Now that the trend of everyone wearing perfectly matching outfits is behind us (can we get an “Amen”?) clients are often left wondering just how to put a coordinated, balanced look together for their family - especially since the clothes that look great in person, are not always the clothes that photograph well. There are some special tricks to putting a cohesive look together for a photoshoot, and I'm here to offer some help for those of you who may want it:
casual, cute and coordinated
Most of my shoots are out in nature; on local trails, parks or lagoons. Rich, warm tones complement these scenic locations nicely, as do neutrals. You'll want to coordinate color choices; you and one child could have the same colored shirt, for example, but with different color bottoms. Your partner and other child's color combinations should complement, but not match, yours. It's also fun to play around with different shades of the same color, as long as the overall tone (warm vs cool) is the same. Navy, mustard, maroon, jewel tones, goldenrod, deep burnt orange, all 50 shades of grey, (haha), and denim work well together. And choose a nice ivory/cream instead of bright white - pure white tends to glow in photos and make us look larger.
You will want to avoid anything too formal; just a nice cotton or jersey dress, or jeans with a cute top works well. For men, swap out the dress slacks for denim or twill. Patterns can be tricky so unless you're a pro at pairing them...have one family member at most in a pattern. A nice floral dress for you, or a striped or plaid shirt on him is enough pattern for one family. Also, avoid large logos or shirts with graphics or words on them since they can be a little distracting and pull focus.
As Moms, we tend to buy new clothes for our children in a size they can grow into to get the most wear out of it. But children's little bodies look best in clothing that is well fitted to them - and clothing that is too large quickly looks frumpy on their little frames. So before you rush out and buy something new - see if they have something that already fits them well that could work. Or if you do buy something new - consider it an investment into this session and buy it in a size that fits well right now, even if it means you may only get a couple months wear out of it.
details - a little goes a long way
Texture and layers are awesome! Add a chunky knit sweater or buttoned cardigan, or a cute fur vest on a little girl. Or my personal favorite - suspenders on little boys, swoon! A thin scarf adds interest as does a great hat. But be careful not to over accessorize - one or two total in the family. And if your little girl is in a dress - consider some bloomers or leggings for underneath to keep her private areas, well, private.
And don't forget about shoes! Bearing in mind we'll be walking on trails, you'll want comfortable shoes, but something neutral will help tie your whole look together. For him: comfortable semi-dress shoes or cute sneakers or loafers (Converse or vans are always good).
For her: Boots, flats or wedges are good options (avoid high heels).
And lastly, hair. While we women love to wear our hair loose and flowing, it can get distracting and often fall in front of our faces during a session. So for little girls especially, clip hair back with barrettes or bobby pins. Little kids tend to be a lot more active during the shoot and if their hair is loose it will definitely be getting in their face and causing distractions for all of us as we pause to brush it away.
vying for visuals
Here is the link to my Pinterest board where I’ve gathered the best visual examples I could find. (why reinvent the wheel, right?)
my one and only "rule" - be yourself
Don't stress about it! If you don't like any of my suggestions - ignore them!
Just wear something you and your family feel comfortable enough to be yourselves in... likely something you already have in your own closets. You certainly don't need to go out and buy anything special. You want your pretty faces to be the spotlight - not what you're wearing. And you will be happiest and most comfortable in clothing that reflects who *you* are - this will make for the best photos.