1. BE YOURSELF. Well coordinated outfits can be done in a variety of styles, and if you are comfortable wearing them, it will show in your images! What kind of a person or family are you? Do you prefer t-shirts and jeans? Maybe you love to dress up, brand names give you thrills, or choosing your accessories is a highlight of your day? Your clothing choices should reflect you. If your favorite days are spent in pajamas, choosing the perfect dress/shirt & tie combo will only stress you out. Some of my favorite photos of my children are in their pajamas! Be true to yourself. Stick to clothing choices that will reflect you and your family. Not only will you feel great during your session, but choosing your outfits will fall into place much easier.
2. COORDINATING IS IN, MATCHING IS OUT! Gone are the days of the white t-shirt and khaki family photos. Choose a basic palate to pull your colors from. You can do this with bright colors or patterns, or a softer, more neutral palate. It can help to have one person with a colorful pattern to pull the rest of your choices from. Keep in mind, white is not the only neutral. Tans, blues, grays, browns, and blacks can also be easy to coordinate. 3. ACCESSORIES. Adding layers and textures will help to create interest in your photos. Scarves, jewelry, leg warmers, hair bows, sweaters, jackets, hats, ties, etc. can be used to add color pops, show your personality and also change things up from photo to photo by removing or adding them as you go. SHOES are extremely important to think about in your photos. A colorful pair of ballet flats, some cute boots, or a hip pair of converse will absolutely make a photo. Likewise, wearing a dirty pair of sneakers will be a noticeable distraction. Going barefoot is a great option too!
4. HOW OR WHERE WILL YOU DISPLAY YOUR IMAGES? If you plan to use your photos for a Christmas card, choose winter-y clothing, such as scarves and hats, or perhaps use red as an accent color. Think about the rooms in your home where you plan to hang your photos, and choose colors that will compliment your decor.
5. BE READY TO MOVE. I am primarily an environmental photographer. While I will definitely get that one "look at the camera and smile" shot, it can be tedious for all involved (especially children) to be told what to do and how to pose for an hour. The majority of your session will be spent talking, playing, jumping, running, laughing, hugging, etc. Wear clothing that you can move in easily. If you opt for a more formal wardrobe for your session, perhaps bring along a pair of shoes that are more comfortable to walk in, as we explore the location your session.
6. PROPS. If you are planning to bring props to your session, make sure they fit the theme and overall look of the session. Choosing items such as a blankie, teddy bear or other lovey will help to portray personality. An antique bicycle built for two, a handmade quilt, or something with meaning are also good choices. I love pinterest and often use it as a resource, but sometimes trying to bring a box of props from all of your favorite pins on your "Family Photos Board" will just end up as a distraction and could take away from the image. Less is more, especially with babies. As a general rule, props should not be bigger than the baby.
7. BABY MILESTONES. Dressing up your babies is so much fun! Unfortunately, sometimes babies just don't love to have their clothes changed. I recommend bringing no more than three outfits, and choosing one favorite to begin with. Some of my favorite milestone images don't even require more than a diaper cover! Leg and arm rolls, baby feet and bellies all fade away too quickly and should be captured so you can remember them!
8. MATERNITY AND NEWBORNS. Think simple. Maternity is all about the belly, so it is important to wear fitted clothing that shows your shape. Shirts and dresses with ruching on the sides or empire waists are also a good choice. Stay away from strong or busy patterns, and opt for more solid colors. Pinks and blues in your wardrobe will answer the question, "boy or girl?" Newborns are best photographed naked, how they came into the world, or with diaper covers and wraps. At this stage, outfits often fit poorly and look awkward. Skin to skin contact between parents and their newborns is a beautiful way to capture the bond, so I often suggest tank tops or tube tops for mom and sisters and even shirtless for dad and brothers. Plain shirts with neutral colors are a good choice as well.
9. SENIORS. I always suggest bringing along at least 3 outfits. Generally, a casual, a dressy, and something in between. Props for seniors are a great way to show off your personality. Varsity jackets, books, and even cars make great statements in your photos. Girls, I strongly suggest a visit to a professional hair and makeup artist before your session. A good makeup artist will properly highlight and contour to help you to look like your best self, even if you don't usually wear makeup. Getting a haircut, shaving, or any removal of stray hairs before your session is also a great way to make sure you look your best!
10. CHOOSE YOUR CLOTHING AHEAD OF TIME. There is nothing more stressful than deciding what to wear the day of your session. (I know, because I have done it.) Running around the house an hour before your session searching for a piece of clothing, or discovering something you need is in the wash can ruin your mood. Choose your clothing and hang it together in the back of the closet. Being prepared ahead of time can help every one relax and enjoy the session.
I am here to help you! Your session is a collaborative effort. I love it when clients include me in the process of choosing outfits. I enjoy receiving pictures of your clothing through text, Facebook, or email, and being added to Pinterest boards, so I can be a resource for you. I want you to LOVE your images!
No matter what you wear, always go back to rule #1. BE YOURSELF, and your images will turn out GREAT!
clothing with characters, logos, or store names will only date your photos and distract from the image.
hair ties around your wrist or watches that do not add to the overall look of the session.
clothing with stains or holes. If you have pets, check your clothing for fur and use a roller to remove any before your session.
clothing that is uncomfortable. You and your children should be ready to relax, move, and have fun during your session!