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 colours 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!
One of the most common questions I get asked during the planning stages with my clients is "What should we wear?." Advice on what to wear at your photoshoot has changed over the years. No longer are white shirts and jeans on everyone the trend. I am more than happy to discuss your clothing choices, help you narrow down your decision, or give you a direction to focus on as well as make sure that your clothing coordinates well with the locations chosen for your photoshoot!
Use colours & patterns
Colours are everywhere around us and bring things to life… why not bring your images to life as well! Again, be sure the colours 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!
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 a neutral color palette (think organic tones!). When in doubt go for a classic look and style that still allows you to incorporate your own flair into the outfit with fun accessories. Still be YOU, never forget that!
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. The same goes for adults. Wear clothing that YOU feel good in and the pictures will eliminate 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 - we’ll just plan the session for a rainy day and bring along some fun umbrellas =). Remember, you want to capture everyone as they are NOW!
Let your personalities SHINE
Dress for the season & 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, 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 beach sessions, we’ll all kick off our shoes since we’ll end up splashing in the waves at some point! Some locations are best suited for flats or wedges, and this is something we will discuss as part of styling your session. If you want to rock those fancy stilettos, we’ll make sure to find the perfect location that won’t leave you walking on your tiptoes the entire session.
One of my favourite “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 an entirely different look.
These are YOUR images and of course, you want them to speak volumes about you and your family. Discuss things your family enjoys doing together and bring “props” and accessories that will help compliment who you are. If your family enjoys playing music together, bring your instruments to your session. If your family enjoys boating, suggest doing your session on a boat or at the very least near the water. Bring along items that will represent who each individual is AND who your family is collectively.
Typically, not something everyone will keep in mind before their session. However, I always encourage clients to think about their home, 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 decor in mind and ensure that it all blends into your home. This will ensure that any large portraits will coordinate beautifully.
Remember where you came from
Make sure you have given yourself enough time to think about all of the details of your session. Plan ahead so that #1 you can truly think about your photos and everything you want out of the session, #2 you aren’t rushing and stressing out right before your session, and #3 if you have decided to go for a new look for your session or someone gets a bad haircut, you still have time to fix things if you need to.
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 for touch ups as there may be lots of smooches in story from your partner and little ones!
If time allows it, bring another set of outfits. Again, you will get a lot more variety in your shots so why not capitalize on the opportunity and get the most bang for your buck!
I’m all for a sassy pair of shoes, however they may make for a very long and painful session. If you plan on wearing heels, be sure to bring a pair of flats or flip flops that can help you get from point A to point B without any pain. You can just swap them out as you need to.
Ladies & their shoes
I know I just gave you a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your portrait session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future memories are the most important thing to me, and I want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And I’ll take care of the rest!