I often get asked by clients “what should we wear?” when they book their photo session. Of course this is totally up to your own personal style, but I do have a few suggestions to keep in mind. These can help you plan your outfits and can give your photos that little something extra.
Here are 6 tips I have for you.
This to me is probably the most important aspect to think about. The days of doing a photo shoot all wearing jeans and white tops is definitely in the past. You want to add some warmth and fun to your images, and that’s why you need to think about coordinating colours and not being matchy-matchy. Your colours don’t have to be the same colour (such as all blue), but rather blend colours that go well together. This can be pastels, neutral shades, or this could even work with bold colours to an extent… although a great idea is to bring in pops of a colour to add some fun rather than everyone wearing bright colours.
Here’s an example of a family who blended navy, white and yellow together well, bringing their outfits together in a great way.
In the below images the family chose a base blend of navy blue/denim, grey and cream… Little baby Eeva was the only one who had a quick outfit change and mom and dad changed their pop of colour to blend with the Eeva’s outfit.
With the first image, little Eeva had a pink top on, so her mom wore a pink scarf and they covered up dad’s shirt collar with a scarf.
In this next image, little Eeva had her outfit change to cream, grey and a touch of a coral colour in the writing on her little top. Mom then changed her scarf to a coral one and dad took off his scarf to show his coral shirt collar underneath… now they all have a touch of the coral colour that adds a colour pop and blends them together.
This is a great way to use that pop of colour to create a few different looks, without having to really do any clothing changes.
Think textures and layers
By adding in different textures and layers of clothing, it gives depth and interest to your images. So, by textures I mean the different textures of materials and accents of your clothing (wool, knit, corduroy, tweed, lace, ruffles and frills, ribbons etc). Having different material textures and adding layers of clothing gives each outfit the detail that brings a dimension of depth to the overall image. Layers also add that little bit of interest and movement to an image. All of this totally helps when an image is converted into black & white… when the colour is gone from an image the textures are important to make the image come alive.
I just LOVE accessories. They are great to add that element of fun to any outfit. Think about scarves, jewellery, head bands, belts, hats, jackets, vests, bow ties, braces etc. etc. These small additions to your outfits can just bring an image alive that would have been perhaps somewhat bland. As I’ve said before, these bits of accessories can change the look of your image without too much effort, which is great! They can also be the pops of colour you want to add to pull together all the outfits… for example if big sister is wearing a yellow flower headband and belt on her dress, then little brother could wear a yellow little bow tie and shoes. This will add that ‘pop’ and fun aspect to the outfits.
You want the accessories to add colour and fun, but you do not want them to take over the image. You don’t want the flower headband on your daughter to be the first thing that people look at in the photo because it is way too big.
Also good to mention here is just to think of all the details of your outfit. Shoes are important (think about how they tie into your whole outfit), no chips in your nail polish, think about your hair and makeup, make sure there are no seams coming undone or buttons missing.. etc. It will make a difference. Photographers love to zoom in and do close-ups during shoots, so think about what those look like.
Avoid bold patterns and logos
Patterns are great, to an extent. I always recommend to avoid bold patterns, large words or big logos on shirts. This can be quite distracting in an image and could take all the focus away from the subjects. If you want to have patterned clothing, that is still ok, but the best way is to have a subtle colouring to the pattern. Or if that one child of yours loves something bold, then let them wear it… but then keep it to only them. One person wearing a bold pattern can be the accent that the other outfits then work around… it can in fact be quite quirky. Many patterns and prints together can become a bit of an eye sore, so remember to limit them if not avoid them entirely.
Think timeless and classic
Try to avoid passing trends that will date. Generally people don’t do photo sessions all the time, so the photos from a shoot will (hopefully) be placed with pride in frames or on a canvas in your home – and for quite some time. By keeping your outfits simple and classic, you know that they will not look too out of date in a year’s time. You don’t want to look back and cringe at the fashion trends you wore or let your child wear at the time. I love this quote… “Fashion is temporary, but style is forever”… so true! Think timeless.
You may want to go out and buy some items of clothing for your shoot, and new items are great… but remember to be comfortable. You want to be yourself and have your personality come through in what you wear, so think about that when you choose your outfit. If you don’t like your arms bare, then why wear that t-shirt that shows them off and feel uncomfortable about it during the whole session? If you feel your pretty top is too tight and you feel uncomfortable, don’t wear it, or add a layer over it that is more loose (and will add depth as well). Think about your kids in new items of clothing that may be awkward, too tight or scratching them… the worst thing is having your little ones feeling uncomfortable in their outfits. Unhappy kids = not a good idea if you want great images!
Also, think about your location. If you are meeting in a park or grassy area, you should probably not consider wearing those pretty heels you have, but rather some great boots or pumps. On the other hand, those heels can be great for a city street location though. Keep in mind the surroundings and be prepared that your photographer may ask you to stand in long grass or sand or to walk a little to get to a great spot.
So, in summary, it’s always good to think of your photo as a whole with all the people who will be in it together. If you have the bigger picture in mind, it will help you to blend and add elements so that your outfits work in harmony. It is sometimes easier to start with the girls’ outfits, as girls’ clothing tends to have more to use and play with. Choose these as the starting point and work everyone else’s outfit around that.
Hope this helped! Thanks for reading, Paige. x