Just as soon as a session is booked, I always get asked “what should we wear?” And with an entire weekend of mini-sessions coming up, I thought now would be the perfect time to give a few tips. . .
I respond to the question with a few basic rules:
*Pick things that express your personality and style
*Go with “coordinating” rather than exactly “matching”
*Avoid logos. . . the eye tends to go straight for those things, rather than the subject, when looking at the pictures.
*Choose varying colors and textures to create visual interest.
In chilly weather, you want to avoid bulky coats, but do dress yourself and especially the kids warmly. Cold kids = unhappy kids, and that shows in the photos. I recommend long underwear and layers. Cute hats and colorful mitts are great for adding personality and a pop of color!
Just some simple hints, but it can be daunting when standing in front of your closet (and your spouse’s and kids’). Trust me, I can empathize! I’ve had my family in front of the camera several times and I’ll let you in on my thought process for making this all-important decision, with the hope that it will help you with your own decision!
The basics for our photos: we had Mom, Dad, 3-year-old boy, and 1-year-old boy; and we were doing outdoor photos on a ranch, with a very “western and Montana” feel.
The not-so-basics are that I wanted a relaxed and casual, yet pulled-together, feel for the photos. These are images that I planned to display prominently in our home, likely as a large canvas. I wanted to look good, but to also look like our own genuine selves on our best day. Since I had planned to have these photos hanging up, where we’d see them daily, I also wanted to be sure that we were wearing colors that we like. And colors that coordinated with our house decor. It may sound silly to dress to match your furniture, but picking outfits based on my son’s favorite dinosaur t-shirt (which is bright primary colors) would mean that we have photos that really clash with the more neutral tans, browns, and earthy blues and greens in our family room.
This leads me to one more important tip — pick all of the outfits for the family as if you were dressing one person. No, your 3-year-old won’t be wearing 5 layers of clothing, but if he did throw everything on, you’d want it to coordinate. Lay all of the outfits together on the bed and see how they work together. You wouldn’t dress yourself in head-to-toe denim or black or white. You’d have different–but complementary–colors, different textures, some fun accessories.
Final tip is to start with the person that is hardest to dress or the one who has the outfit you just must have in your photos. Then build everyone else outfit around that.
This is what I went with first :
I started with the denim romper for the baby, which I think is adorable, classic, yet a bit whimsical. It went well with our western theme without being costume-y. Next, came the shirt for Dad, which coordinates with baby’s outfit and is completely his style. Next, I found the cute dress for myself at Target. It ties in with the other outfits, but adds a nice pop of color and pattern. Finally, I realized that the madras tie that came with the shirt for the 3-year-old (from Old Navy) picked up the same colors as my dress.
And this is the resulting photo (thanks to Suzie Mauro!):
I knew we would have the chance to change outfits so I went a little more traditional, not quite as western. For a full session you can plan for at least 1 outfit change, if you’d like; for a mini-session there isn’t really time for everyone to change but you can bring a coat or different scarf/hat to change up your look quickly. I stayed in our favorite color palette and kept the romper I loved for my youngest son. Then I picked the fun skirt for me and added attire for my older son and husband and had the grouping on the left. The best images have visual interest, and while the outfits were nice, there is a lot of white. Notice how the feel changes just by switching out my white shirt for a light blue shirt:
At the photo shoot, my husband ended up just keeping the same shirt he had on for the first set of pictures. I think that was a great choice and I’m thrilled with how this image came together!
Hopefully those tips help you. If in doubt, give me a call before your session and I can give you more advice. Or you can even bring a suitcase full of clothes and we’ll go through it before your session!
Before wrapping this up, I thought I’d share a little more inspiration from a few of my fabulously dressed clients: