The Benefits of Taking Outfit Shots (even if you aren’t a blogger)

I remember the very first time I realized a picture spoke more clearly about my outfit choices than the mirror and my personal opinion. I was in high school on a service trip to Mexico with some classmates. There was this horizontal-striped, brightly-colored t-shirt that I wore constantly. It was my go-to top and in my opinion went perfectly with shorts and a skirt. My mom might have bought it. Or perhaps I borrowed it permanently from her closet. I don’t remember.

On this trip to Mexico I managed to get a great tan, consume my first taste of tequila, highlight my hair red and get my first set of fake nails – obviously as epic trip, full of pictures. A whole album worth of pictures, in fact. When I developed the pics and started placing them in the album I came across a picture of me in my favorite top and was shocked at what I saw – a shapeless mass. A shirt that was neither cute nor flattering.

I never wore the shirt again.

A few years later it happened again. I was obsessed with this oatmeal-colored sweater of my mother’s. I wore it everywhere despite the fact that it was huge on me. I wore it to my best friend’s birthday party and when the pictures were developed I realized how absolutely horrible the whole thing appeared. The sweater was quickly relegated to at-home use only. It became my weekend study-sweater in college; the one I curled up in when no one but my roommate and close friends would see me.

Now I photograph nearly every outfit I wear. And while not all of them make it onto the pages of ModlyChic the act of photographing what I’m wearing each day has become super helpful in my shopping exploits and in purchasing clothing that is flattering and functional. The picture quality doesn’t even matter. Take the photo up against your bedroom door or in your hallway… whatever.

I think everyone can benefit from taking outfit pictures – especially when it comes to favored looks or ones intended for special occasions. A picture allows you to see the look from a third-party perspective. You are no longer looking at yourself in the mirror and unintentionally altering your perception based on outside circumstances – like the event you wore the outfit to or the feel of the material on your skin. You get the chance to see if there are any funny folds or any unflattering lines.

I’m taking my own advice into consideration and taking pictures of my New York Fashion Week outfits to figure out if everything is copasetic before I arrive in the Big Apple and have little time to tweak looks while running between events.

Want to figure out how to take your own outfit shots? Check out my earlier post on taking outfit pictures.

Katy Rose
Filed In: Accessories , How-To

24 thoughts on “The Benefits of Taking Outfit Shots (even if you aren’t a blogger)

  1. Debbie

    What a great idea. Don’t you wish we had polaroid cameras again? I wore a shirt for our church portraits and not only am I missing a necklace, the collar was crooked. What was that photographer thinking? Next time, I will put more thought into it and take my picture first, before I let someone else take it!
    Debbie recently posted..Pleasant surprise

  2. Anja

    I fully agree with you on those horrible outfit choices. Pictures are great to show you exactly how something looks without you or another person talking you into buying something that isn’t flattering. Take my last outfit post for example. I am loving the whole outfit and how pictures came out, but that skirt just makes me look preggers when viewing me from the side, so I need to do something about that asap or the skirt has to go, sad but true. It also reminds me of Clueless – Cher used to take only photos of herself. Still a great fashion movie!!
    Anja recently posted..Back to Black

  3. Amber

    I totally agree: so many times I’ve started taking outfit photos, looked back at the first couple and then gone and changed because they’ve helped me see that the outfit really wasn’t flattering. For some reason, things that look perfectly fine in the mirror can look totally different on camera!

  4. Sophie - Country girl

    Same story, I’ve found out just how different some outfits look from a third party’s point of view. It’s such a shock to see how awful some items look on me, although on the flip side, I have found a few pieces that I was really uncertain about that actually do look nice after all.
    Sophie – Country girl recently posted..A week of ups and downs

  5. Fashion By Alicia

    I completely agree with you. I have loved certain outfits and then I see myself in a picture and the outfit is not flattering. Taking the outfit photos has definitely made me more aware of how things fit and look.

  6. Kaitlyn

    I totally agreeith you about this, I have found the same exact thing to be true for myself. Things don’t look the sane in my mirror as they do in a photograph, great post thanks for sharing!!

  7. dotty

    i am so with you on this. somehow a photograph (even if digital and available instantly) seems to capture an entirely different view of me. i never knew that mirrors could be so biased!
    dotty recently posted..dotty and lucy

  8. Jennifer

    Agreed – great idea. I should probably start doing this ASAP. But another thing to keep in mind, I think, is that when an outfit doesn’t photograph well it doesn’t always mean it’s a horrible outfit choice. Maybe it’s just the styling, or even just how you’re feeling that day! There have been a couple of outfits I’ve put together for an outfit post and they ended up looking really bad on camera. I think that’s also partly due to the fact that I’m still trying to learn how to pose and try new things with my camera. I also think it has to do with styling something new. Or, it could have been because I just really wasn’t that into taking photos of my outfit that day. So yes, I think taking pictures of your outfits (even if you’re not blogging about them) is a good way to see how something looks on you and if how you styled it works too.
    Jennifer recently posted..Link Love

  9. Rachael

    Great post. Outfit photos are also a great way to capture and remember some of my favorite looks. One of these days I might play around in my closet and take pictures of my leather jacket, for instance, worn five different ways. It might make me shop less!

    I hear you on looking back at unflattering outfit photos. The truth sometimes hurts!
    Rachael recently posted..My Two Cents: The Perfect Black Ballet Flat

  10. heidi

    this is great advice. i took daily photos of my outfits for almost a year before starting to post them on a blog and i really helped me define what i think i look good in and different combinations of outfits i could come up with. it also helped to look back and realize if there was an item i hadn’t worn in a while or maybe i was wearing too much.
    heidi recently posted..friday (paisley)

  11. Emily Hallman

    This is such a great post! I agree with you–it’s so important to keep a picture log of our outfits. It truly does help us see the good, the bad, and the ugly. You write very well, I enjoy reading your blog!

  12. Terri

    I could not agree more! And it has been such a revelation to me. In fact, photos are much better than mirrors in that you can study them indefinitely. Plus, it has taught me things about stance, posture, facial expression, and hair. I am generally more aware of light…
    Terri recently posted..Wedding Jitters: Plan B

    1. katy_rose1 Post author

      That’s true. The color is often off. But at least you can see the way it fits, folds and creases. So helpful!!

  13. Shen Dove

    I totally agree with you! You can never really get a full sense of how your outfit looks without a photo. I also like taking photos of outfits to get second opinions from friends or my Mom on if my outfit really works, or if I should try again.

    Remember in the movie Clueless when Cher took Polaroids of her outfits before wearing them! That character was ahead of her time and would definitely be a style blogger if re-imagined in present day!

    1. katy_rose1 Post author

      I totally forgot about the Cher pictures until you mentioned it – That movie and girl were SO ahead of her time. She would totally be THE epitome of an OOTD blogger.


    This is a seriously awesome post. I absolutely agree with you — years ago, before I started a fashion blog (or even considered it!) I always made someone (my mom, the boy I was dating, whoever) take outfit photos of me. Not only was it fun, but it was super helpful (and good practice for my future blogging).

  15. Lea Richmond

    somehow a photograph (even if digital and available instantly) seems to capture an entirely different view of me. It truly does help us see the good, the bad, and the ugly. I should probably start doing this ASAP.
    Lea Richmond recently posted..Arthritis Tips

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