What to Wear

Congratulations! You've booked a photography session to have some amazing portraits taken. And now, if you are like most of my clients, you're probably wondering: "What the heck should we wear?!"

Wear something you love. Pick the outfit in your closet (or shop for one if need be) that makes you feel amazing. The one that makes you smile when you put it on, that you know you look good in and that brings a little extra pep to your step.

Colour yourself happy. Dark, soft colours, or neutral solids are always a safe bet. Neutrals go great with an accent colour if you want to spice it up. I always suggest a colour palette that you would enjoy being up on your wall wherever you may decide to hang your large family portrait. 

Stay away from matchy matchy. This is a total personal opinion of mine but I think the matching outfit thing is overdone and, well, I'm just going to say it-- cheesy. That being said, some people love this look, and if that's you, that's totally okay. But I find the family picture sessions that turn out amazing are the ones where everyone is allowed to wear something they love and feel comfortable in and yet it compliments everyone else's outfits as a whole. Pick out colours or patterns that work together (or if you're really a fashonista, then colours and patterns that clash in a funky yet attractive way). Now my one exception to this is studio newborn family photos. I actually totally contradict myself and suggest you all wear the same colour neutral (white, off white, black or grey) or stick to a neutral palette. Outdoor family photos are totally different though.

Shoes matter. All that effort you put into your family's ensemble should include your footwear as well. At some point during the shoot, your shoes will make an appearance. Sometimes fun boots and shoes make a good focal point too. So don't think you can focus on the top half and then slip into those gardening crocs.

Dress everyone up or down. Your family or group should look like they are going to the same type of gathering; everyone in casual wear or dressed up, but not a mix of both. If your husband is not comfortable in the dress shirt and tie look, then work with that and put together casual but stylish outfits you will all be comfortable in.

Work with the weather. Family photos can be taken at any time of the year, but always keep the weather in mind. Winter photos with everyone freezing their (ahem) butts off in cute outfits won't make for the greatest pictures. You'll be able to tell everyone is cold or at least uncomfortable, and it will look kind out of place to be photographed on such a frigid landscape without any coats. Instead, make it work for you and wear coats, mittens, scarves, hats, earmuffs in bright, fun, complimenting colours and patterns that will add lots of personality to your photos. If it's going to be a scorcher, wear light, breathable fabrics that won't leave you sweating bullets for the entire shoot.

Play down those patterns. Some photographers will tell you not to wear patterns at all, that they are simply too distracting. I, however, think they look fantastic when done right in small amounts. Colourful striped tights on a little girl, a patterned scarf on mom, a light plaid shirt on dad or a little boy; these all can add visual interest if they aren't overdone. As long as the whole outfit or entire family is not decked out in distracting patterns, you're good to go. One thing I do suggest staying away from though is logos, graphics, and slogans on t-shirts. Unlike a pattern, they tend to be too distracting.

Accessorize. Hats, scarves, and jewelry can really add to the look of a family photo session. That being said, if your family isn't into accessorizing, then don't force it. Whatever suits your personalities is always best and will look the most natural when hanging on your wall or displayed in a beautiful album afterwards.

The most important thing is to wear something that allows your family to be yourselves. You can also find tons of ideas on Pinterest; here's a link to my own Pinterest board I created for clients' inspiration.

Also, if you are a booked client of mine, feel free to email me photos of what you are thinking of wearing and I am more than happy to let you know what I think or make suggestions on what to swap out.

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