With every new client, the number one question I get is: “what should I wear?”
I always answer the same way: I recommend wearing light, neutral tones as these tend to turn the focus onto the people in the photos rather than their clothes.
“Why not share this with everyone? So this is exactly what I share with my clients.”
I quickly learned to give the information to new clients before they even asked. I made up a few wardrobe guides, created a Pinterest board, and saved it into my “New Clients” computer folder. But I got thinking… why not share this with EVERYONE? So this is exactly what I share with my clients. Whether you choose to work with me or not, I hope this is a helpful resource for you to use in your next family portrait session, or even if you want tips on what to throw on your kids the next time you want to get creative with your own camera!
1. You want to be comfortable, and you want to feel attractive.
There’s nothing worse than having to fidget with a waistband or pull at a shirt. If you don’t pick comfortable clothing, you won’t be comfortable (Who knew?!) and that will definitely transfer through to your mood and how you present yourself during your session. While comfort is top priority, a close second would be presentation. Obviously you don’t want to show up looking like you just binged the entire first two seasons of Parks and Recreation. (But you definitely should binge the entire first two seasons of Parks and Recreation. Pro tip: start with the second season.)
Also stick to make up and hair styles that aren’t too extreme or new to you, but feel free to dress up a bit more than what you wear to the grocery store! If younger children
aren’t used to wearing headbands, hats, etc. don’t force them to wear any for pictures; laughs are much better than tears.
2. Plain colors and prints are best.
Avoid clothes with distracting colors (read: NO fluorescent!) or illustrations. Graphic shirts can be fun day to day, but are usually a no-go for portraits: they are very distracting, get cut off awkwardly, etc. Appropriate prints would be stripes, florals, conservative plaids, polka dots, etc. This is where you can show your personality, so if bold and bright is you, have fun! Just please, please promise me you won’t show up with a character shirt.
Take a look at my Pinterest board to get a feel for different patterns that could be really fun to incorporate!
3. Choose colors and styles that compliment your location.
Your outfits should match the activities that normally happen at your location. You also want to make sure the whole family is dressed for the same occasion. If Dad is wearing a tuxedo, Mom and kids should be wearing formal clothing as well. Insider tip: if you want to wear heels, make sure to bring easy slip on shoes for walking to/from the session location.
You also want to dress for the weather. Nothing will make you feel more uncomfortable during your session than being too hot or too cold. If your portraits are in the dead of Winter, don’t show up with a sun dress. If your portraits are on the beach, maybe consider wearing a cute swimsuit cover up or a more casual, playful outfit.
4. It’s OK if everyone doesn’t match.
There’s a reason the families wearing all denim made it into “Awkward Family Photos.” I typically suggest picking 1-3 favorite colors and building from there. If you love blues, take two different hues (navy and light blue) and add a neutral color (cream, gray, white, etc.) and if you’re feeling crazy, maybe an accent color (blush pink) and there is your color palette! Just make sure everyone has one or more of these colors, and you’ll be good to go! If this seems like to much, searching for “color schemes” on Pinterest or Google can help you get started. Pick a favorite and use that!
This method is a great way to allow kids’ personalities to shine. If they have a hat that they LOVE and never take off, you’ll want to remember them wearing the hat in family portraits too. (And we can take it off for a few photos as well.)
5. The socks need to match the pants, not the shoes.
Self-explanatory. You also don’t need to wear shoes depending on your location! If you’re having an in-home lifestyle session, it may look a bit odd if you’re cuddled up on your couch with your cute gray booties.
If you have specific or follow-up questions or are interested in booking a portrait session and practicing these tips with me, I’d love to chat!