Mother’s Day. Family beach vacation. Christmas card session. Congrats for booking. Now you need to figure out what to wear! It’s your session, so wear what pleases you and makes you feel most at ease — your comfort level will show in your clothing choices. That said, people often ask me what looks best in photographs. I can only offer my opinion, but I’ll provide some examples here in hopes you’ll see a look that inspires you as you make your clothing choices.
I love color and recommend people wear colorful clothing instead of matchy looks. It can require more time and thought to pull together, but take a look at some of these images and see what strikes you as fun and relaxed.
If it’s a family session, I recommend starting with a colorful choice for mom and/or daughter. After all, when Mom is happy and feels fabulous, the session will be easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Choose a flattering neckline with a little architectural interest or a fun piece of jewelry. If there is a young girl or two in the bunch, choose a fun print. I love texture, and it adds dimension and personality to your photographs. Sure, it shouldn’t be all about the clothes, but a cohesive look that is fun and age-appropriate is a good way to go. For this fun fall session, Mom started with textured and colorful Matilda Jane ensembles for her daughters, then pulled out solid colors (and a tiny gingham) that coordinated.
Layering is easier to do in the cooler months, but I love how each choice here goes together without looking contrived. Denim, knits, a floral scarf, a corduroy jacket. Everyone looks great, whether they are photographed as a group or on their own.
Here’s a great example of a “this is us” lifestyle session. The daughter chose a fun top and cute braid, and the boys are wearing their favorite duds for beaching, biking and fishing. I typically advise against sporting shirts with bold graphics or logos, but it works at this family’s beach escape.
Consider the environment for your photo session. Darker colors pop against a sunny, watery backdrop. The color is doubled here since I incorporated the reflection into the shot. (#7 and #10 are my kids, along with ten of their first cousins.)
Against a lush, dark green island backdrop, lighter hues worked well. Mom was adorable in her blue dress (note the fun, flattering ruffled neckline), and all the guys looked handsome and at ease in their button-downs.
White can be tricky because in order to expose the skin properly, white shirts can “blow out,” losing all detail against a bright background. White can also take on color casts from nearby objects and clothing. For example, beneath leafy trees, white shirts can reflect some of the green. That said, white can lend a timeless look — especially in black and white portraits.
What about pattern? Sure, why not! Although you don’t want to go crazy with too many patterns, don’t feel like you need to avoid it altogether. I like the mix of big argyles and windowpane pattern here.
And the bigger the group, the more you should incorporate color and texture. My family includes 22 people at our annual beach week. We broke from the khaki and white look years ago, and Mom and I have fun experimenting with color and pattern each year. The younger girls’ knit dresses came from Garnet Hill, and the boys madras shirts are from Kelly’s Kids. The adults stuck to solid colors, so we looked coordinated for the big group photos and the family shots. And with each child sporting color, their individual shots are fun, too.
Chances are you haven’t had an hour-long photo session in a while, so make it count. Feel free to make a quick outfit switch because you will have plenty of new photos to display, share or use on a card. Once these tots were done with the extended family shots, they donned their beachy smocked crab outfits. So cute!
Okay, that’s all for now. I had ideas to post other photos, but between my zany out-of-school tots and my less-than-perfect catalog system for older files, we’ll go with this for now. Hopefully this will give you a few ideas as you plan your next family photos. Contact Jen to book your session. Oh, and follow me on Pinterest for What to Wear boards for both families and couples. Thanks, y’all!