One of the questions I get on a regular basis regarding photo sessions is “what do I wear?” So I thought I’d devote an entire post to my thoughts on the subject of fashion for photos.
Whether you’re taking engagement photos, family photos, or headshots, many of the same fashion theories apply, but since I have an upcoming family mini-session, I’ll cater most of my comments toward dressing a group.
It just has to GO
The first suggestion I have for dressing your family is to avoid being matchy-matchy. We’ve all seen the typical family portrait of a group clad in white collared shirts and light-washed denim… and while this may have been popular in the 90′s, outfits like this generally look a little dated and lack personality. And that also means if your family has matching paisley shirts and zebra striped pants, you may want to consider picking different clothes:). Instead of thinking of every outfit matching exactly, try to think about them GOING together. The colors and textures and styles need to all look good together, so try to pick a color scheme and style and stick with that. In the example below, I’ve picked outfits that are all casual, so the style is consistent. The colors aren’t all the same, but they do go together and compliment each other well.
all outfits from gap and oldnavy
Let one outfit or piece be your inspiration
Let’s face it, when it comes to family photos, mom is usually the one who is picking out the clothes for the family. As a mom, that’s exactly what I did for our recent family photos. So, before we started picking our outfits for our fall family photos, I knew just one thing: I wanted to wear a pair of tall boots and skinny jeans. Knowing that that one thing HAD to be in my ensemble, I picked the rest of the outfits to match my boots. Maybe for you it’s a cute little ruffled cardigan that your daughter has, or maybe a stylish hat that you MUST see your husband in. Or maybe you’re obsessed with Anthropologie like I am and HAVE to wear one of these adorable new dressed that I’ve noted below (hint hint to anyone who is married to me who is thinking of buying me a present in the near future). Whatever that must-have item is, start with that and work from there.
Avoid too many loud patterns
The focus of your photos is YOU, so let your clothes compliment you rather than overpower you. Patterns are totally fine as long as they don’t distract from your face. Also keep in mind that you don’t want competing patterns among your group being photographed. Like in the example below, there are just a few patterns, but none of them are overwhelming, so they still go together.
all outfits from gap and oldnavy
Love some LAYERS
I LOVE layers. LOVE THEM! Layers are a great way to add depth and interest to a photo without being distracting AND it gives you the option of shedding or adding layers to create a new look. Scarves, hats, jewelry, cardigans… all wonderful! Just be cautious to not pile the layers on the kids so heavily that their faces are blocked.
Don’t feel the need to buy new clothes
By no means is this post meant to cajole you into buying a whole new wardrobe for a photo session. Chances are, you already have a great assortment of clothes in your closets already that would work well for a shoot. But, if you feel the need to go shopping and want a buddy, I’m always looking for an excuse to escape to the mall, so hit me up.
So, as I mentioned before, when we had our family photos done last fall, I really wanted to wear skinny jeans and tall boots. And I did. And I looked a little ridiculous. That look is totally not me AT ALL and I really wish I wouldn’t have worn that. I should have just worn something that looked great, but was still ME. I kinda felt like a poser. So learn from my mistake: BE YOURSELF when choosing an outfit. If you’re super casual and classic, don’t feel the need to go all rocker-chic. Or if you’re New England preppy, go ahead and don a sweater around your shoulders. Or if you love the way you look in trendy clothes, don’t feel like you have to wear something simple with khakis.
-sidenote for those who care :: I still really love the way skinny jeans and tall boots look, so I’ve slowly worked them into my wardrobe as a staple and I no longer feel like a poser. I just needed more casual tall boots and pair of skinny jeans that looked better on me. Done and done.