If you are a mom that is worrying over outfits for your family portrait session…or if you are a photographer looking for tips to pass onto your clients, these 6 tips will make picking out your outfits EASY. I also have created a Pinterest Board so you can gather more ideas and inspiration…remember don’t copy the outfits to a “t” gather inspiration and still be YOU!
These first three tips are from Erin Rachel Photography- straight from me! The others are from fellow photographers who contributed to this blog post!
1- Be YOU!
My first tip that I give my clients when they ask “What should we wear?” Is be YOU. Don’t try to be a magazine cover ( although by the time I get finished with their session they will be magazine cover worthy! hehe) Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Because if you do you’ll be uncomfortable and self-conscious. Just be you.
2- Kick it up a Notch.
Once they tell me their family vibe i.e. relaxed and laid back…or dressy and classy…or one might tell me always in jeans…then my response…now the goal is to “kick that up a notch”. Be you but kick it up a notch…don’t be afraid to go shopping and buy something new, that always makes you feel GREAT. We feel new, clean, modern and chic. Maybe you don’t have to buy the whole family new outfits, maybe you want to because then it’s just fun and exciting!
3- Mama…Pick your outfit out FIRST.
Yes! Lets face it we ladies are the pickiest and most critical…if we can find that outfit that we LOVE…in the colors we love and that we feel beautiful in…then picking everyone else’s outfits becomes a piece of cake. Coordinating around what you KNOW you love and can’t wait to wear, makes it more fun and a lot easier! As seen in this example because mom was comfortable, it was easy for her to dance around with this little cutie and get her to giggle, smile and laugh!
A few tips from fellow photographers who contributed to this post!!
4 Picking colors that coordinate
Coral has been so big in the past two seasons! A great color to go with coral is a nice light blue, which is the perfect color for guys to wear when you don’t have a coral option for them. In these shots, Paula dressed one boy in coral to match herself, and the other two in blue, though the baby had on a coral tie to accessorize it all in together.
A tip for busy moms looking to get ready for a family session: Do it a couple of months ahead, so you have time to special order items online if you need to. Have your children try things on about a week before the shoot, and if possible, give them ten minutes or so to run around in the clothes, so that you know they fit right, look right, and the color is great on them. If they’re wearing a really bright color, check to see if there are “color casts” that end up on their neck, chin, or arms when they wear the items.
And don’t forget the shoes – make sure even your littlest ones have shoes that match, and that fit. If your smaller child is complaining something doesn’t fit, try not to “make them wear it anyways”, because that uncomfortability will transfer over to facial expressions in the photos, even when they try to behave and smile. Older ones usually know how to suck it up well.
Planning ahead takes the stress of off you, and you could even order things one at a time every couple of days, giving yourself space to do it. When you look at the clothing to make sure it all matches and everything looks right, look at it outside, where the light is neutral and there is less chance of a yellow or blue cast from indoor lights. This will help you best determine what matches and, if you ordered online, the exact shades of things.
Layers are a great idea not only for the cold but to add texture and depth to outfits! Yet this family session…turned out it was COLD on the date we had to shoot…this Mama and Daddy took time and planned well.
Fall weather can be unpredictable. It was 28 degrees at the start of this late fall session! You should always plan your outfits accordingly. Yet this family coordinated their coats and scarves, the kids were warm and happy despite the cold weather (mom also brought hand warmers for their pockets and dad had a thermos of hot chocolate waiting in the car for after the session!
6- DON’T MATCH—-COORDINATE
I am all about letting clients express themselves through their clothing choices, so they can be completely comfortable during our session together. If they like scarves, certain shoes, or have a favorite sweater, I encourage wearing these things! However, I believe it’s important to give guidance, especially around ‘Christmas card season’ For this time of year, I encourage fall colors and layers of clothing (because I think color + texture really enhance photos), but I also remind families to avoid matching completely. If you don’t walk around wearing matching outfits during your daily life, I wouldn’t recommend doing that in a photography shoot! Complimentary colors, such as oranges and blues, or yellows and purples, are my favorite color schemes to tell families about. These really pop with fall foliage!
7- Oh Pinterest and the Ideas! Yet don’t copy Pinterest…rather gather inspiration and CREATE your own version!!!
In the new world of Pinterest there is more inspiration for our sessions than ever before. Recently, I had a mom find a picture that she wanted to recreate with her own family. She brought all the supplies and we filed in. Ready. Set. Go. We got it. But while in the chaos of it all, we also achieved some genuine shots of their family. While having Pinterest inspired images are great. It is so much more important to make it your own. Make it your own by setting up the shot as seen in the image. And then let the family respond as they would naturally. Make jokes, makes them laugh, keep the shot relaxed so they can truly get the chaos, emotion or personalities of the family. Sure mom will want to see the one closest to the shot she suggested from Pinterest. But she will love the ones with her families true personalities shining through.
8- Finding the THEME to your Color Scheme
Very often, my clients will ask what to wear to their photo shoot. I can’t tell you how many times they suggest wearing the same outfit, perhaps all black or varying shades of denim. I kindly remind them that gone are the days of white shirts and khakis!
I find that bright, bold colors make the most impact for a visually interesting picture. Since I specialize in families, I suggest finding some outfits that you love and then that will then set the theme for the colors for everyone. A dress that pops or a sweater with great stripes. Then you can choose colors or coordinating prints for the rest of the family to make for a great family dynamic. Mom can wear a nice flowing dress and dad in a plaid or solid shirt picked from a color from the daughter’s dress. Let the outfits and smiles be the focus of the pictures and then the beautiful background compliment what you chose.