What to Wear??
My most popular questions are, "what should I wear"? "Do you have any styling tips"? In fact, I do!! I know a lot of people have a hard time coming up with good, solid wardrobe choices for family photography. It’s stressful sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be! Remember, the days of all white, all black, all khaki, all jeans, and all things “theme” are a thing of the past. Family picture time is a great time to embrace your individuality, your favorite looks, bold colors, prints and layers. The golden rule: coordinate, don’t match!
1. Matching is OUT. Coordinating is in. And anything goes nowadays! We know your family is together. We’re photographing you together! So, wearing the same colored shirt, pants, shoes, etc. looks a bit awkward. Coordinating color is what really brings wardrobe together. I usually choose two to three main colors of wardrobe, and maybe one accent pop of color. Also, mixing stripes with plaids and tweeds is okay! Expression is important. We want to see your personality through your wardrobe. Just remember, to throw in some solids here and there, i.e., if each person wears a random print, it becomes distracting.
2. Steer clear of fluorescents. Fluorescent colors tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair. They’re harsh sometimes. I always recommend versions of primary colors, ie. jewel tones: yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal), purple (plum, fuchsia).
3. Be aware of the background. Stay away from wearing a lot of green when having photos taken in grassy/wooded areas. It’s just too much green. Green as an accent color is great, though! You want to stand out amongst all the greenery you’re surrounded by. The same rule applies in the fall – brown isn’t a preferred color for fall outdoor pictures.
4. Wear what you feel good in! Moms and dads, this tip is for you specifically. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, but you rock a good pair of skinny jeans, do that. If you can barely walk in heels, there’s no harm in doing cute and comfy flat boots or pretty sandals. If you can’t do a heel, a wedge is a great alternative, too.
6. Layer, layer layer! Layers add dimension and depth. In the summer? Layer your dress with a cute belt and pendant necklace. In the fall and winter? Cardigans, belts, statement necklaces, scarves, blazers, leggings etc.
7. Purchase clothes to fit. And fit well. I know we all have a hard time buying clothes for our kiddos that don’t leave a lot of room for growth, seeing as they do grow so fast. However, keep in mind that for pictures, too large of a polo shirt, saggy ill-fitting jeans or a jacket that’s falling off the shoulders looks sloppy. However, in the same regard, wearing clothes that are too small will show too, i.e., if the shirt barely touches the pants, or the pants barely touch the shoes, you may want to reconsider your outfit choices. You’ll be purchasing outfits specifically for pictures, most likely, so choose something that fits perfectly, or even slightly snug. Think tailored. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket will not compliment shape. It hides hips and waist (for moms). If you typically wear a size medium jacket, try on the small. Even if it’s just a little snug in the shoulders, it should lay nicely around your hips and waist, creating a tailored look.
8. Minimal wardrobe for newborn sessions. The times I recommend clients (parents/siblings of the newborn) keep their wardrobe super simple during newborn photos. In these cases, you don’t want the clothing to overshadow the precious little person that we’re showcasing. I recommend grey, black, and white for these shoots. If we’ll be posing a big sister with the baby, light pink is a good color that adds a little something, but again, it’s not enough to overpower the baby.
9. Dress for the weather, and be flexible. If you’re from Oklahoma, you know that it can be 30 and cloudy one day, 75 and sunny the next. So, be prepared to be flexible with wardrobe, in case you have to switch it up last minute. If you have plans for a cute sundress for your daughter, and the weather ends up being 20 degrees colder than you were anticipating, switch it up a bit by adding layers. Tights, boots, scarf, cardigan. Dress appropriately for the weather that day, even if it doesn’t go with your original plan. If your child is sweating profusely in a sweater during his shoot, he won’t be happy. And on the same token, if your child is wearing a tank dress and the tempature drops too much, it’ll reflect in the final images.
10. Dress for the situation. Just as dressing for weather is important, dressing for the situation is just as important. A fancy black dress and a dress shirt and tie wouldn’t be the most appropriate wardrobe for a forest or grassy setting. More formal wear would be more appropriate for an urban or “big city” feel.
Kids Wardrobe Tips
1. Timeless always has a place. I love when my clients show up to a shoot with the most simple and timeless of outfits. A smock dress that belonged to Great-Grandma. A plain white lace dress with a simple bow. A plain diaper cover. Naked baby! These outfits (or lack thereof) will always stand the test of time, and will never go out of style.
2. Dress your kiddos in clothes that fit perfectly, not with room to grow. Even if you child may only wear the outfit for a few months, it’ll look much better than putting them in something that they still need to grow into. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket, blazer, sweat shirt, sweater or hoodie will not compliment shape. It looks sloppy on children.
3. Shoes are a very important part of wardrobe. If you have the cutest little trousers and button down for your son to wear for pictures, but slap his favorite pair of Disney tennis shoes on him, it makes the whole look lose cohesiveness. Stay away from character shoes, flip flops, crocs. My recommendation for shoes are boots, leather sandals (just say “no” to Old Navy flip flops), Converse All-Stars, Toms, Sperrys, Joyfolie, and Mary Janes.. And always, barefoot is an adorable option, especially with babies. I’d much rather see bare feet than the bottom of their shoes.
4. Remember, coordinating your childrens’ outfits is key. Not matching.
5. Layers are just as important for child wardrobe as it is for yours. Hats, glasses, vests, bow ties, cardigans, tights or leggings under a skirt. I do recommend making the outer layer (blazer, cardi, jacket) fit snugly. I usually purchase the outer layers one size smaller than normal, because they tend to run on the bigger side.
6. Bow and headband tips. For babies, toddlers and older girls, I always recommend keeping hair accessories simple. When they are too big (think “gerber daisy” big, or the size of their face-big), it distracts from their faces. The only time I think you can get away with a bigger hair accessory is when the child has lots of hair, or long hair. Even if your baby girl doesn’t have a ton of hair, don’t feel the need to hide that adorable head behind a huge head piece that makes her angry because she’s pulling it off every few seconds. Simple and dainty is just as pretty and understated.
7. The most important part of putting together your child’s wardrobe is allowing their personality to come through in what they’re wearing. If your daughter has a favorite pair of boots, let her wear them (in a few pictures). If your child loves to wear hats and sunglasses, bring them! Whatever makes your child their own adorable, individual self, let’s focus on those things. Yes, we all want our children to look adorable and fully polished for photos. I’m not recommending you don’t brush your daughter’s hair or forget wiping off the smudged PB&J off your toddler’s face, but allow them to have a little bit of input when planning their wardrobe as well. And never say “no” to bringing their favorite things along. Photographers want to capture those, too.