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The 5 Best Colors to Wear in Photographs, Experts Say

Whether you're taking a selfie or heading to a photo shoot, these are the colors to wear.

There's no better feeling than taking a stunning picture. Sometimes, all the components come together: You're wearing the perfect outfit, your hair is precisely in place, and the background of the image looks like a scene from a movie. When it happens, it's like magic. Well, professional photographers create that magic for a living—and they've got a few tricks up their sleeves to make it happen often—including knowing the best colors to wear in photos.

No matter the occasion—whether it's a professional headshot, a video appearance, or a trip to the local bar where you expect you'll take photos with friends—there's a hue to match. Here, find the best colors to wear when taking pictures. They'll make you stand out in the best way.

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The 5 Best Colors to Wear in Photos

1. Navy Blue

Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko / Shutterstock

Navy blue is so classic it's practically neutral. No matter your skin tone or hair color, it'll make you stand out in an image.

Kari Bjorn, a wedding and portrait photographer in Northwest Arkansas, notes that it works for both indoor and outdoor photos but particularly shines outside.

"I always want my subject to pop out of the background, and navy does that in all seasons," Bjorn says. "Navy contrasts really nicely with all the greens in summer, as well as the oranges, reds, and browns in fall."

The color also has a slimming effect that's similar to black without the harshness.

2. Red

woman smiling in front of ocean
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Red is another color that will make you stand out in the best way.

"Red screams attention, and if I want my viewers' eyes to get locked in on someone in my pictures, I prefer them to wear red so that they are the most noticeable thing in the photograph," says Bjorn.

Apparently, it's a common industry tactic: "Life and National Geographic photographers notoriously put people in red clothes for the same reason," Bjorn explains.

If a bright red feels too bold, opt for a burgundy or wine color.

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3. Deep Green

A smiling older woman with gray hair wearing a green sweater sits on the couch with her head leaning on her hand
Vadym Pastukh / iStock

Opt for deep green if you're feeling unique.

"Deep greens can help to bring out the color in the skin and make the subject pop against many backgrounds," says Charles Moll, a wedding photographer in Montana. "The rich color creates good separation between the subject and the background, which helps the subject stand out and creates a more dynamic photograph."

No matter your skin tone, there's a deep green—whether it leans olive or emerald—that will suit your style.

4. White

Portrait of smiling asian girl in white collar shirt, working in cafe
Mix and Match Studio / Shutterstock

Ingrid Leo, fashion expert at Style With Ingrid, explains that white is considered a universally flattering color in photos. "It can give a natural glow to the face and create a fresh, clean aesthetic."

To find the best white for you, head to a department store and try on a range of ivories, creams, and bright whites. One of the pieces will likely make your features pop in an undeniable way.

Leo suggests pairing the color with pearls or silver jewelry to enhance its overall radiance.

The one time you don't want to choose this color is if you're shooting on a white background. It could make you look like a floating head. 

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5. Earth Tones

Outdoor image of beautiful young brunette woman wearing beige sweater
iStock / Yuricazac

You can never go wrong with a true neutral.

"Earth tones, particularly deep browns or beiges, are universally flattering in photography due to their neutral, warm hues that enhance various skin tones without clashing with backgrounds," says Stacy Witten, professional photographer and co-founder of LensesPro. "I often use these colors in natural settings for a visually pleasing composition."

You probably have a few earth-tone pieces in your wardrobe—so throw on whichever makes you feel most confident and head to your photoshoot in style.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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