Most clients agree, deciding what to wear is the hardest part of a photo session. But it doest have to be!
Here are some tips, tricks and places to shop...
step 1: Choose a color palette. If you know me well, and take a good look through my portfolio you will see I LOVE neutrals and soft muted colors. In fact, 90% of all of my newborn props, are cream, ivory, beige, taupe, or other earthy tone. I LOVE this. They are not distracting and go so well with my photography style. In fact I incorporate this style into my editing!
The key is to COORDINATE and not MATCH. Instead of putting someone in the same exact color, use a color palette to choose colors that go great together.
tip: keep it simple. Choose mostly solids, and have one or two family members in either a pop of color and/or prints. Think about adding layers and textures!
step 2: Now that you have your color palette, and know you need to have most family members in solids, but also include some patterns/pops of color you can start styling your family. The first person to dress is always MOM. Why? because moms are the pickiest, and almost always the most self conscience. Choose something you love, that flatters your body. It must also be comfortable. You will be sitting, standing, playing with your kids, so choose something that is not binding but looks great. Keeping with this color palette.
I love maxi skirts and dresses. They are comfy, photograph well and mom can move around, sit, stand, and play with kids in them without having to pull down, adjust or expose herself
tip: think about your location. Discuss wardrobe and locations with me when you book. We will want to make sure your wardrobe compliments your surroundings. You don't want to blend in with the background, or look out of place. EXAMPLE: vintagey lace soft muted pieces would probably not look so great in front of an urban session… but would look amazing in a country setting, dirt roads, tall grass and fields.
Step 3: Little girl(s) If you have more than 1 girl I KNOW that grabbing the same dress in different sizes is easy. but dont! coordinate but don't match. Try and let them help you decide. You want to stick to your palette, but let their personality shine. Patterns are great for little girls!! Gap usually has adorable children dresses and blouses. Boutiques and places like zulily are great. (just remember shipping can take months) . Search etsy. You can also ask a local seamstress to sew you up a vintage dress or romper. Baby Bug By Jianna here in Las Cruces is wonderful!
Step 4: Boys next! Classic and simple is good. Look at textures. I love linen shirts, khaki's, soft plaids and stripes. Remember to look at the big picture. Do not put two boys in plaid. Break up the patterns. If you have three kids do not put all of them in prints. If you have two boys and a girl a good example would be: girl in floral dress, one boy plaid shirt, other boy plain color.
H&M, gap and old navy is a great place for boy clothes.
tip: Head to the salon or barber a week or two before a session. Let hair grow in a tad for the session.
step 5: Dads.
Dads are the easiest. If you have family members in a lot of patterns then throw him in a plain button up or polo, jeans or khakis. If the family is mostly in solids, choose something with patterns. Plaid or stripes. done!
Gap and Old Navy are great places to purchase clothes for Dad.
tip: stay away from graphic tees, large logos on clothing and characters. Not only will these date your photos, but they will also be distracting.
step 6: accessorize! show your personality!
simple jewelry, hats for little boys and girls, CUTE shoes! headbands, bows, and anything that makes your personality shine. If your little girl is always in converse… Let her wear them! A fluffy ruffled dress, layered with a chambray and bright pink chucks is adorable!
tip: Do not wear clothes are accessories that are too big or too small. It will not photograph well. Remember the tiny details, even socks. No bright white socks if they will show!
I am proud to admit I am an "amazon prime mom" You can't beat free 2 day shipping, especially when you book your session a few days out or procrastinate :) Search women's boho dress for some amazing options. Think free people.. but 1/4 the price. They also carry awesome maternity dresses and gowns.
Remember the most important part of your photo session is not the clothes, not the props, not the location, but YOU and YOUR family!. The best family portraits evoke emotion. Capturing the feeling and love you have for one another. Clothes will not do that. SO on top of everything else remember: Relax!! Have fun!! Show your love!
here is an example of all of these tips tied together.
My good friend ordered a boutique dress online, then let me help style the rest of her family! Love the way it turned out! Dad, Little boy's jeans and baby skirt is the pop of bright colors. everyone is in textures and solids and cute little Merideth is in floral. Note her adorable boutique headband! Made by Baby Bug By Jianna (las cruces, New Mexico local)
They showed their love, played, had fun… and followed the steps!
Lezley Alba is a las cruces based photographer specializing in newborn, family and maternity portraits. Click contact to inquire about a photo session.