Slay the Shoot: How to Persuade Clients to Bring Amazing Clothing to Sessions

Filed in Photographers — November 29, 2023


photo of Nikki choose client clothing for photoshoots

Client clothing makes a HUGE difference in how the photos turn out, and we want AMAZING client clothing for photoshoots! Let’s talk about how to get it!

Let’s be honest: some clothing just does not photograph well. And it almost always comes down to the fit. I tell my clients that we want to show the shape of their body, in the most flattering way. A lot of my clients dress in oversized clothing day to day, but boxy and baggy clothing during a photoshoot just doesn’t photograph well. It doesn’t show shape, and it doesn’t allow for clean movement without bunching up.

If I get to the studio and the client’s clothing is too baggy, I have small utility clips from the hardware store that I use to clip the clothes in to be more form-fitting! I do tell my clients prior to the session that I do this, too. Typically, I will clip in the back for the waist, but sometimes clips may need to be used in visible places. Sometimes I have to photoshop the clips out, but I don’t mind if it makes the client look and feel their best.

I’ve heard many photographers ask what they should do if clients bring clothes that aren’t flattering, aren’t inspiring, or don’t match the photographer’s style. Here’s the thing. These are paying clients. Our marketing and portfolio needs always come secondary to their needs. If you want a specific look in your photos, do a portfolio building shoot and style them yourself! This is the best way to make sure you have photos to post that will attract people with the style you want to book. 

This is not to say that you can’t gently coax someone into wearing something you have in your client closet that you want them to wear! I find that most people are open to trying something you suggest. But, make sure you aren’t taking over and totally undermining what they really want. Because here’s the thing: they will not buy the photos if they don’t look and feel like the best version of themselves!

If you don’t have a client closet (yet or don’t want to provide one – both are valid), then just do the best with what you have and make them look and feel like the best version of themselves in the clothing they brought with the tools you have and the posing/lighting skills you possess.

photo of Nikki choose client clothing for photoshoots

I might only include 4 outfits in my session fee, but I always tell my clients to bring more than the allotted 4 outfits that comes with their shoot. For my personal branding sessions, I almost always shoot 6 outfits even though I promise 4. I seriously tell them they can bring their whole closet if they want! I will help them decide on their final outfits when they get to my studio. I allot time prior to shooting to go through their outfits with them and lay them out in order I want to use them. This also allows me to use my styling knowledge that I’ve gained through my career, pieces from my own client closet, and I’m able to come up with options that they wouldn’t even have thought of!

The most important thing in planning the clothing for the shoot is to always choose a variety amongst the clothes they bring because variety sells! If there’s not a ton of variety in the clothing options, use one outfit in multiple sets with different poses to gain variety. Regardless of what genre you shoot, I can’t recommend enough to have your clients do outfit changes! Stop after you get some good shots and have them change. Again, think variety, variety, variety.

I go through the whole process of choosing outfits with my clients in The Personal Branding System, so you can watch exactly what I do!

Until next time!

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