Tips for Great Outfit Photos

Tips for Great Outfit PhotosEmma and I have been doing outfit photos for A Beautiful Mess for almost two years. We’ve had a lot of fun documenting our silly outfits and collaborating with companies that we admire! We’ve learned a lot along the way!

I’ve recieved some e-mails recently asking about our methods for getting photos and finding backdrops. I hope this post is helpful to some aspiring fashion bloggers out there! More than anything, we believe that outfit photos should be fun!

Use a real life prop


Use a real life prop 21. Use Real Life Props 

Props give outfit photos more personality! We try to use them as often as possible, but we want them to seem natural and not awkward. One hint is to use real life props (like my bicycle) or seasonal props that help tell the story of the day (like this gigantic autumn leaf). When you choose props, find items that you feel natural with and that fit your personality and aesthetic!

Scout out walls you love


Scout out walls2. Scout Out Backdrops You Love 

Long before our adventures in outfit photos Emma and I owned a small photography business together. We quickly built up a list of 20 cute walls around town for photo shoots. It’s good to have a lot of options so you can avoid direct sunlight and find colors that compliment your clothing!

VarietySomething fun to try…. Sometime when we shoot eachother’s outfits or photos for Sister Style we find spots with two different colored walls so that we can both get in our photos and we only have to park the car once! It’s no fun driving around for 10 minutes just to find a cute wall.
Use a real life setting


Use a real life setting3. Use A Real Life Setting As Your Backdrop

Do you work somewhere cool? Have a cute home? Love your favorite local spots? Take outfit photos in a natural place that you love. I sometimes take my photos in my local boutique. Why not take an outfit photo at a lunch date destination or on a picnic? It’s fun and your readers will enjoy the peek into your world!

Wear a piece 2 ways


Wear a piece 2 ways 4. Style A Piece Two Ways

I LOVE it when outfit posts teach something! For example we’ve often shown two or three ways to style a piece or taught an easy DIY along with our daily outfit. It’s just fun to add a little something extra for your readers to enjoy!



Smile 35. Smile! 

It’s kinda a “thing” that fashion bloggers rarely smile in their photos. We don’t know how that started but we’ve grown to love smiling outfit photos! Don’t be afraid to show your personality or your silly side when taking outfit photos. It’s fun!

Find your signature look6. Find Your Signature Look

My go-to look is pops of black and white. If you scan through my outfit index you’ll see me wearing this combo over and over. I buy a lot of black and white patterns and I love the way they mix and match.

Find your signature look Emma’s signautre look is easy layers. She wears denim and chambray in layers pretty much every other day. You won’t see her wearing a lot of outfits that aren’t layered. That’s her signature look!
7. Step Outside Your Box

My “box” is cute vintage dresses, tights, cardigans and heels. That’s what I ususally wear whether for an outfit photo or a night out with my husband. Sometimes it’s fun to stretch myself and try something totally outside of my comfort zone. For the outfit above, I challenged myself to wear one of Jeremy’s shirts in an outfit. The result was fun and unexpected. Want to try something totally outside your comfort zone?

Find your angle


Find your angles8. Find Your Angles.

Take a day to try a bunch of different angles and see what you like. A photo taken from above will make you appear “smaller”. A photo taken from below can make you appear taller (one of our tricks since we are both 5’4″). Do you like your profile? Try shots from the side, shots from straight on. Learn how different camera angles can affect your look in photos.

Multi-task 2


Multi-task your outfit photos9. Find Ways to Multi-Task Your Outfit Photos

On our honeymoon Jeremy agreed to take a few couple outfit photos with me each season. He likes shopping and cares about his style so it was something that came easy. I knew that by doing this we’d have a lot of “portrait” type photos from our first year of marriage together. Even though these photos were taken for the blog they have another meaning and will be something that we save for our children and grandchildren to laugh at. I love that!

Try different poses10. Try A Different Pose

When you’ve been doing outfit photos for a little while it’s easy to fall into a groove. You find a few poses you like and do them over and over and over. It’s always good to challenge yourself to try some totally new poses and angles. Tear some pages out of your favorite fashion magazine and try a few poses you’ve never tried before!

Have a lovely lovely day! XO. elsie

Dslr basicsWant to learn more about photography? Check out our e-course!

*Photos of us together by Kelli Trontel.

  • You have a nice post of this article. Shares great ideas of vintage outfit, looks so pretty it is. Thank you!

  • who knew that walls are the answer! i find myself using distracting backgrounds often simply because it’s a beautiful environment. adorable couple outfits and i truthfully learned a lot here! it’s wonderful 🙂

  • You give such great advice!!! I’m learning so much just from reading your blog 🙂

  • thanks for this! my friend and I are working on making a blog together. Plus, we love taking fashion together and with friends as a group.

  • ahhhh
    i love your tips!
    now my friends i have something fun to do 😀
    instead of being cooped up in the guestroom
    taking photos against blank walls..

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  • Glad to find you on facebook and in the bngogilg world. Okay now, Kelzey looks a lot like you, except I remember you with lighter hair. She’s darling and her little attitude shows right through.

  • How funny! Kelzey is such a doll! I wish I could tell my boys to get dressed for shocol themselves. Having to be up at 6:30, I literally have to drag them out of bed and dress them or they would NEVER get up and be ready. They are still zombies as we walk out the door at 7:00 to catch the bus. (Let me just tell you how much I hate having shocol start so early.)

  • i just stumbled upon your site and will be bormoakking it. great pics of food and of your progress! you go girl you deserve a ton of credit, for living your beliefs and for making such a positive change in your life (and hubby’s).

  • Great tips. I need tips for outfit photos take by yourself so with tripod and remote control.

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  • This is so cool to get the inside scoop on how you do fashion shoots. 🙂 So fun!

  • A Creative Day sent me over and so glad she did! I just put up my first outfit post today. It was definitely embarrassing taking the photos! But I did notice I liked the smiling ones much better. I’m not trying to pretend my picture isn’t being taken, and I’m certainly no supermodel. ;0)

    Thanks for the tips! Gives me the push to try more of these!

  • if i ever have the courage to do an outfit post, i’ll use these tips! thanks so much. xo, barbie

  • Such a brilliant post, and so many fun tips, I can’t wait to try them out and make my photos POP! Katie. xxx

  • Even though I don’t take fashion photos these are just great tips in general! I love the one about finding backdrops you love! I’ll definitely scout them out when I go to my favorite places.

  • These are great tips for not only people who are wanting to create a great blog with great photos, but these tricks can be used in everyday life! I am also loving the fashion in Missouri =)

  • Love love love the tips. Thank you for the insights, I will definitely use them for my own upcoming blog.

  • Wow this is just fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing!


  • These are some great tips. I always avoid trying to take outfit photos because I have no idea how to make them look more interesting so hopefully this will inspire me! Now I just need to get over the fear of taking outfit pics in public – thanks for the help!

  • really good tips, thanks so much for sharing! this is why your pictures are effortless and original…no pouting needed 🙂


  • I love that black and white striped dress. I also think your glossy purple wellies are pretty.

  • great tips! much reassured here now…

    xo katrina

  • extremely helpful tips! thanks for sharing…I can’t wait to expand the range of my photos 🙂


  • Thanks, these are all great tips for outfit photos! I am totally in love with your blog right now.

  • this is so helpful! I just started my own blog today. It’s about fashion (mine and people I see around school) so this will defiantly help me make the most of my posts! Thank you for being such an inspiration.

  • Thank you for these tips! I love the bright colours in all your photos, and I love your hair!

  • yey! like your blog and like the way you illustrate your tips:)
    thanx for sharing this one!

  • What wonderful and colourful (literally!) tips! Just did a whole wack of photoshoots for my upcoming book – these tips would have been just perfect. I shall use them in life!

  • I wish I had a sister side-kick to go on photo shoots with! Oh, well, for now I’ll just have to use the self-timer. 😉


  • As always, great tips! Thanks for the advice 🙂

    Eternally yours,

    P.S. I’m hosting a giveaway for a digital scrapbook! Please enter for a chance to win!!

  • such great tips. I am dying to try these soon! Thanks for always freely sharing great advice!


  • These are some super useful tips, and I also love when bloggers smile!

    Do you have any useful tip when you’re alone and in need of a tripod, because when I do I just feel weird and can never act natural D:

  • Wow, I think your blog is really amazing and inspiring. I’ve just started up a blog, and don’t know how to get people to notice it. Has anyone got any tips?

  • Thanks so much for this. I’ve been wanting to do some outfit posts for my blog but I’m a behind the camera type of girl and it’s hard for me to get in front of it. I am definitely going to try out these tips though.

    Have a great day!

  • It is called awesome photos, all of the photos!!!!
    i really adore you. I love the layout of your blog.
    Its so different and creative. And all the color mix very well.
    However, the most i like is the first photo, the orange mustard with the stripes dress. So pretty!! the bike also very nice.

    Neon Attract

  • Thanks for the photo tips! I’ll have to start scoping backdrops in my area. I have lots of wall murals around my town — think those would work?

  • Oh i love this post!
    Great tips which i’m definitely gonna follow ánd with matching photos!
    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Love, Sari

  • These are such great tips – thanks for sharing! And I like that you smile in your outfit posts 🙂

  • Excellent tips! Ever since I started working from home, I don’t get out much. I think if I started to do outfit posts, it will give me a reason to step out. Once again, thanks for the tips!

  • Do I recognize this as being shot in Springfield, Mo??? at least some of them?

  • Nice tips! Thanks for sharing! My BF is a photographer, I’ll him show this post 😀

  • Awesome tips! I love your amazing platforms shoes! =)

  • Such a great post, thanks Elsie! Really wonderful tips!!! I’ll probably keep referring to this post a lot!!! Way to go

  • Thank you for sharing these tips and tricks! they are really great!!! 🙂

    Love K

  • nice! also great shoes you wear as a photographer 😉 I always thought that flat-shoes would bring you to high-level photo’s…but I was wrong 😉

  • Love Love Love your photos. Soaking in all your advice!

    a new DIY blogger

  • This is a great bunch of tips! I’ll definitely be thinking of these the next time I take outfit photos.

  • Absolutely the best tips ever! I can see why your blog has achieved so much success!

    A really simple tip that I can share is to post not just one photo, but multiple photos of an outfit: full-length, half-length, a few detail shots, etc.

    Thank you!

  • I believe its a nice-looking first-rate design not that present aren’t other sites out in attendance thatby now perform impressive like save for I imagine it power vicious circle lying on at this point attractive fine.

  • Thanks for sharing!! I´m going to ask my boyfriend to make some couple photos! 😉

  • Thank you for being so generous with this inspiring post. Not only great advice for photographing clothes but also for thinking about signature style.

    I will be looking at walls in a different light 🙂

  • These tips are awesome, I will for sure be trying these out on my blog, even though I work with a tripod

  • Great ideas!! Thank you!!

    Check out my blog:


  • This is exactly what I needed! I’ve been in such a rut with taking outfit photos, since I live in a dorm on a busy street and simply don’t have the time, energy, or courage to pack up my camera and tripod and head off somewhere. But I’ll try to incorporate all of these…with my bare dorm room wall… :]]] Great post!


  • hooray for giving us the scoop on how to attain such gorgeous photos.
    mine have been SO awkward.
    now i know what to try differently.
    thank you!!

  • Absolutely FAB Post Elsie!
    I loved every single word. You have a wonderful way of writing that fully showcases your sweet and cheerful personality! When I read, i feel like i’m chatting to a dear friend 🙂 I love your posts Elsie!!!!


  • Another wonderful tutorial! Elsie, I so appreciate that you not only take the time to share little glimpses of your life with us, but that you also take the time to post tutorials like this! As a fairly new blogger, I can tell you that it’s much appreciated! 🙂

  • As always FAB advice!

    Thanks Gals!



  • I just did a post about a week ago about how fashion bloggers never smile.. but they should! Glad you agree 🙂

  • Great post! Love the idea of wearing Jeremy’s shirt… think I’ll check out my boyfriends closet tonight.

  • Yet another useful post! Are you going to do one on taking photos indoors? {hint, hint, I could use the advice~*}

  • great information. I was hoping you could tell me where you got that awesome red gingham dress. I love it!

  • This is so helpful! Thank you so much for posting on this. I hope to grow out of my awkward photo stage soon. (Frowny face.)


  • I just learned so much – I want to go out and try your tips tomorrow! thanks Elsie…

  • Thank you so much. You have totally given me the confidence to try new things in my blog. I have hit a start up rut, but I will be using some of your ideas this month!

  • Wow, thank you very much 😉 I’m inspired now, maybe I’ll start posting outfits, too.

  • I love your outfit posts! They’re always so creative. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  • Thanks so much for this post! I’ll definitely take this tips to heart 🙂

  • What excellent pointers! I love blogging but the one thing I can never manage to do well is the outfit post! I always look akward. Hopefully with a few of this pointers I can take more natural photoes now.

    I SO wish my man was ok with being in my outfit posts, I think it would help me to relax lol

  • How cute! Great tips! My mister and I definitely need more practice taking outfit photos! He tries to help me out, but we’re… well, camera challenged, haha 🙂
    xo Heather

  • This post was so helpful! I have been trying to make my outfit shots better and I’m learning…this post truly pushed me in the right direction! Thanks so much!

  • Love the mustard color sweater! I’ve always coveted that color and i’m pretty sure today is the day I need to venture out and go find a mustard color sweater for myself!

  • I do smile in my photos and I still get complaints that I need to smile more 🙁 Frustration nation. Great tips though, especially the first one! I need to use props more often. I’ve had some readers ask me how I find such cool backdrops, and my answer is that I drive around. I have no idea how else locations can be scouted!

  • this is brilliant! now i just need to find a friend or someone who’ll be my buddy to take pictures of my outfits 🙂

  • These are such great tips and I’ll definitely keep them in mind when I’m taking my next outfit shots!

    Fang Ting

  • Ah, these are some very helpful tips, thank you! I’m a huge fan of smiling…not smiling makes my face chubby rather than sexy hahaha!!

  • Awsome post! Thank you this is super helpful! 🙂 I just strews blogging so it’s been hard for me to figure out how to take outfits where you can see me outfit good and getting a photo to come out nice!

  • A very cute post, enjoyed the photo’s. absolutely love your cardigan in the first one!

  • Your posts are always so amazing ad inspire me to try harder thankyou so much 🙂 following you now 😀

  • Really useful just starting out at all of this, my main problem is finding someone to take the pics that isnt me, bit limited when its just you and a full length mirror!!!xxx

  • Thank you so much! Again this is so useful! I will definitely apply some of these tricks. It’s not so easy to go on locations though since my fiancé isn’t always available to come with me, and setting up a tripod in public to pose for yourself.. it is a little awkward 😉

  • I want to have photos of myself. But I don’t have anyone to take them, my husband would laugh, my teenager would just die, and I don’t trust the babies yet. Do you ever do “selfies” and do you have advice on how to take a good one?

  • THANK you so much for this post!! I am still a bit new at this and I love getting tips from blogs that I enjoy. This is a wonderful reference..I want to try to add more variety to my photos and challenge my wardrobe more.

    love it!

  • This is so great!! I was really starting to get stuck into a rut with mine. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Thank you so much for all the great tips! Can’t wait to use them 🙂
    xo Jac

  • Thanks for the advice! I shall have to direct my boyfriend and my daughter to the right direction, and me too! Totally love your styles!! I’m always inspired and have took a leap of updating my wardrobe slowly 🙂

  • Great post! Thanks for those tips! 🙂

    xx, Susann

  • Thank you so much for all of the fantastic tips. I have just begun taking outfit photos with a tripod and I always seem to come off awkward and forced. I love your tips for creative backgrounds and angles.

  • You’re so right about the not smiling in outfit photos!! Why is that a thing? haha I mean I have a habit of doing it myself and I don’t know why. Showing joy is always appealing 🙂


  • these are really great ideas!! thanks for letting us newbie bloggers in on your secrets! 🙂

  • Great post !
    I usually find it that the biggest bottle neck in my daily posting is the outfit posts – I usually have to run out of the house in my UGG boots (driving shoes) and then only be polished at work (where I can’t really ask anyone to take a pic of me). So I sulk and wait for the week end !
    I will try some of the tips though and see how it goes 🙂
    bisous bisous

  • Fun and very helful, some of these tips Id’ heard of, but most I’d never considerd and the make so much sence! Love these vibrant and colorful examples!

  • This is such a wonderful post with brilliant tips! Thank you! The last tip is so true, I sort of feel I’ve found a few poses and then just stick with them, but I want to stop that and start having more fun with outfit photos!

  • These are some great tips! It’s so nice that you and Emma have each other to take photos. I always feel silly with my self timer!

  • I love this advice but I’m afraid I’m still leaving fashion blogging to the experts- I feel like such a first-rate prat when I pose! Rx

  • Thanks for the lovely tips! I do believe my eyes were glued to your shoes! But it’s so hard finding nice shoes in my size.
    Question. What would you do if you don’t have a photographer to to take the photos. That’s my stumbling block. 🙁

  • Such good tips! I don’t necessarily have much time for outfit photos, I take most of them myself and I don’t own a tripod so I don’t have much scope for experimentation but this is so good, I will have to try some!

    Cheers x

  • Amie, some heels are more comfy than others. I’ll wear my hasbeens or lotta’s all day but not Jeffrey Campbell. Those have a three hour limit, good for a date night! I just can’t help it, I love huge shoes!!

  • Great advice and cute photos. You always make me smile. Your personality certainly shines through your photos.

    – Meredith

  • Love the style two ways idea. Keeps it interesting.

    ♥ sécia

  • great ideas! i was wondering, where are those fantastic riding boots from (in the picture about styling a dress different ways, with the great turquoise bag…source for that too!?)?

  • I love that you two smile so much in your outfit photos, showing the serious face often looks like a model shoot copy cat, rarely seems natural 🙂 Smile on 🙂

  • hi els! i find these very useful. thanks for these tips and i hope you can visit my blog. xoxo jen 🙂

  • thank you for these! your photos always look just amazing! 🙂


  • Thanks for this great advice. I have yet to do an outfit post, and said (a few blog posts ago) that I was going to post more pictures of myself and be less shy about having my picture taken. Outfit posts are the best way to do this. I’m also trying to ‘find my style’, and will be documenting this on my blog – so this post was most useful to me!

    Thanks again, Lois x

  • I am really enjoying these photo posts. I purchased a fancy camera thinking that it alone would me ice photos. Boy was i wrong. These are by far one of my favorite parts of your blog, and be happy in the fact that it is making my photos better for sure.

  • Great advice! You do the cutest outfit posts. I’m going to remember all of your tips. Thank you!

  • Such a huge help, I’m always looking for advice on outfit posting. I live on a college campus, so finding places to photograph can sometimes be difficult. But I have loads of ideas for spring on campus! Thanks for the advice!

  • Your shoes are crazy! Now I understand why you have such high heels and platforms, you are 5’4″! Do you have difficulty walking in them all day? Or working in them?

  • Oh I love love love all your tips!!!! These tips are just what I needed as a beginner. 🙂


  • Such great tips. Now I just have to find someone to take photos for me.

  • I’ve always liked your photographs, and I needed some tips to show my clothes in a better way, with me inside. Thanks for sharing!

  • thank you so much for sharing your tips 🙂
    i like taking outfit pictures but i lack of practice, so i will definitely use some of your tips

  • GREAT tips! I’m sort of new-ish to doing style posts and always run out of ideas. Thanks sooooo much.


  • Your blog is better than coffee. I look forward to these posts to motivate me. So helpful and inspiring, every time. Thanks Elsie!
    <3 Katie

  • Thank you! Awesome post!
    Im always a little too scared to do outfit posts! I will have to give it a try.

  • I love these tips because I think it can be very difficult to break out of that ‘I feel silly taking pictures of myself’ viewpoint. But like you said, it can be such a fun experience, if you make it fun!

    I also LOVE all your shoes!

  • great tips!! you guys always have the cutest outfit posts. 🙂

    i was wondering if you could do a post on dressing for different body types? i’m a petit girl (5′ tall) with very very small hips and a medium sized bust (34 B and sometimes C). what are some good tips to make me look less top heavy and more curvy? you guys always have the best tips!

    thanks again for sharing.

  • I love how open you are about sharing tips and advice. It keeps other bloggers inspired and have something to work towards with less tears in the process lol. These are all amazing photos. Thanks for sharing!

    – Sarah

  • This such a helpful post! I love how you’ve given fun examples 🙂
    I’m far too shy to do outfit posts, I worry what people will think! but it doesn’t stop me dreaming of being a cool sometimes fashion blogger 🙂 xo

  • these are such great ideas! i will definitely be trying taking photos from below from now on… anything to make me look taller. 🙂

    i just discovered your blog recently and absolutely love it. thanks so much for all the beautiful photos and DIYs and everything!

    faux style.

  • Fabulous tips (as always)! I’m really enjoying this collection of posts. Filing all this goodness away for when I’m ready to tackle outfit posts.

  • such great tips, thanks for sharing!!! this makes me want to do another 30 for 30 real bad.

  • What brilliant tips that are so helpful in planning shots like this

    Great Ideas for newbies to blogging (like us) starting out, Thanks Elsie!

  • i have been wanting to start doing outfit posts on my blog, but have been putting it off. this information was so helpful. thank you! i look forward to doing regular outfit posts really soon!

  • Oh I love these tips! My hubby and I are getting ready to do a shoot so this was quite timely!


  • Thanks so much for this, Elsie! I’ve tried out outfit posts twice on my blog and found it a bit scary, so having some specific tips to focus on will really help. 🙂 Sarah

  • Great tips! And I love that granny square top in the bottom photo. Looks amazing.

  • thank u so much for sharing this!!! very interesting and I’m definitely gonna follow your tips =)

  • Great tips! I love that you convinced the hubs to get in on your outfit pictures. That will be great for your kids to have!
    Savannah Marie

  • This is really kind of you to share your secrets. I love that you scouted walls- I bet they didn’t realise they were being checked out! Cheers.

  • Your shoes! YOUR SHOES! I want them all! But especially the Jeffrey Campbell platforms! Holy Moly… LOOOOVE!

  • Thanks for this post!
    These are some lovely advice and lovely photos to with them, I’ll be posting a link back to it in my weekend links this week 🙂

  • thanks for sharing! This was awesome! I have been looking to expand my “pose repertoire” for a while so this was incredibly helpful and it looked like you had so much fun doing it!

  • Love this post! So helpful! You girls are masters at this, all of your photos are BEAUTIFUL! 🙂

  • Love this post, Elsie! I’m curious, do you ever use a tripod or does Emma always take your photos/

  • Your tips are always so great! I always think that your back drops are so amazing…it makes me look at things a little differently when driving around town.

    xx Ashleigh

  • SUCH great advice! I will definitely be using all of these tips for when I take my outfit shots! Thanks a ton, ladies!

  • Great tips – and I sure need them. I´m not mainly a fashion blogger but I DO love clothes and would love to show them in a better way. 🙂

  • Ah, great tips! I actually really like how your photos are different from most of other fashion bloggers. Makes them more interesting.

  • Wow, those were some excellent tips, thank you! I whole-heartedly agree that more fashion bloggers should smile in their photos! Some of my favorite product shots in my shop are the random outtakes where I’m just starting to crack up–who wants to look at a scowl, anyway? 😉

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