Here are some general guidelines of what clothing works, and what doesn’t, for your upcoming photography shoot.
Rule #1 – Clothing should complement your look, not complicate it!
Out are the days of everyone wearing khaki pants or blue jeans with white shirts. These days photography is taking on a much more candid, editorial style. We recommend choosing a color palette with 2-3 colors and dress everyone around that. The goal is to have everyone comfortable and complement each other, and not be too “matchy-matchy.”
Rule #2 – Determine who is the most difficult to dress and figure out what they are wearing first.
Then dress everyone else around them. Makes it a lot easier than trying to shop for specific colors first.
Rule #3 – Classic colors are best.
When determining your color palette, neutrals (whites, creams, beiges, grays, browns, etc.) and season colors always look best. Trendy colors and patterns will only date your photos faster and fluorescent colors tend to reflect onto faces, necks and hair. You want something that you could have worn 10 years ago, and still wear 10 years from now.
Rule #4 – Avoid any big logos, graphics or loud patterns on shirts.
Paw Patrol and Spider-Man are cute for playtime, but can look out of place in your portraits. Jeans, overalls, sun/slip dresses are classics and photograph well. We especially like boys in jeans and plains tees, and girls in simple sundresses; weather permitting of course. Adults look best in solid colored tops, while kids can wear more variety and simple patterns.
Rule #5 – Layers are your friend.
Not only do layers and textures look fabulous in photos, but they will make it easier for you to coordinate outfits and will add variety to your photos. You will be amazed how a simple outfit can be transformed by the adding of hats, scarfs, necklaces, etc. Anthropologie, Free People, J Crew and Gap Kids are great places to seek inspiration when deciding what to wear. By adding a blazer or fun hat, not only does it make the picture appear more complete, but you can drop the layers toward the end of the shoot for a completely different look.
Rule #6 – Shoes matter!
Most women know how the right shoes can make or break an outfit. So please don’t skip that rule when it comes to your family portraits. Stay away from character shoes, cheap flip flops and crocs. We recommend boots, leather sandals, Converse, Toms, Sperrys, Joyfolie, mary janes and other similar classic style shoes. And always, barefoot is an adorable option, especially with small children and babies. We would much rather see dirty bare feet than the bottom of their shoes.
Tips for Women
Be aware of your body type. Know what your flaws are, what your assets are, and dress accordingly. If you’re a curvy girl, wear something properly tailored that really shows off the curves of your body. Avoid anything baggy since it will make you look bigger in photos. If you’re a petite girl, dressing in layers will help avoid the “anorexic” look, but don’t go for anything poofy or with big shoulders/sleeves or it might end up swallowing you in the images. No matter what you choose, make sure you can cross your arms comfortably without the shoulders riding up. If you’re an athletic girl, avoid the urge to play up your killer arms or rock-hard thighs. Unfortunately, without sophisticated studio lighting, it can be hard to capture muscular definition in photos, and so heavily-muscled arms and legs can end up looking more like fat.
Tips for Men
Remember to match the “tone” of your lady’s outfit. If she is dressy, you should be too. Be aware of your location, and dress appropriately. If you’re going somewhere very edgy and urban, wear something sophisticated and dressy. If you’re going somewhere artsy and whimsical, go for trendier styles and fun layers. If you’re going somewhere natural like a park, wear something more romantic and light. If you’re going somewhere casual and relaxed, pick an outfit you would feel comfortable lounging around in with your friends. The more formal the portrait, the darker your colors should be.
When in doubt, pull together multiple outfits and we will be happy to lend a suggestion.
To help you further visualize what is possible, check out our Pinterest board HERE.