What Should I Wear?
Outfits for your portrait session- what to wear
You’ve put in the time and investment to schedule a portrait session! Good for you! Now I want to help you choose a wardrobe that will give you exactly the kind of portraits you are hoping for. Follow these simple steps and choosing your session outfits will be a breeze!
#1: Color Scheme
What mood are you looking for in these photos? Your outfits will play a HUGE role in creating the tones of your portratis.
If you are wanting something light and airy, you need to choose light, neutral colored outfits. If you’re looking for something more deep and vibrant, you are going to need to choose deeper, more vibrant colors.
If you aren’t sure yet what vibe you would like from your photos, check out Instagram or Pinterest. Start looking around and compile a small group of photos that you really love. What do they have in common? From there, you’re welcome to head over to my Outfit Inspiration Page on Pinterest. Start getting an idea of what colors look good together. Lets think 3-5 colors per family (you can get away with a couple more for larger extended families). One to two colors should be eye catching (focal) colors and the remaining colors being supporting (more neutral) colors.
#2: Most Important Rule
I know you, Mom. You’re used to putting your kids and your husband first and that’s awesome. I’m right there with you. But I’m giving you permission…. no… I’m flat out telling you ABSOLUTELY you MUST choose your own outfit first. Don’t argue. I’m the professional. This holds true whether you’re getting ready for newborn portraits or family portraits. You’re investing in these pictures of your family. You took the time to research photographers. You’re looking for outfits. Chances are 90% of the time you’re the one behind the camera instead of in front of it with your family. Your family deserves to have some beautiful pictures with you IN them. And if you get these pictures back and you don’t LOVE how you look in them, you know where they’re going to end up? In the trash bin.
SO… Your outfit gets chosen first. Find something that makes you feel gorgeous!
A few hints to help you find something that looks great: If you want to wear something flowy then pair it with something fitted. (Flowy shirt, skinny jeans. Flowy skirt, fitted blouse). Just a quick FYI: Low cut shirts or short skirts limit the kinds of poses we can do. Don’t be afraid to accessorize! You can add a hat, necklace, earrings, belt, strappy sandals. Just make sure your outfit doesn’t have too many focal points. If you’re using an awesome accessory then keep your outfit colors/patterns neutral and simple. Take a picture or two of yourself wearing your outfit just to see how it translates in camera. Once you know what you want to wear, then you can move on to-
Most men probably don’t care a lot about what they wear for a photo session. If yours does, that’s wonderful! Have him join you in picking out outfits for himself and the kids. Otherwise, narrow it down to a few options and let him decide.
For men, I always suggest something fitted. Baggy clothing is out, and a little dressed up is better than too casual. For casual sessions, I recommend a button-down shirt with sleeves rolled to the forearm or elbow or a sweater. You can pair this with jeans and some nice shoes (not sneakers). For more formal portraits I would suggest a blazer- you can accessorize with a tie, belt, suspenders, boots.
If your husband absolutely doesn’t care what he wears, then feel free to choose the kids outfits first and come back to his at the end.
This is where your color scheme really comes into play. Use your kid’s outfits to pull in the colors in your palette. Be sparing with patterns (maybe one focal pattern in the family). When it comes to patterns, bigger is better! Small, tight patterns sometimes get weird in camera. Use accesories to help pull in some of the other colors you’re using.
Kids are similar to dressing adults but I’ll add a couple of things to watch for. Try to stay away from anything with pictures/logos. They’re just distracting and you want everyone’s attention on those cute FACES. For the same reason avoid sneakers that are colored. I always prefer dress shoes but if you must bring a family member in sneakers, make sure their colors are neutral and non-distracting.
For little girls in dresses I strongly recommend a pair of bike shorts underneath in a matching neutral color. You moms of girls hear me. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
While shoes seem like an afterthought, they can make or break your portrait session. In general, we don’t want to even notice them! When you show your portraits to your family and friends, you want them looking at your cute family and your kids sweet faces. A bright pair of shoes will pull that attention directly down to the bottom of the portrait, away from where we want the focus to be.
I always recommend going with more formal shoes than casual. Typically we don’t want to see anyones toes (unless mom is sporting a pretty pair of heels), and we definitely don’t want to see any bright sneakers. Stick with neutral colors. Sunday shoes are a great option. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is a great time to bargain hunt at a thrift shop like kid to kid or uptown cheapskate.
Where to Shop
There isn’t really a right or wrong here. I’ll just share a few places I recommend.
I’ve found some great outfits for my family on Amazon.com. I especially love their Try Before You Buy program- clothing that is a part of this program will be labeled as such. They’ll ship it out and you have a week to decide if you want to keep it. When we had our OWN family photos I chose a few outfits for myself and my husband and simply returned the ones we didn’t use.
Joyfolie has really beautiful dresses for girls. They periodically run sales, so if you time it right you can get a great deal. My girls always get compliments on their dresses from here.
Baltic Born is a great one for mom. They have a huge selection of clothing, whether you want a dress or something more casual.
H & M has very cute kids clothing in more neutral colors. I tend to enjoy their actual store more than their website.
If you have a store you think should be added to this list, please let me know!
Keep in Touch!
I’m SO HAPPY to look over your outfit choices as you’re in the decision-making stage. Seriously. Send me a text or email with some pictures and I’ll 100% let you know what I think will work best. I want you to be as happy as can be with your portraits, and a big part of that is choosing really awesome outfits for your family!
DON’T HAVE A SESSION SCHEDULED YET? CONTACT ME AND LET’S GET YOU ON MY CALENDAR!