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The Best Dresses for Your Photography Clients to Wear

When you’re setting up a photoshoot, it can be common to get questions from your clients about what they should wear. Most people are a bit nervous in front of the lens, and they want to know that they will look their best – and they definitely don’t want to commit a fashion faux pas.

This quick and handy guide will tell you everything you need to help your clients pick out their dresses – including where to get them from. Keep this on hand next time you need to help out a client with finding their best possible dress!

Top tips for everyone

No matter what style of dress your client chooses, there are some top tips that they ought to keep in mind to ensure that they will be as comfortable as possible. These are:

  • Comfort is king – no one looks good in a dress that they don’t feel good in. If they don’t feel right, making an outfit change is best
  • Different bodies need different clothes – the shape of your body means different outfits will look better on different people. Ask your client to consider whether they are tall or short, pear-shaped, hourglass, straight up and down, or so on – and to look at the best guidelines for flattering their body type
  • Emphasis on the parts they love and hiding the parts they hate will make them feel more confident
  • Color is also important: the chosen color should look good against the client’s skin tone, hair color, and eye color
  • The location is also important. Certain types of clothing just aren’t appropriate or practical in some places!
  • Presentation matters – get everything ironed or steamed before the shoot, and make sure you don’t have hair ties on your wrist or a bulky smartwatch that ruins the look!

Eternally fashionable styles

Now, let’s look at some styles that will always look good, no matter who is wearing them or how much time has passed. These are classic shapes and silhouettes, and for a good reason!

  • The long and flowy dress: this is a really great style for almost everyone. Petite models might have a harder time finding something that fits their length, but with a good pair of heels and a dress from a petite range they will be well away. The length of the dress makes you look taller, and the flowy material will hide any lumps and bumps you feel self-conscious about while keeping the look elegant and pretty. What’s more, full-length dresses can come in a variety of styles, from a bright floral summer dress to something much more suited for an evening event.
  • The fifties shirt dress: this is an elegant retro classic – think of a sharp collar, buttoned or at least fitted sleeves to midway on the upper arm, a tighter waist and a flared-out skirt. Really good quality examples will be made with a heavier fabric which gives you that flare easily. This style looks great on both plus-size and slim ladies, so it’s something for everyone. It looks mature and womanly, and has a touch of the traditional about it, so it would be perfect as Mom’s look in a family portrait.
  • The A-line dress: Much like the shirt dress, this style has a fit and flare approach, going in at the waist and then out again over the hips. A-line dresses can be any length depending on the style that suits you the most, even becoming a perfect choice for a wedding dress, and the bodice and sleeves can also take on any style. For example, if you’re self-conscious about your arms, you can go for a full-length sleeve with a lower cut at the chest to balance out the look. The A-line dress flatters every body type, and is even suitable as a child’s dress with a more modest hemline and décolletage!
  • The slip dress: this is a style that comes and goes but always returns to being fashionable. A slip dress, especially in a slinky satin fabric, looks timeless, elegant, and sexy, so it’s fabulous for a couples shoot or a solo portrait. You can dress it down for a casual shoot look with sneakers, chunky jewelry, and a broad-brimmed hat, or dress it up with towering heels, dainty jewels, and jewel-toned smoky makeup.

Vendors renting out photoshoot dresses

No matter which of our recommended styles you go for, your client will still need to find a place to source their dress. So, where do they look? Here are a few ideas to go for:

  • If your client has a store that they regularly shop at online, you can encourage them to add a special photoshoot dress to their latest order and then simply return any unused items after the shoot.
  • Bentley + Lace have a collection of couture and special gowns which are available to hire for short periods of time, for both adults and children. This means you can hire something special without having to buy it at full price!
  • Rent the Runway offers designer clothing for rent – you’ll be best off looking for adult items here, and you’ll get a backup size included in your order
  • Le Tote is a monthly subscription clothing box, great for smarter looks
  • Armoire is another monthly box with high-value clothing, which is recommended particularly for maternity looks
  • Style Lend allows you to borrow designer pieces from New York closets! It’s available throughout the country with a special same-day service in NY.
  • Make sure to reach out to smaller designers who make custom gowns if you want something super special to keep after the shoot!


Make sure to help your clients choose a dress that suits them for their photoshoot – they will love the results even more.

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