What to Wear Wednesday…with Thomas Nguyen

It’s WTWW…a day late. We won’t go into the technicalities, but I’m thankful to finally bring this post to you from Thomas Nguyen Photography! We are wrapping up our August Urban theme….and Thomas is sharing how to use urban locations to dress your photos!

“What I love about outfit consultations is the chance to work closely with my seniors in putting together unique outfits that will bring out the most of their personality. I then start scouting locations a few days before their session to have a better idea on what the overall conditions will be like at the time of their session.  There are a few things I specifically look for: lighting, wall colors and textures, simple backgrounds, compositional interests like graffiti, the ground especially with painted signs, vertical/horizontal lines using stairs, doors and windows, framing, and places to sit.  Having all this information is important in choosing the perfect location that will not only compliment their look but also create a big impact while striking the right mood to the composition.

Senior Style Guide


Collaborating with Catherine, we decided to go with something more bold and edgy given her love of deep colors.  This included having her wearing reds and blacks and accessorizing her with metal and leather bracelets. I found a local skate park that with bright colors and metal construction and lines that perfectly tied into her style.


Senior Style Guide

Vertical Lines, Texture

With Ally’s blue flannel and solid gray crop top, coming across this very rustic background of muted-metal with bits of orange rust and glass allowing her dark outfit to standout more.  The leading lines from the metal frames also draws more attention to her face.


Senior Style Guide

Simple Background, Texture, Places to Sit, Framing

Ronak’s soft gray tank top and checkered pattern wrap-around contrasted this very simple background texturized with stone shavings to give that extra edgy feel.  The subtle dark vertical lines allowed her to be framed without drawing focus away from her face and curls.


Senior Style Guide

Compositional Interest, Horizontal Lines

 I stumbled upon this background and decided to play off of the graffiti as something cute and whimsical.  With Ally’s white graphic tee and maroon shorts, the brick background still allowed her to stand out.  I had her put on the gray beanie holding a long board to add that extra flair.


Senior Style Guide

Vertical/Horizontal Lines, Framing, Places to Sit

 (Left)  Jazymn decided that she didn’t want to wear any accessory, so I putting her I front of a horizontal metal vent allowing the focus to shift away from her wrists and more to her face and curls.  (Right)   This long concrete hallway was the perfect way to frame her while the whites and blues from the background coincided with her ripped jeans and dressy top.


Senior Style Guide


Framing, Vertical/Horizontal Lines

 Talk about a match made in heaven.  We found this location by accident and once I saw the light orange bricks matching Leah’s orange top and complementary color blue jeans, I knew I had to use it.  Framing her inside the door allowed the bricks to create a nice negative space putting more attention on her outfit and pose.


Senior Style Guide


 One of the coolest and simplest outfits Amy and I put together was this long dress graphic tee. I knew that the outfit had to be the center of focus, so I chose this hallway that framed her perfectly.  The orange bricks and blue door complimented her outfit and shoes while the rusted door contrasted her lighter skin tone.


Senior Style Guide

The Ground, Places to Sit

 While we were walking, we came across this simple directional arrow on the ground.  I thought how cool it would be to have it point directly at Taina, while her flannel and makeup against the gray pavement allowed her to pop.


Senior Style Guide

Lighting, Vertical Lines, Compositional Interest

This was all about structure. I put Donna against this back alley building with it black metal door windows and deep shade to add contrast against Donna’s simple white graphic tee and jean shorts.


Senior Style Guide

Colors, Vertical/Horizontal Lines, Framing

(Left) Dawsyn’s look was more playful and “punkish” using a skirt, knee-high socks and graphic tee that would be in keeping with the bright wall colors and whimsical designs.  (Middle) We added a black jacket to create contrast to the colorful radial background. (Right) It’s all about angles. Shooting her down the alleyway allowed me to create a nice frame with the colors and leading lines pointing directly at her.”


Thanks so much for these detailed descriptions and tips, Thomas! I always love seeing your urban work…I enjoy finding places that work well for “framing” your subject too.
Who else enjoys urban senior photography? Comment below!

Stay Stylish!