You booked the session, decided on the location and now … What to wear? This is probably one of our most frequently asked questions and honestly, probably the hardest part of the session.
Typically, we suggest that outfits coordinate, without being matchy – matchy, and fit your family’s personality. Pick outfits that are classic and timeless, without a lot of logos, graphics or writing. It’s usually easiest to start with one persons outfit and then work out from there.
Style: Everyone’s outfits should match in style. For example, try to stay away from having one person dressed in a cocktail dress and another person dressed more casually in jeans and t-shirt. Going along with this, keep in mind the location of your session when you are picking outfits. That fancy dress might not look right in a field with grasses and weeds, where a flowing summer dress might be perfect. Outfits with lots of patterns and loud colors might overwhelm a park setting, but would be perfect for an urban setting with brick walls or graffiti.
Patterns: Patterns can be used in moderation, and please don’t feel like you need to stay away from them. Patterns can add a lot to a portrait, if done well, and overwhelm a portrait if not. If one person is in an outfit with lots of patterns, try to keep the other outfits simpler, with large stripes, solid colors and simple textures. Try to limit the wording or characters on shirts or outfits, since they can distract and date your portraits.
Colors: Several factors can go into deciding colors of outfits. First off, pick colors that look good on your family. Whites and light grays might wash out pale skin, yet look amazing on tanned summer skin. Seasons also effect colors. Black might not be the best choice for the middle of summer. Typically, browns, creams and oranges, look better in the fall, where as bright colors colors look better in the spring and summer months. Don’t worry about just sticking to one color either. Pairing colors together like blues and yellows, browns and greens, violet and grays, can really add dimension to the portrait. The last thing to think about is your home and where you are going to display your portraits. Try to stay within colors that will complement your home as well. If you are going to hang your family portrait above your mantel, in a room that’s decorated in browns and greens, a portrait where the main colors are purple and blue might not look the best.
Accessories: Here is where you can have a lot of fun! Accessories can be used to add a pop of color, show off personality or just complete your look. Scarves, layered necklaces, shoes, hats, sunglasses, headbands and flowers are just a few fun ways to add some pop and personality to your portraits.
Other things to keep in mind as well:
Babies look great in simple outfits, naked or just in diapers because clothes can sometime overwhelm them when they are so little. Don’t be afraid to bring accessories for them, like hats and headbands, or you can just keep it simple. Either way works, and they are just adorable!
Try to avoid getting a hair cut right before pictures, to avoid the “just cut” look. Stylists don’t always style your hair the way the you would style it yourself and it takes about a week for your hair to grow out of the “just cut” and look natural.
Don’t forget the shoes! In our sessions, we’ll take a variety of portraits, some including full length, head to toe portraits. The perfect dressy outfit can be ruined by sneakers, so please, remember shoes matter just as much as the rest of the outfit!
When in doubt, bring along several outfits, accessories, props, shoes, etc. We can help you decide what will photograph the best for the style of portrait you are trying to achieve. It only takes a little extra time to bring extras along and sometimes it’s easier to decide with a second opinion!
Make sure the outfits represent you and your family. Portraits turn out so much better if you wear clothes that you are comfortable in. If you are a more casual and fun family, then jeans and button down shirts or sweaters might work perfectly for your family, instead of sport coats and ties.
And as always, we are always willing to help figure what look will work best for your family and session!