What to Wear to your Photo Session

The question I get most often after clients book their session with me, is "What should we wear?!" It's an important part of planning your custom photography session and one that I want to simplify for you.  

 The soft coral color works well with neutral white and complements the green on the patio.  Small details like a patterned shirt and the girls' bows add interest to the outfits.

The soft coral color works well with neutral white and complements the green on the patio.  Small details like a patterned shirt and the girls' bows add interest to the outfits.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts on what to wear to a photo session.  Where do you start? The five tips below cover the most common challenges I see when clients are picking outfits and are the things I keep in mind when planning what my own family will wear for photo sessions.  Don't forget when booking your custom lifestyle session that outfit consultation is included and we can work through this together. 

 Moms wears pattern while the boys wear complimenting psuedo neutrals like soft blue and olive green.  Your focus first goes to the connection and emotions of the image before noticing the clothes.

Moms wears pattern while the boys wear complimenting psuedo neutrals like soft blue and olive green.  Your focus first goes to the connection and emotions of the image before noticing the clothes.

1.  Be yourself.  As a lifestyle photographer, I always advise to start with what's already in your closet that you reach for often.  Think about what you feel most comfortable in.  What is your personal style?  What are the clothes you already wear over and over?  How can those be dressed up a bit for a photography session? If you're thinking "I wear yoga pants everyday and my kid rarely has a shirt on," 😜 read on to rule #2-5 for more guidance.  

2.  Just say no to matchy-matchy.  When you share your photos with others you want them to see YOU first.  The focus of your images should be on your faces, your interactions with each other, your expressions.  What you don't want is people looking at your clothes first, and only after that noticing the people wearing them.  Pick 2-3 colors and carry those through the outfits so that everything "goes" together but doesn't match.  Avoid having everyone in the same color top or all matching bottoms.  Consider your location when selecting colors. For example all neutrals can work well for in home sessions or settings with lots of color like a garden.  On the other hand they blend in too much at somewhere like the Fort which looks better with some color against the totally neutral backdrop. When picking colors, I prefer soft colors and jewel tones over very bright or primary colors.

3.  Keep things simple but interesting.  During your session we will be moving around.  Standing, sitting, walking, playing.  Your clothes should be simple enough that you can move in them, feel comfortable in them, be yourself in them.  Avoid anything too fussy that restricts movement or requires frequent adjusting.  Especially for kids, I recommend clothing that they enjoy wearing, nothing too scratchy, heavy, complicated.  So, how do you keep things interesting and just a little more special than everyday casual clothes?  Try playing with pattern, texture, and simple accessories.  

4.  Remember your feet.  Take a look at everyone's shoes the day before your photo session and make sure they are clean.  Leave the gym shoes at home and opt for casual but nice shoes.  Or better yet, let the kids go barefoot if it will work with the location!  Also pay attention to what socks everyone is wearing if socks will show when pants shift up from sitting.

5.  Check that everyone's clothes fit.  Kids have a special talent for outgrowing clothes right before we need them!  Before your session, try on everyone's clothes and make sure they aren't too small, too big, too short, too long.   Do this a few days in advance to give yourself time to find an alternative if something doesn't fit quite right.  Same thing goes for all the adults: try on what you plan to wear the week before your session.  Can you comfortably move in it?  Sit down?  Give your baby a bear hug?  Back to rule number one, you want people to look at your faces first and not be distracted by a shirt that is too baggy, pants that aren't quite long enough, or a dress that doesn't drape well.

 Nobody "matches" in this family but everything "goes" together.  Pastels and jewel tones help bring focus to the family against the neutrals of the fort.  I love the textured tassels on sisters shirt, sporty Converse against a patterned dress, the contrast in brother and dad's shirts, sandals with shine: all things that make these relaxed outfits feel special.

Nobody "matches" in this family but everything "goes" together.  Pastels and jewel tones help bring focus to the family against the neutrals of the fort.  I love the textured tassels on sisters shirt, sporty Converse against a patterned dress, the contrast in brother and dad's shirts, sandals with shine: all things that make these relaxed outfits feel special.

What is your favorite thing to wear for family photos?  Have you fallen for some of these common pitfalls before?  If you are ready to get started on planning a custom session with me, send me a message here or let's connect through Facebook!