Finally I am taking the time to write about one of my most favorite planning topics, outfits for your session! I feel this is one of the things that stresses everyone before their photo session. They’ve met me and booked their session, chosen their location and are now looking from store to store for the right outfit for their photo shoot. If it’s for a family shoot with multiple kids, even more stressful right? Well it doesn’t have to be. The pressure to get everyone looking great for picture day doesn’t mean you have to break the bank either. These tips are strictly clothes related so I hope that the next time you are shopping and preparing for your session they will help ease up the stress. But before I get into the specifics, these are some general tips I believe apply to every kind of photo session.
- Plan ahead. This by far is the easiest tip I can share. Unfortunately though, I have heard of many of my girls waiting till the very last minute (such as the day of) being at the store trying their best at putting something together. Although this may totally work out, it’s best not to be stressed that day if your items don’t fit, or just don’t look well together. If its something you already own, make sure it’s clean so that you’re not caught running laundry the same day. Or if it’s an item that needs to be dry-cleaned, give yourself at least a couple of days to get your item back. All of these scenarios I’ve encountered and can easily be avoided with a little planning.
- No logos or characters. It’s a very rare thing for me to suggest that anyone would be photographed with any a shirt with a logo or let’s say a Mickey Mouse on it. It’s distracting and makes our session feel a bit too casual. Sure on many of the #twintuesday posts you might see my boys wearing something that goes totally against what I just said, but remember that wasn’t their picture day. Keep those cartoon shirts for random at home pictures.
- Avoid wearing lots of white. White is one of those love and hate colors when it comes to photos for me. My biggest concern is that white can reflect light very easily and become blown out in pictures, meaning the clothing item looses texture and detail and looks just like a bright light. The next thing about white is that it gets dirty very easily. But in all other cases, white is very clean and timeless, and if you are considering wearing white as a big staple color for your session let me know and we will see what we can do so that it’s not a problem.
- Avoid being “too trendy”. Maybe in the fashion world what’s in today is wearing pants under your skirt or dress. But that trend may be over in just a month or two. Think about your outfits in more of a classic way. These pictures will be treasured throughout the years and you wouldn’t want the only thing to stand out to be your shoes, hair-do or tie-dye t-shirt.
- Think about your setting (background) and plan accordingly. If you happen to be shooting in a green field, maybe wearing green isn’t such a good idea…
- Patterns & Textures. Patterns although I love them (especially a small polka-dot) should be used sparingly. Too many patterns together will make the overall image look and feel busy, something we wouldn’t want. Textures however are your best friend. They add a little something to your clothes that translate very well in images. Textures such as knit, lace, corduroy, leather, velvet and so forth depending on how they are being used are a great way to liven up a plain cotton look.
- Make sure undergarments are not visible for any of the family members.
Family Session Outfit Tips
- I am a big fan of soft colors for family sessions. It limits the pop of attention to any one family member that happens to be wearing the brightest color. For example, if Mom and Dad were in black, and the kids in different colors, blue, yellow and red… who ever is in red would definitely stand out above everyone else.
- Choose two-four colors for your group portraits. I’d say three because I love the balance it brings. For example – blue, khaki and white – pink, navy and ivory – black, blue and ivory – peach, blue, khaki and ivory.
- Coordinate your colors. Try not to match your colors precisely such as everyone in white shirts and blue jeans. That’s a a look that has long faded with time. In the pictures above, the families have chosen to coordinate colors and incorporate a bit of pattern and texture. If you must match your colors, for the sake of feeling put together, switch up the texture in fabric and maybe add a print to keep it all from looking like a uniform style.
- Keep in mind where these pictures are going to be displayed in your home when choosing a clothing color scheme just as you would also do when choosing a location.
- Compare all the outfits at home together before picture day. Laying them out on your bed is fine if you don’t want to make everyone try them on together.
- Find the adults clothes first. I find that its much easier to shop for the kids once the colors have been decided by the parents instead of the other way around.
- Keep your clothing COMFORTABLE. Kids hate being uncomfortable and bribing them to wear something you know will be an issue is already setting ourselves for a disaster.
- Go for a formal look. Would you like to uplift the look of your session a bit even if we are taking a stroll through the park? Let’s do formals. You can skip the heels and bring flats if we happen to pick a park with no pavement.
- Dress the kids differently. I wouldn’t pick picture day to make everyone look the same. Even if they are twins. I’m a twin mom and I happen to LOVE dressing the boys alike for certain things. But most days, and especially for something as special as picture day, I like to let their personality shine and let them pick which outfit they will wear.
- Dressy casual. Just because the kids are wearing jeans doesn’t mean mom and dad have to as well. Bring out a girly dress and don’t forget to accessorize. Dad will look great in a pair of chinos instead of blue jeans. I know I said comfort… and there’s nothing quite like throwing on a pair of jeans, but if you can convince him to do otherwise… I highly suggest it.
- For young girls: Big bows or anything (other than a hat let’s say) that draws too much attention away from your daughter(s) beautiful face is distracting. I’m not saying not to accessorize, but to do so in a petite way. Sometimes a big bright bow will steal the show and we wouldn’t want that to be the case.
- Mix and match. A little bit of dressy with a bit of comfort.
- Bring extra clothes for a second outfit change. Yes, I know coordinating one outfit may be tough enough, but once you get the hang of it it’s so much fun!
- You might of noticed I’m a fan of pinks and blues. That’s just my personal taste. I also love neutrals. In my opinion they photograph very well no matter what your setting is. Thats why most of the time I will tell my families that if you stick to the blues, pinks and neutrals there is no wrong way to match it all up.
- Give it a bit of your personal touch. Add a pendant necklace that was given to you as an anniversary gift. Or maybe your grandmother’s pearl earrings. Something that years down the road you will have as a keepsake and would love to look back at yourself wearing.
- If your baby is still too young to walk… keep them barefoot for awesome baby toes pictures! They grow so quickly and capturing their bare little feet is one of my favorite things to do during a baby session.
Every outfit in these idea boards has been put together by actual stuff on sale right now at these following stores:
Up next in the series will be Step Three: Choosing Outfits · Engagements. I’m putting together lots of idea boards for these that I hope will inspire you all to take on coordinating your own outfits. Let me know if this post has helped you in a comment below and I will continue to write these kind of instructional series. Have a great week everyone and enjoy a just because shopping trip after reading all of this!