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WHAT TO WEAR FOR FAMILY PHOTOS

Deciding what to wear for family photos might be the most stressful part of the family photo process – finding clothes that look good AND that everyone will wear?? When faced with what seems like unlimited options, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to even start.

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WHERE TO START: ONE OUTFIT

Start small! Is there an outfit that is a Must Have for your session? Did you find the perfect skirt at Anthro? Is there a shirt that looks freaking amazing on your spouse? Will your toddler only wear one specific type of dress from Target??

Start with one outfit, and use that for the color and style inspiration for your session.

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WHAT ARE THE BEST COLORS FOR OUTDOOR FAMILY PHOTOS?

To keep things simple, I recommend that you choose neutrals (cream, brown, gray, white, brown) or colors that could be found in nature during the season your session is taking place.

SPRING

Think tulips, crabapple blossoms, and green grass! Colors that work well for spring family photos are pinks, greens, blues (including navy), creams, purples, yellows, and neutrals.

Pastels and muted versions of these colors will photograph better than vibrant or neon options.

SUMMER

Summer session color inspiration is green aspen leaves, long grass, and Indian paintbrush.

Colors that work well for early summer sessions (June and July) are green, blue, red, purple, yellow, white, cream, neutrals.

Colors that work well for late summer sessions (August and early September) are greens, blues, creams, neutrals.

If the grass is really vibrant and green, vibrant clothing color will work. If the grass is starting to dry out, stick with more muted versions of colors.

FALL

Fall is all about the leaves! Colors that work well for fall sessions are gold, orange, green, blue, black, brown, white, neutrals.

Since fall color can be so bright, I would recommend either muted colors or deep colors (dark green, navy, etc).

WINTER

Winter in Wyoming and Colorado can be a bit sparse! Colors that work well for winter sessions are green, red, blue, white, brown, neutrals.

COLOR TO AVOID

Neon anything. It doesn’t photograph well, and can cast not-so-flattering colors onto your skin. If there’s a bold color you just HAVE to have, try finding a light or dark muted version (see below).

 

 

Black, with disclaimers. Black is totally fine when used wisely! Avoid wearing a black shirt with black pants, as it can be hard for the camera to pick out any details. If you have one person with black (think black dress), try to add color to the rest of your family.

Turquoise. While turquoise jewelry is completely fine, I am not a fan of turquoise for clothing, even during spring and summer sessions. It’s not a color that occurs often in nature, so it can be an unpleasant contrast with the greens of summer or yellows of fall.

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When in doubt, go with neutrals or earth tones. Think creams, greens, browns, blues, muted pinks. They look great on almost everyone, in every situation.

WHAT ARE THE BEST COLORS FOR INDOOR FAMILY PHOTOS?

In-home or studio sessions can have a bit more variety in color choices! Studio photo family sessions tend to look best with neutral outfits, so as to not overwhelm the space. But if we’re only photographing one person? Bring some personality to the studio! Anything goes.

In-home family sessions need to take into account the colors in your home. Are you a bright and vibrant family? Earth tones only? Minimalist? Keep this in mind when planning the outfits for your in-home session.

ADD VARIETY!

Patterns and texture. ALL THE TEXTURE. It’s taken me a long time to put together why I love texture so much, but it’s because it photographs really well. Ruffles, mohair, chunky cardigan, twirly skirts, more ruffles…I love it all!

Variety and texture can also be included by adding layers to your outfits. Think moto jackets, scarves, vests.

Try everything on before your session and make sure it fits, especially on kids. You don’t want the vest or scarf to need constant adjusting so it’s not covering up someone’s face. If you’re dressing a toddler, pick them up to see if the clothes still work while they’re being held.

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DRESS FOR THE WEATHER

Always, always dress for the weather! One of the first things I learned as a family photographer is that it is almost impossible to disguise when someone is cold in photos. Purple hands, plastered on smiles, tears – we all know the look. For spring and late fall sessions, this might mean having a backup outfit, or extra layers planned. In my head I like to pretend that April is warm spring and November is warm fall, but that’s not always the case!

STYLE TIPS FOR WOMEN

I really love dresses on women. Dresses photograph really well (it’s the texture thing again!), and are flattering on almost everyone. Baltic Born has been the go to source for a ton of my clients as of late, and their dresses are both affordable and look gorgeous in photos. Can’t find a dress you like? Think about a shirt/tank top with a long skirt!

Flatter what you love, cover up what you don’t. If your arms are not your favorite feature, consider wearing sleeves on a dress, or bring a light jacket/sweater/cardigan. Love your legs? Wear shorts or a shorter dress!

Make sure you can move around without your bra showing. Make sure to try everything on ahead of time, and if you have a sneaky bra strap, pin it in place, use fashion tape, or find a new bra. Your session will likely have a lot of movement – walking, picking up kids – and it gets annoying to have to make sure your bra isn’t in the picture. No one wants boob muffin top!

Related, make sure your clothes aren’t see through! Amazon is notorious for thin fabrics, so try on your clothes and test them outside in the sun. I’ve had shirts where the bra is visible, as well as skirts that are see through when backlit.

Remember that rules are made to be broken. Also, these aren’t rules. If you prefer jeans or a romper for your session, do it! The most important part is that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.

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STYLE TIPS FOR MEN

Keep it simple! I really love guys in untucked, button down shirts, with jeans or casual pants.

Avoid cargo shorts. While they work in a pinch, I would at least try and find shorts without pockets.

No performance fabric polo shirts!! While your spouse may love his sporty golf polos, here’s the truth: if he doesn’t wear a t-shirt underneath, there WILL be nipples in your family photos. Performance fabrics are also pretty unforgiving, so avoid clingy fabrics for highlighting the stomach.

Polo shirts are fine, but choose a cotton version. Better yet? Button down, t-shirt or flannel shirt.

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STYLE TIPS FOR KIDS

Make sure they’re comfortable! I cannot stress this enough. Make sure your kids are warm enough, and are comfortable in the clothes they’re wearing. I have seen too many scratchy tags, shoes that are tripping hazards, and sadness over having to put on a shirt they hate. Try everything on prior to the session, and make sure your kids are happy with what they’ll be wearing.

Cover that diaper! A saggy diaper isn’t flattering on anyone. Even if the Pampers bum is covered when they’re standing, don’t forget that we might be sitting or your child might be getting held. Toddler smiles can be very fleeting, and I would hate to miss out on one because I’m having to readjust a dress to cover up a diaper! Find a coordinating diaper cover on Amazon or Etsy and we’ll be good to go.

Watch those tucked in shirts. Again, try the outfits on ahead of time. If you have a little person in a shirt that’s coming untucked every time they move, you’ll either want to let it stay untucked (my preference) or find a longer shirt.

Teething baby or toddler? Bring a cute bib or bandana! Teeth always seem to show up at the most inopportune times. I can’t think of a one year session that didn’t have a tooth starting to poke through!

Rather than fighting the inevitable, find a cute bib that goes with their outfit. One of my client moms found these gorgeous muslin bibs for a six month old session, and it made the session go so much smoother! Bonus? It added some texture and a tiny pop of color just where we wanted it!

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DON’T FORGET THE FOOTWEAR!

 

If your session is in the mountains, you’ll want to have everyone in closed toe shoes. Cactus, sticks, cow poop…there are a couple session locations that require some off-roading while on foot, and it’s good to have footwear that will stay in place.

SHOULD I WEAR GLASSES FOR OUR PHOTO SESSION?

 

I get this question quite often from clients, although they don’t think about it until they’ve arrived for their session and suddenly their transition lenses are a problem!

If you wear glasses for the majority of your day-to-day life, then yes, you need to wear glasses for your session. I’ve worked with hundreds of families, which means dozens and dozens of glasses wearers, and I have tricks to keep glasses glare from becoming too much of an issue.

That said: if you have transition lenses, you will either want to pop the lenses out of an old pair for your session, or bring a pair that will not transition. Despite my best efforts, it can be extremely hard to work around dark lenses for both myself and clients!

TAKE THE FAMILY ON A TEST RUN

 

A couple weeks before the session (or at least before you’ve taken the tags off), put everyone in their outfits and move about the house a bit. Is your bra strap showing every time you pick up your two year old? Is your 6 year old’s shirt coming untucked from his pants when he lifts his arms? Is your baby clawing at the bow on their head? You might want to consider a change in outfits.

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NEED MORE HELP?

Reach out! I am MORE than happy to help my clients choose their outfits for their session. I’m available over email or text, and will happily send links and suggestions for small tweaks to outfits.

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