On of the first things you’ll do after booking your photo shoot is start looking for what you’re going to wear- and that very often starts with shopping for a dress! One of the easiest ways to make your photos look special and eye catching is to dress up more than you normally would. Finding a perfect dress means adding movement to your photos, makes YOU feel beautiful and confident, and affects how you carry yourself, resulting in photos that you’ll feel proud to look back on.

Shopping for a photo shoot dress can be stressful though- where do you start? Figuring out your style and your photo goals is the first step. Do you want something flowy, with a train? Fitted and body hugging? A stunning over the top maternity gown? Something more casual to wear for documentary style photos in your home?

If you haven’t figured out the overall look you want for your photos, I encourage you to go read the What to Wear guide first then come back here once you have a better idea what you want to buy. If one or more people in your photo shoot is wearing a dress, it’s best to pick that out first and then build the rest of the outfits around it.

Note: if you’re my client, please make sure before you buy anything you check out both my Client Closet with outfits you can borrow, and my Wishlist of outfits that I would be interested in purchasing if you wanted to wear them.

Next up is your budget. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot, or an extra special one, you may be looking to splurge and buy a handmade or one of a kind gown, but otherwise you might be looking to find something that feels special but fits the budget you’ve laid out. The list below covers a wide range of styles and budgets, so there’s something for everyone.

Disclosure: Links contain affiliates. When you buy through one of our links we will receive a commission. This is at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Carissa Lyn Photography!

On a budget

Start used

Looking for a designer photo shoot dress, but working on a budget? A great place to start can be buying used. Poshmark is a great option, as well as buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook selling lightly used dresses. Here are some great ones to start:

Buying from Amazon

A next step up may be to buy some dresses on Amazon. This is a place you need to be careful- what you get may not match the description. But there are still some lovely options, I just encourage you to buy ahead so you know what you’re dealing with. Also most of these come in many colors so make sure to check out the options!




Babies & Toddlers

Renting dresses

Renting a dress can be a great option to try out some luxury options if you aren’t looking to buy. It also gives you the ability to help out clients with different styles without having to have an extensive closet available. Most of these options do require booking well in advance though so keep that in mind.

Ready to Invest? some shops to Check out:

For the babies & kids:

For the adults:

Maternity Gowns

Are you a photographer…

…looking for recommendations on where to buy for your client closet? Once you’ve got some ideas, think about making a client closet page to be able to easily show off your offerings: