost the same, but not the same is weird).

  1. Using a color that is similar to your skin’s color.
  2. Using a complementary color, that would contrast with your skin color.

For instance:

  • If you have bright hair (blond, chestnut), and bright skin, you present a very low contrast. Thus you would prefer bright tones, and cold colors (especially pastel), such as blue sky, jade, light pink, lavender and yellow.  Avoid light beige and too dark tones (especially black).
  • If you have dark hair but a very bright skin, you have a high contrast. Then vivid colors work for you, such as blue, red, orange, green, purple. Avoid clear colors too close to your skin, such as pastel, beige, yellow and bright pink, and bright gray.
  • If you have red hair, you have medium contrast.  Then bright and warm colors will work for you, such as red, orange, yellow, mustard, brown.  Complementary colors such as Green and blue would also work great, as well as dark purple. Avoid too bright tones and vivid pink magenta.
  • If you have dark hair and tan skin. You have a medium low contrast. Then warm colors (such as brown, dark red, dark orange, vivid orange) and complementary colors (such as shades of green) would work for you. Avoid pink, purple, medium brown and beige.
  • If you have bright brown skin, and dark hair, (like Prince or Obama), you have a medium-low contrast. Then both warm and cold colors can work for you, such as red, green, blue, purple. Pastel also works well. Avoid wearing vivid pink, vivid cyan, bright yellow and bright yellow-green.
  • If you have dark hair and dark skin, you have a low contrast. All colors would work for you. You can wear all the vivid colors. Avoid dressing entirely in white, bright (pastel) or black.

Also, when choosing an outfit for your photo session, you (and the photographer) must pay attention to the background (and as far as possible the forecast). Would we have fall colors with blue sky, and yellow-red tones? Would we have a summer day and a green landscape, a white winter snowy landscape, a dull gray city landscape, or will we be shooting pictures at a fair with saturated colors behind us? Every detail has to be taken into consideration.


Black and White Portrait of Alexandre Mayeur, photographer at French-Touch-Photography

Born and raised in Paris, I am now a proud Wedding Photographer in Rochester, MN, serving MPLS.

I don’t only capture emotions in candid pictures, I also create timeless images and artful photographs.
Recognized as one of the best photographers in the Twin Cities.

I serve Duluth and also far beyond the 10,000 Lakes State (Wisconsin, Iowa, and destination). I am more than happy to discover beautiful landscapes and new horizons.

Have a look at my previous publications to learn more. As an experienced professional photographer, I don’t limit my field to lifestyle, family, or event photography! I invite you to visit my portfolio and discover my photography and work out of the studio.