Tana Mathews Photography | Styling: Dos and Dont's

Styling Dos and Don’ts

1. Choose a color scheme. I would suggest choosing three main colors to work with. This will give you more flexibility when it comes to dressing the entire family. It will also really make your pictures pop! You want to coordinate, NOT match. By this, I mean choose the color(s) you want to work with and find different pieces that incorporate some or all of the colors you’ve chosen. I do not want to find out that you sent out a memo saying “Everyone wear jeans and a white shirt” and call it a day. White tops generally wash people out in photos, so I suggest staying away from white altogether unless it’s just an accent color. Also, keep in mind that not every person has to have on every color you have chosen. Split the colors up. It makes the photo more playful and less uniform. Additionally, if you have a larger family, dressing specific “groups” in solid colors (ie, mom and dad in blue, uncle’s family in red, aunt’s family in green – still qualifies as “matchy-matchy”, again, coordinate – don’t match.)

2. Find a focal point. When you begin your shopping, look for a patterned piece that you simply cannot live without! This may be a top that you feel absolutely fabulous in, or a plaid button up for your son that will make your heart melt, or maybe even an adorable little floral print dress for your little princess. Whatever that piece may be, commit to it and work from there. It’s natural for me to find the mother’s outfit first. As moms, we tend to forget about ourselves in the planning and we become an afterthought. Of course you want your kids to look cute, but you deserve to look and FEEL awesome in your pictures! Trust me. Take that time for YOU. You won’t regret it!!

3. Mix it up. Do not be afraid to mix prints and textures. Or styles for that matter! For example: You could choose a piece with polka dots and a piece with stripes. You could put a denim top with a corduroy pant. Your prints and textures don’t always have to come from your main pieces. You can jazz up a dress with printed or textured tights. Or dress up a t-shirt with colored or patterned suspenders. From here, you can go a step further and start mixing “styles.” For example, I might have a client wear a plaid button up, a blazer and a slouchie beanie (mixing dressy and grunge) or a short a-line skirt, blousy top, and military style boots (mixing edgy and chic). By doing so, you will begin to showcase the different styles and personalities of each member of the shoot.

4. Layers, layers, layers!!! When putting together an outfit, layers are what make the outfit look polished and complete! Add a vest, jacket, cardigan, bowtie, hat, scarf, suspenders, belt, jewelry, etc. This also gives the shoot much more depth! Even if it’s just as simple as adding a little fur vest, it adds so much more dimension to your wardrobe. Vests can be found everywhere.

5. Play on your strengths. Ladies (& gentlemen), let’s be honest…most of us have some insecurities about our bodies. But, my best advice to you is to WORK what you’ve got! Know your body type and what styles will flatter your figure. If you like your legs, show them off! If you think you’ve lost your waist, try a high waisted pant or a tailored blazer. Any shoe with a higher heel will elongate your body and instantly make you appear thinner. Do your research!

6. Logos. Just say NO. You are not advertising for Nike, Duck Dynasty, or Hurley so don’t wear their logos blasted across your chest. They’re distracting and ruin a well-coordinated wardrobe. Incorporating a shot with Superman shirt peeking out would be a fun prop for a picture or two, but don’t wear a Superman shirt for all of the pictures.