what to wear :: Great Spring Looks for Family Photo Sessions

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 :).

Be yourself
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 :).

Lauren - I LOVE the Anthropologie dresses!! Very cute!

Von DeVore - Great informative post!!! Very well explained and illustrated.

Lisa Scherer - I LOVE this post. As a photographer myself…I think it should be so easy for my clients to pull together wardrobes. Since my family is having our family pics taken (first time in 2 years) I totally see where the stress comes from. This post helped a ton…love it!

2011 Fall Family Mini-Sessions :: Sunday, October 30, 2011 » Lisa Hessel Photography Blog - […] and even though it was structured for spring photos, the general concepts are still applicable:) http://lisahesselphotography.com/blog/?p=41 And just speaking from personal experience, it’s good to think about what you will be using […]

Rachel and Dave :: Engaged!

It was only fitting that my first engagement session of the spring would be scheduled for a day where the weather was absolutely divine.  As I headed out the door, I slipped on my flip-flops and smiled… I love me some flip-flop weather :).  And Rachel and Dave… what a great couple.  The were complete naturals in front of the camera, and their enthusiasm was positively inspiring.  Seriously, people like Rachel and Dave are why I love to do what I do  :).

See what I mean?

Love these.  the sun was so golden… something I always miss during the winter months.

And of course we had to make a stop by my favorite alley

LOVE THIS!

So romantic .

Seriously, Rachel and Dave, you made my first shoot of 2010 SO perfect.

Thanks, Rachel and dave for making my first shoot of 2010 one of my favorites EVER.

Brit - Yay for first new blog comment!

LOVE the new look. These photos are great. I really love the light! Brady said he loves the new look, too!

Dave and Laura :: Engaged!! » Lisa Hessel Photography Blog - […] that’s exactly what I found myself shooting in… a beautiful sunny and 70 degree day for Rachel and Dave’s engagement shoot and then the very next day we had a near freezing temps with some oh-so-cold precipitation for DAve […]

Dave and Rachel :: Married » Lisa Hessel Photography Blog - […] knew from their engagement session that Rachel and Dave were photogenic, but on their wedding day, my camera loved them even […]

Confessions :: I’m a sucker for a cute guy in a faux hawk

I’ll admit it:  I love a guy with a good ‘do, especially if it’s a faux hawk.

And not too long ago, my little guy had his first haircut and got none other than a faux hawk.

Yeah, I know, he’s pretty cute in that hat. What you don’t know, though, is that he HAD to wear that hat… not because it was too cold outside, but because THIS was underneath:

He wasn’t just having a bad hair day… this is his every-hair-day. It was getting long and out of control and kind of old man-ish, so we had to do something about it. We took him to this super-cute place called Snip-Its and it was on.

They even put on a cute movie to distract him while he was getting his trim

I think he kinda liked the trimmers

And of course the proud papa

And a style I just adore

Pretty sure he digs it too

mary - this is toooo stinkin adorable!!!

Christine - Could this kid BE any cuter??

Angela - He’s so cute, Lisa! I love your blogs. 🙂

Avery and Greta :: Twins!

When Kendall and I first chatted over the phone about photography, Kendall was still pregnant. She had called to inquire about newborn photography, and I was so elated when she said she was expecting not one, but TWO sweet baby girls! This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of photographing twins and I loved every minute of it!

And now, meet Miss Avery and Miss Greta :).

These little eight-day-old girls were the picture of serenity. There was hardly a peep throughout the entire shoot

Can you believe she had twins -TWINS!- just eight days before this photo was taken?? Seriously, Kendall, you’re gorgeous.

Holding hands already. I have a feeling they’re going to be bffs.

Pretty much my favorite photo of the day.

Kendall had an Etsy seller make her girls these adorable hats. So cute!

Amber and Keith :: The Photobooth!

I had such a blast going through these photos that I couldn’t keep from posting them right away :). Amber and Keith wanted to do a few fun, unexpected things at their reception for their guests. So they asked me if I could set up a larger format photobooth in their reception hall. Of course, I had been DYING to do something like this for such a long time that I jumped at the opportunity. I had just purchased an awesome black and charcoal grey damask backdrop, which I thought would work just perfectly and I hired a genius set of photographers to run the booth while we were shooting the rest of the reception. Amber purchased a whole slew of accessories and props to make it even more fun. It was such a hit, I think I may begin offering this as an add-on on a regular basis :).

If you’re interested in having a photobooth at your wedding, please Email Me!

Brit - I wish I would have asked you about this sooner – it didn’t even occur to me! We have a photobooth booked already, but will definitely be sure to share this tidbit with any brides!