One of the most common questions I’m asked after a session is booked is what should I wear and how do we pick out our outfits? I recently booked a session for my own family (to welcome baby girl Logan Elaine). I wanted to walk you through the things I considered for our family session and tips I regularly recommend to my clients.
1) Consider the back drop and location. Think about where your session will be taking place. You’ll want to pick colors that contrast with the backdrop so that you stand out from the backdrop. If you’re dressing children, you’ll want to consider their comfort in combination with the back drop. Photographing kiddos can be tricky already, add an extra level of uncomfortableness and things can get even trickier! Consider the temperature, if it’ll be chilly, plan for cute layers (sweaters, blazers, even a family favorite blanket). If it’s hot, consider comfortable items that aren’t stiff or sticky.
2) Pick a palette. There’s several ways you can select a palette for your session. Right off the bat, I recommend avoiding all white, all black, neon shades and bright reds and oranges. These colors either reflect the coloring of their surroundings, or don’t photograph well with most skin tones. A palette can be monochromatic, meaning different shades of a single color you like. If you use a monochromatic palette I highly suggest adding at least one-two patterned items to add some depth. A palette can also be contrasting, and comprised of different colors that contrast each other. Examples of this look like burgundy and gold, or a light teal, light yellow and cream. Typically the contrast of these types of palettes create enough depth without adding a patterned piece for interest, but for big groups a subtle patterned piece can pull things together. Other ideas to pull a contrasting palette together is to alternate the color of accessories with that of the outfit (ie those wearing burgundy wear a gold bow in their hair or bow tie) or consistently complimenting colored accessories for everyone (ie brown shoes, brown bracelets, brown hair accessories).
3) Mom picks first! Momma, I already know you’re the one reading this while your kids are sleeping or while sitting in your car on your lunch break. Don’t rush out and buy every ones outfits, and then try to fit yourself in. You deserve to be confident and comfortable. Select your outfit first, and then select everyone else’s pieces to match. I’m not kidding, don’t skip this step!
4) Don’t spend a fortune on (kids) clothes. You already booked the session, that was an investment. Now the outfits look like they’re adding up. I highly encourage you to thrift pieces if you can, especially for your children. I always recommend Once Upon a Child for fun textured or layering pieces especially. Old Navy and Gap routinely have 40-60% off sales with basic colored pieces for everyone in your family. Target's Art line has great priced layering pieces. And you really never know what wins you can find at thrift stores.
I'm always here to help with final wardrobe selections, don't hesitate to reach out. And just so you can get a feel, if you're interested, here's images from my wardrobe for my recent sessions with sweet friend and colleague, Esther Edith, Doula and Photographer.
I used a contrasting palette for our maternity session. The image in my cellphone photo on the left was after the arrival of my olive colored gown. (I picked first! Don't forget that, especially for a maternity session.) Things I considered when planning this session...first that it was really warm out so I needed to dress my girls and husband in outfits that they wouldn't get too toasty in. Ditto to the shoe situation...we're all wearing Toms or Vans, this location is a bit tricky to access and required climbing down a short rocky trail. I advise against flat white, my oldest daughter loves cream and lace outfits...her dress IS textured and looks extra lovely in closer shots. These outfits were new, I know, shame on me. But the only reason I "purchased," new is because I had a hefty Nordstrom gift card collection.
These outfits were for our lifestyle newborn session. I picked first! Crucial especially when you're a post partum momma. (See what I did there? Moms always pick first! Always!) Another contrasting palette...I especially wanted that for our master bedroom that has a white shiplap accent wall and white bed spread. My patterned piece pulls the other colors together. My Lucky Brand shirt is from Value Village, as you can see on the tag in the cell phone image. The pink frilled top (texture is GOOD!) is also thrifted, as is the white lacey tank for my oldest. My baby is rocking a Tula blanket. My husband repeated his top from our maternity images. Everyone wore stretchy jeans so they were comfy bending and curling up on the bed.
A second wardrobe for our newborn images here. I picked another top I felt comfortable and confident in post partum. (I picked first!) I kept the lacey top for my oldest, she loves it. My middle kiddo wore a denim and embroidered dress (texture!) that was thrifted. I wanted some contrast with our couch in this photo but not something that was so much that it clashed with our curtains. Challenging, but doable. Little baby is rocking another Tula blanket. (Dressing newborns is over rated, am I right?) This setting is a little warmer as we don't have central AC and our master is air conditioned. That's why little Channing is in a dress, uncomfortable toddlers are a ticking time bomb. My hubby is not wearing what I planned for him, but he still looks handsome right? HAH - newborn sessions have lots of room for flexibility.