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What to Wear

Check out my “What to Wear for Families and Groups” board on Pinterest for more inspiration!


 Coordinate Outfits

Now this doesn’t mean everyone has to 100% match with khaki pants or jeans and a white shirt!  You want to COMPLEMENT each other’s outfits by choosing colors that work well together.  I find that if everyone is wearing the same clothing, people will all tend to blend in together and there won’t be too much pop and life to the images.  Coordinate VS. Matching…. let’s not get cheesy! Dark colors tend to be more slimming, and typically I recommend avoiding white. Instead if you’re looking for a neutral color, consider grey, tan, or cream.

Use Colors and Limited Patterns

Colors are everywhere around us and bring things to life… why not bring your images to life as well!  Again, be sure the colors you use coordinate with each other and you don’t just end up looking like one big rainbow family! When picking patterns, choose smaller ones that won’t distract attention away from the main subject/s. Use patterns sparingly…. if one person is wearing a print, try to avoid putting someone else in a competing pattern.  When thinking about texture, choose different ones that will give photos some interest such as lace, corduroy, denim, etc.  Avoid large logo’s, emblems and graphics like “GAP” and “Old Navy” because again, these will typically distract attention away from the subject.  We want your faces and emotion to show, not promote the clothing company you purchased from!
Be Timeless
For some fashionista’s, this may be a difficult concept, however you are going to want these images to stand the test of time.   Pick outfits that aren’t considered too trendy, but will be able to be enjoyed and displayed for many years to come.  One example of something that is timeless is jeans… classic look and style yet you can still incorporate your own flair into the outfit with your tops and accessories.  Still be YOU, never forget that!
Let your Personalities SHINE!
Perhaps the most important “rule” in my book.  The purpose of these photos is to hopefully capture each individual as they truly are, to capture the family, the relationships, and people in the photos just as THEY are.  Forcing children to wear outfits that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them may cause some anxiety and stress to them which in turn will inhibit really capturing their personalities during the session.  Same goes for adults.  Wear clothing that YOU feel good in and the pictures will emanate those feelings.  If your child wears a pair of rain boots everywhere he goes, it makes the most sense to have him wear them for pictures as well.  Remember, you want to capture everyone as they are NOW.  Capture these moments as they are!
Dress for the Season and Location
Obviously you want your images to make sense.  One typically wouldn’t be wearing jeans, boots, and a jacket to the beach in the Summer so why would you for pictures?  Dress the part and be aware of your location.  For example, if you are shooting at the beach, ladies wear a pretty dress and sandals, put dad in a short sleeve shirt and shorts OR pants (which you can also roll up), put your little girl in a sweet Spring or Summer dress, etc.  You will want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and coordinates in both colors AND styles. For outdoor pictures, I suggest avoiding a lot of white.
One of my favorite “tips” for clothing choices!  In the summer months, this may be more difficult to pull off but during all of the other seasons, definitely layer your outfits.  Not only will it provide more visual interest in each photo but it will also allow a lot more variety in your shots and poses.  Have a ton of images of yourself in just your dress or cute top and jeans?  Throw on a little  sweater or jacket and a hat and you have entirely different look.
Remember Where you Came From
Typically, not something everyone will keep in mind before their session.  However, I always encourage clients to think about their home, their decor,colors, and style of their homes.  Chances are, at some point after your session, you will be ordering prints or digital files.  Why not keep your your decor in mind and ensure that it all blends into your home.  This will ensure that any large portraits will coordinate beautifully.
Keep make-up natural, but still have some on
You will want to avoid using very heavy makeup, but a bit of color on your lips, eyes, and cheeks will help bring you to life in photos.  Be sure to bring some lip gloss with you as well.
Building your outfits:
If I were building outfits for my family this is how I would do it:
  1. Keeping your location and season in mind, start with one person.  Don’t try and think of everyone at the same time.  I find that mom or a little girl makes the most sense since they would typically be the ones wearing a print.  So mom will be wearing a floral print dress (small pretty pattern that is).
  2. Now move on to the next person.  You will be pulling colors from mom’s dress so begin to think about who in the family would look good in what colors.  It doesn’t have to be the exact same color, just something that coordinates. In fact, a palette of 3-4 main colors often looks most natural and gives you more options.  I recommend long sleeves for slimming. Plaid goes a long way. So limit it to one person if you use it.
  3. Accessories can go a long way to adding extra color and interest to your session. Headbands, boots, belts, a bow tie for the little boy or a sassy cute vest. Layers and textures make for a lovely look.
  4. Use natural colors like tan, grey or cream. Avoid too much white as it is not slimming and tends to distract from the picture if there is too much of it.

Remember to check out my “What to Wear for Families and Groups” board on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Thank you to CA based Corina Nielsen for inspiration in this fantastic What to Wear guide and for her inspiration as well!  Check out her blog for more photos and guides.  You also may look at our portfolio for some great ideas as well.


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