I Have Nothing To Wear

April 10, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Okay, so you have your appointment scheduled or are planning to do a couples or family photography session in Hawaii. Once you've set the time and location, you might think you're all set right? Well not exactly, now comes the hard part... What do I wear to my appointment?!

This is one of the most common things we hear from our customers, "I have nothing to wear" to my session. Well, that may not be entirely true. Most everyone has something in their wardrobe that fits the guidelines below. If however you don't, can you seriously think of a better reason to go shopping? Here's some simple rules to help you look your best at your photo shoot.  

  • Be Comfortable.
    • When you are comfortable in the clothes you are wearing, your pictures reflect it. We always suggest something in natural fabrics, cottons, light weight work best spring through fall and for all portraits.
    • keep clothing loose but not baggy, " island style " is a good description of the casual but classic look you might want to put on. 
    • Hey there is a reason we dress this way, when in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians, be comfortable

Family with great clothesKoolina Oahu Hawaii Family PortraitWest Side Beach Session Choose a color Palette that is consistent .... or complimentary

  • Stay "Cool" - everyone works on the Cyan, Blue & Green Side of the spectrum
  • Get "Hot" - everyone chooses clothes that fall in the Red, Yellow & Magenta palettes
  • Compliment one another - play Blue against yellow, Cyan against Red, Green Against Magenta
  • Be like Switserland - Stay newtral. If you aren't sure what to wear with all the other colorful characters in your photos, go with basic black, grey or white. These colors work with everything. 
  • Tying everyone in your part together in a common theme in both style and color, is the best.

Avoid Loud Prints

  • This is true for just about any portrait session. Solids work best, the only real exception to this is if you have small children (Keiki) in the photo with you. The louder brighter colors will help them to stand out among the adults

Stay Away From "Matching Print" Shirts and Dresses

  • This is simple math really it helps you avoid looking like, you are wearing the same shirt when you stand close together. 


  • What Works Well With A Hawaiian Background?
  • At The Beach
    • Early or late day sun tends to be warm reds, yellows and oranges. Late day photos also get dark quick, choose light colors for evening and complimentary colors, cyan, blue green even purples and taupe or white tones, muted colors to match the softer color of the light you are working in.
    • For a primarily water background during the mid day, you will see incredible cyan, blue and green colors. neutrals and warmer tones work well to separate you from your surroundings. A peach, muted orange or for serious contrast red, will set you apart. If you want to wear prints, this is the place, most ocean scenery is open and not that busy. 
  • In a Garden Setting or Park
    • Where there is a lot of greenery, leafy vegetation & grass, stay neutral or go warm. Stick with solids here because anything that is printed may clash with your backgrounds that will make your photos very busy.
    • Avoid large leaf print Aloha shirts like they are on fire. You will blend right into your background and be like the floating head guy on the news who forgot and wore green, which you should also avoid. 
  • What about a combination setting, Beach and Park?
    • We routinely do photos at Ala Moana Beach Park, this offers the best of both worlds for our clients but can be a nightmare to prepare for. Stick with warmer tones for the most part and avoid heavy prints, additionally you can fall back on solids and neutral tones to keep you from blending into the background.

Ala Moana Beach Park - Near Waikiki in Honolulu & Iconic Diamond Head Family Portrait Honolulu HawaiiAla Moana Beach Park Family PhotosNeutral family colors with the baby that has a pop to help her stand out in the photos Footwear, Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

  • It sounds simple enough but many people will wear shoes, socks, nylons, even Stiletto's to a beach portrait session.... REALLY? This doesn't work out well, first those things can be dangerous and second you aren't going to a movie premier, you are going to a beach, rocky shoreline or a grassy park. You will find that your shoes like your clothes, should be island style.
    • Men - dress shoes, will fill with sand and you will end up carrying them
    • Women - high heel shoes, will sink in both grass or sand and scary on rocky shores. 
  • Comfortable footwear that can be easily gotten into and out of is a must for a beach session. Most of the time while you are on the beach you will be barefoot anyway.
    • Hawaiian "Slippahs" you might know them by the sound they make ..." flip flops " these are your very best friend. Most folks in Hawaii own more pair of slippahs than shoes. 

North Shore Papailoa Beach - Arlene Y. Family

family portrait North Shore Hawaii oahuPapailoa Beach North Shore OahuNeutrals & cool tones with smaller children dressed in print or light colors.  

  • ​​​​​​Lastly, it is important to remember that you don't want your clothes to compete with you as the main subject. We usually suggest staying away from busy prints and sticking with solid colors.  Solid colors work best with the Hawaiian scenery in any location and present a clean bold front to your portrait.

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If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us, as always we'll be happy to help.
Call 808-387-0869 Tue - Sat 8 am to 5 pm HST or email us at Hawaiianpix Office




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