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What to wear for my Photo Shoot

The most commonly asked question by my clients once they have booked is what to wear for my photo shoot.

Memorable family portraits take careful planning, and the clothing you choose is very important to your portrait’s success.  Planning your clothing for your family photo shoot will help us to create an artwork of  a very personal nature. As a decorative focal point in your home or office, it will serve as a reflection of your good taste, as well as a most appropriate expression of your personal style.  I hope the following guide lines will help you in preparing for your shoot and picking out clothing and props appropriately with the sample colour schemes.

General Clothing tips

  • Very simple garments always photograph best.  No frills or loud patterns.
  • For adults turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particular deep V-neck garments, as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck.
  • For children, make sure they can fit into the outfit and haven’t grown out of it since you bought it.  Something they feel comfortable in, ie not too starchy.
  • Long sleeves are essential for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will over power the face.  At the very least cover the upper arms.
  • Wear clothing that fits but does not pinch, you will look larger in tighter clothing, but tent like clothing goes too far!

Harmonious Colour Schemes – on location

In the same way as when you decorate your home, you need to be wearing the same colour tones and compliment each other with similar hues if at all possible.  Below are some ideas of colour combinations for you to try matching up to when you’re planning for a location shoot.  Choose clothing in the same tonal ranges so no single member of the family stands out because the clothing is too light or bright compared to the rest of the group.

I would pick no more than 3 colours for your groups clothing

Spring photo shoot

When being photographed in a green park in spring, it’s best to stick to neutral hues and soft tones.  You cannot compete with the greens so you need to pick colours that don’t jar with it.  If it’s a shoot with bluebells or daffodils for example, you could introduce some soft blue or yellow into the garments but again neutrals also work in these environments too.  This means creamy dresses/tops for example.

This is a colour scheme based on the bluebell woods, so any of these colours would work

colour pallete for bluebell woods

outdoor photo shoot

Summer photo shoot

For a summer photo shoot where the trees are a deep green and the grass can be straw yellow, you should choose neutrals/creams/beige, if the grass is still green then you don’t want to clash against it with any solid colour so stick with something that will compliment the greens or at least not jar with them.

Here is a colour scheme for high summer, you can also consider a highlight colour if there are some great pink flowers out at the time or red poppies for example.

what to cloth your children in

Autumn photo shoot


For park photo shoots in Autumn, you have a lovely rich colour pallet to choose from, from browns and rusts to navy and dark green.  Compliment the changing tree colours, any autumnal colours in your wardrobe bring them along, just remember scarves and coats need to be in this scheme too.  These are not pallets that you have to match every colour in your outfit, just see if you can find clothes that have mainly these colours in to get the best fit.


 London Children's Photographer


Winter photo shoot

Winter shoots are more to do with browns and greys so go for the darker colours which will make your faces stand out a bit more.

winter clothing pallet

Family photo shoots in Hampstead

Urban photo shoot

For urban scenes, it’s best to go for darker hues, again nothing too loud in colour or pattern.  Maybe navy and brown with neutrals.  All black looks good too in urban environments, but this is not to say that a little girl in a red coat won’t look amazing amidst the grey urban environment.  So give me a call if you’re not sure.

Urban colour pallet

Contrasting Colour Schemes – on location

The above colour pallets are aiming for blending in with your environment and maybe highlighting colours that occur in nature.

You could of course decide to have a more dramatic impact by choosing the opposite colour to the overriding hue.  For example in the summer grasses which are predominantly yellow/straw coloured, you could really stand out in a Purple top. Another example would be, wearing a red coat in an overriding green image.

Look at the colour of the environment in the colour wheel and see what is exactly opposite…these colours will stand out the most.  So in the autumn, against a rust coloured tree, you could wear blue to stand out.

Stand out colours

family photographer chiswick


The Studio colour schemes

The goal of any fine portrait … is to direct the viewer’s attention to the face or faces in the portrait. Simple long sleeved garments in medium to dark tones of brown, rust, burgundy, green, or blue are pleasing choices when photographed against a dark background (the studio has dark brown and dark grey backdrops so these will be perfect here).

Proper clothing allows the face to dominate the portrait. all other elements should be secondary.

  • Bold stripes, tartan, checks and prints are confusing and do not photograph well.
  • Especially bright colours, such as red and orange will completely overpower the face and ruin a portrait.
  • Light colours look fab against the darker backgrounds however you should avoid light colours that approximate your own flesh tones such as peach, beige, tan, pink, white, and yellow. Choose a colour that compliments your skin…I know that I cannot wear peach to save my life (I’m a red head with freckles..and peach looks deathly on me).  Darker shades look great against the paler backdrops.
  • Siblings should choose simple garments within the same tonal ranges. So they should all be wearing beige and white rather than 2 of them in this neutral kit and the other one in a darker outfit.  Light and dark tones together create visual confusion, as one subject comes forward and the others recedes so tell the group to aim for a specific colour range and maybe send them this blog

The Studio has a dark grey backdrop which is great for putting softer colours onto, so don’t go for bright blues or reds, soft tones of browns and creams, soft pink or soft blue are fine too.

grey backdrop in studio

The brown backdrop at the studio can handle warmer colours but again keep the tones down, we don’t want any bring colours as they will overpower your face and even the background.

Children's Portrait Photography Ideas

I don’t normally use the white backdrop except for maternity shoots as I find it not so forgiving, but if you wanted to use the white, then dark colours look fab on it..

white backdrop

So I hope this has given you an idea of how you can find clothing that will work for your shoot.  Give me a call if you need to discuss your options.  Do bring props, scarves, hats etc that fit the colour scheme as they will help to make the portrait your own.

Susan Porter-Thomas London based family photographer LSWPP

Child portrait photography

Photographing babies is a child portrait photographers most important starting point, a relationship is made with a family that will last a lifetime. This little girl was 7 weeks old, so slightly older than a newborn officially, however she was simply adorable and so well behaved, she didn’t mind being swaddled and loved the attention she was given. Child portrait photography isn’t just about getting great photos of that child, it’s about the relationships that child has. The way the mother is so in love with her it’s clearly visible in these images. I always ensure the studio is lovely and warm in order to be able to remove the baby’s clothing without them getting too cold. It of course means we’re all sweltering but rather that than a cold baby. I’ve also got a few new background/backdrops which I think are great, really smooth and great colours. This will give you more choice and let you decide on your own colour scheme for the images..though I do tend to veer towards the neutrals, dusty pink and dusty blue are rather nice.. A few ideas on this site for colour schemes (

So as you can see 7 weeks is absolutely fine for a shoot, don’t feel you’re constrained by the dates set by London newborn photographers who nearly always say up to 3 weeks is best. Well yes they are the most flexible before this date but babies are cute at any age…

Child portrait photography

Child portrait photographer

Child portrait photoshoots

Child portrait photography ideas

posing ideas for child portrait photography

Susan Porter-Thomas – Child portrait photography

Maternity Photo shoot London

Having a Maternity Photo Shoot London is getting more popular as the years go by. Especially as mothers to be want something artistic that is going to record their pregnancy for their children to see. There is something magical about a pregnancy and I find it very enjoyable to get to know new clients before children take over their lives. I have photographed pregnancies for over 12 years now and use my West London Studio to create the atmosphere I want for the shoots. Have a look at a few more shoots here (

If you are interested in having a maternity shoot I would recommend you come at around 32-36 weeks gestation. I am happy to recreate any images you have found online that you prefer, but if you’re not sure what you want I will give you enough choice to cover all tastes. Only tasteful images though..

Maternity Photo shoot in London

Maternity Photography in London

Maternity Photographer in London

Maternity Photo shoot London

London Maternity Photo shoot

Susan Porter-Thomas – Maternity Photo shoot London

Richmond newborn photographer

I have been a Richmond newborn photographer now for over 12 years and I would say that actually the home shoot is probably more relaxing than the studio shoot. It is a different kind of shoot and it leads to softer looking images due to the use of natural light rather than studio light, but as you can see here, all I need is a window and the means to get close to that window. This little boy had the most amazing head of hair as Indian babies tend to have which is just gorgeous to stroke!! Well I have to get my fix from somewhere!! So if you’re interested in a newborn photo shoot but are not sure if you want studio or home then take a look at my portfolio.

I am as you may know, not an advocate of the highly posed baby images that are flooding the market these days, I believe that newborn images should be natural and in this way they will stand the test of time. It is also because I feel the manipulation of newborns is not great for them, read this blog about why the poses are not safe ( So if you’re wanting beautiful natural and elegant poses with your baby, give me a call!

Richmond newborn photographer

Richmond newborn photography

Newborn photographer Richmond

Richmond baby photographer

Newborn photo shoot Richmond

Richmond newborn photoshoot

Susan Porter-Thomas – Richmond newborn photographer

Newborn photographer West London

Here are a few images from a recent baby shoot that was taken in the studio. As a newborn photographer West London is a hot house of reproduction. There is a wealth of new families in the leafy suburbs of Chiswick, Richmond and Kensington. This family braved the car journey to come to the studio which gave me a bit more control over the lighting and background and I had the added benefit of them being happy to take clothes off to get that awesome skin on skin baby and parent shot.

I am very happy to do home shoots when you have a newborn in the house as this can be less stressful than working out how to leave the house with all the gubbins you need nowadays for a new baby. However some clients prefer not to have anyone in their home and like the thought of getting out to a relaxed studio environment where they don’t have to think about anything other than their shoot. This little one was extremely well behaved and slept pretty much the whole way through the shoot.

My newborn images are very relaxed and don’t require any weird posing or manipulation of your baby, I believe they should be taken without any props, so much of newborn photography nowadays is about the props. No, I’m more about the baby and I think that will stand the test of time better too..

Newborn photographer West London

Newborn photography West London

Newborn photographer in West London

Newborn photo shoots West London

Newborn photoshoots in West London

Baby photographer West London

Newborn fine art photographer West London

Newborn photography ideas West London

West London Newborn photographer

Susan Porter-Thomas – Newborn photographer West London

Family photo shoots Hampstead

For family photo shoots Hampstead is truly one of the loveliest locations in London. This shoot was taken on one of the darkest dreariest and coldest days of the autumn and yet the vistas and colours and great backdrops are endless. I love the fact that there are little passage ways and wooden fences everywhere which is great for little people to explore. We also had loads of fun splashing in puddles. Thankfully the parents were happy for me to get the kids dirty. It’s a great lesson for me that even on dreadful gloomy days, it’s always worth doing the shoot, kids don’t care if it’s sunny or gloomy, they are interested in adventure and play which can happen no matter what the weather. As long as you’re dressed up warm enough there’s no excuse to having fun.

For those who are interested I usually do my location shoots using my 70-200mm f2.8 canon L series lens, which I love. It has great range and depth of field and I don’t need to be too far away from the action to get the look I am after.

If you’re interested in my location family photographer work please have a look at my gallery. I also do fine art children’s photography in the studio in West London.

Family photo shoots Hampstead

Family photography Hampstead

Family photo shoots in Hampstead

Family photoshoots in Hampstead area

Fine art family photo shoots Hampstead

Susan Porter-Thomas – Family photo shoots Hampstead

Do get in touch to start a chat about your shoot.

Children’s Photographer London

The colours this autumn have been the best I can remember. It looks like there is a fire behind the kids in one of these shots. This is a regular client of mine who I’ve photographed from bump to baby and now look at them…2 gorgeous kids who seemingly enjoyed each other’s company..amazing and very sweet.

As a Location Children’s Photographer London has some really excellent places to take families. This shoot was taken in Holland Park and is one of my favourites as there are loads of great backdrops really close together and the way the light falls through the trees is mesmerising no matter what time of year it is. As you can see from the images, creating an atmosphere of fun with the kids is key to getting great shots of them. By the time I want to take serious shots with them, they are really relaxed and trust me.

However I am very careful to keep moving, to keep changing things up and to keep distracting them. We don’t spend more than about 5 mins on one set up so that they don’t get bored..very important. Usually I prefer to have an overcast day for nice soft light, but this day had bring winter sunshine, and actually I rather like the effect.

Children's Photographer London

Children's Photography London

London Children's Photographer

Children's Location Photographer

Kids Photographer London

Children's Photo shoot London

Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP – Children’s Photographer London

Richmond family photographer

This Richmond family had a fantastic white stained wooden floor, which was rather nice as a backdrop for their portraits. Big sister and cousin joined in the shoot too, that made for some rather sweet interaction between them and the new baby. I often do home photo shoots for families with newborns, it makes for a far more relaxed experience and the kids are far more natural than if we were in a studio environment. This little bundle was just 2 weeks old and was very well behaved. She was wide eyed for half the shoot and lovely and sleepy for the other half!

If you’re interested in having a home newborn shoot, do get in touch and we can pencil you in. If the birth date isn’t as predicted (when is it really?) then this date can change. It is lovely to get siblings involved though.

Richmond family photographer

Richmond family photography

Richmond family newborn photographer

Richmond family photoshoots

Richmond family photography ideas

Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP – Richmond family photographer

West London Photographer

It’s always great when you get a little person who is able to take direction and loves the attention I give her. Little Rose was so sweet and loved the wind machine. I’ve been a West London Photographer for 11 years now and every now and then I do special offers for local families to bring their children along for a special rate. As a general rule kids should be around 4 or 5 to have a successful shoot in the studio, I have done younger kids than this but you’re limited to a short attention span which gives you fewer images.

It’s very satisfying if you can get shots like these though. Do get in touch if you would like to try the studio fine art photography session, and I will give you some advice re clothing etc.

West London Photographer

West London Photography

West London Photoshoots

West London Portrait Photographer

Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP – West London Photographer

Notting Hill pregnancy Photographer

As a Notting Hill pregnancy photographer I am spoilt for beautiful pregnant clients, there seem to be a lot of young couples starting their families in the area and they like art. The Pregnancy Photo shoot is a great time for me to get to know a new client, it takes around 1.5 hrs and is in my relaxed home studio. It’s always lovely when the client brings some materials of her own to use, they are more personal that way but obviously I have loads of things to use here and we can talk about the styling of the shoot when you arrive.

I’m very happy for you to collect images on Pinterest for example to show me, that way I will be able to create a bespoke shoot to your preferred style. Most of my clients come back for a newborn shoot but there is no obligation at all to do this, some people prefer to wait until their child is a bit older, but generally I keep in touch over the years and it’s fantastic for me to see the children grow..

If you’re interested in a Pregnancy Shoot do get in touch when you’re around 30 weeks to book a session in and of course bring your partner, I promise I won’t do any cheesy images.

Notting Hill pregnancy Photographer

Notting Hill pregnancy Photography

Notting Hill maternity Photographer

Notting Hill pregnancy Photoshoot

Pregnancy Photographer Notting Hill

Notting Hill pregnancy Photo shoot ideas

Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP – Notting Hill pregnancy Photographer

Recent Client Reviews

Fiona MacNeely
Fiona MacNeely
12:41 29 Dec 16
I booked a family shoot with Susan because I wanted to capture a special moment in time with my family. We had never had a professional shoot before and were a little sceptical about how Susan would get us into a frame looking like we wanted to be there! We visited Susan's studio and she managed the task with humour. The shoot was fun, and the photos prove that. We are getting some classic close up prints which I will treasure.
Brooke Holiday
Brooke Holiday
13:32 28 Dec 16
Susan did an excellent job photographing our newborn. She has a lovely down to earth demeanor, and conducted the shoot from our flat - all of which kept my husband, our new baby, and me at ease. The photographs turned out beautifully. We're very happy with the whole experience.
Jean Clarke
Jean Clarke
13:14 28 Nov 16
We got images taken on Hampstead Heath as we enjoy walking there as a family. Susan is really friendly and engaging and was absolutely wonderful at getting my two boys to be enthusiastic about the shoot - which is no small feat especially since the youngest is only two years old. The resulting images were beautiful, the only problem we had was deciding which ones to frame!
Ealing 135 Advertising
Ealing 135 Advertising
21:27 21 Oct 16
We recently had our two children photographed at Susan's studio, and the photos really capture their personalities. Our 4 year old daughter especially loved posing in front of the wind machine and Susan managed to capture our cheeky one year old son with his big sister after many creative attempts at trying to get them to stay still together! The images are superb and I would recommend Susan for her skill and artistry.
Silvia Yasuda
Silvia Yasuda
11:41 07 Dec 16
We are delighted with the photos Susan took of our family at home! She used some of our personal belongings and was very engaging with our 3 year old boy. I would definitely recommend her work!
Shiv Sriranjan
Shiv Sriranjan
14:25 18 Jan 17
Susan came to our house to do a photo shoot of our 2 month old son. She was very prompt in replying to email messages and kept in touch to confirm our appointment date and time. We did not feel rushed and Susan allowed plenty of time to take photos of our son allowing for changes in his mood. We even walked around with him and played music to settle him when he was crying. We love the photos and hope to have another photo shoot with Susan when he is a bit older.Thank you.Shiv and Sen
Helen DeVille
Helen DeVille
22:56 02 Sep 16
My family and I enjoyed a shoot at Kew Gardens with Susan. She was excellent at getting us all to feel relaxed which has resulted in the most beautiful, natural pictures of us all! Highly recommended indeed.
Davina Londra
Davina Londra
16:14 24 May 16
We booked a newborn shoot with Susan after a successful maternity shoot with her. We were equally pleased with the newborn shoot and found it very hard to choose the final pictures from some beautiful shots. Thanks again Susan.
Meena More
Meena More
09:38 11 Jan 17
James Henen-Webber
James Henen-Webber
21:27 24 Jul 16
Absolutely fantastic! Susan was simply great for the whole family and with 3 children this isn't easy. We achieved all the pics and more and will certainly be using Susan again. What I was particularly pleased with was the fact that Susan captured all of our personalities in one photo positively and consecutively in others too. Photos were all great quality and the toughest job was deciding which to go for! Thank You Susan for this fab memory we will always cherish.
Andrea Doyle
Andrea Doyle
12:12 18 Oct 16
Amazing ! Thank you Susan , we love our family photos, they are so beautiful , especially the one of my boys playing together in the park , I love it ! You were amazing with my crazy 3 year old he really enjoyed the shoot . Thanks again and we will definitely see you again X
Yami Trequesser
Yami Trequesser
19:35 13 Jun 15
Our twin babies were only 3 months when we decided it was time to take some family pictures. A friend from my NCT group recommended Susan and after looking at her online portfolio we decided she was right for us. We only had 1 hour between arriving at her home studio and the kids next feed and nap, so time was precious. Susan made us all (babies and parents!) feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. The result was beautiful. We had the photos printed for the grandparents Xmas present and it was a success. We also, of course, shared them with our friends, who absolutely loved them. Thank you, Susan, in the midst of sleepless nights and constant feeding, we had a great moment that will last forever.
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Contact Details

Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP
31 Wellington Road
W5 4UJ
07815 864884

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