FAMILY SESSION STYLE GUIDE
The hardest question everyone asks themselves after booking a photo session is: “What will we wear?” I totally understand and I’m here to help! When you start styling your session, I suggest starting with one person (usually Mom) and then working out from there. Pick one main clothing item first (dress, sweater, etc.) and then you can pull your colours and textures and build up from that starter piece.
CHOOSING A COLOUR SCHEME
When choosing colours for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colours, it will help bring all the attention to your faces. Colours don’t need to match, but should always compliment each other. Feel free to vary the shades of colours too.
Palette #1: Softer Shades & Neutrals
The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white.
Palette #2: Muted Earthy Tones
Colours that stand out best are mustard yellow, mauve pink, browns or khaki, dark blue, hunter green, dark reds/oranges.
PATTERNS & TEXTURES
Patterns can be a great way to add interest to your photos, but use them sparingly. Floral patterns are my favourite! When thinking about texture, choose different ones that will give photos some interest such as lace, corduroy, denim, chunky knit, etc.
Pairing an accessory or two with outfits can really help to bring some extra dimension to your images. Hats, scarves, jewelry, headbands, suspenders, etc. are some examples. Big statement necklaces bring a lot of pop to the photos, while the smaller, delicate ones are not as noticeable on camera.
THINGS TO AVOID
Giant Logos: Shirts that have big logos on them can distract from your beautiful faces.
Neon Colours: Just say no to hot pink, lime green, etc.
Matchy-Matchy: As you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” In fact, we recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what “fits” together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.
STYLE TIPS FOR HER
Don’t be afraid to dress it up!
Have you thought about rocking a romantic gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun!
Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially in nature, like a field, forest, or in front of a barn. Consider softer fabrics which allow for beautiful movement in the images.
When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, I’ll likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, will make moving around with your kids much easier, and look perfect on camera, too.
If you choose to wear jeans or pants I just recommend getting a fit that you really love and feel great in. If you choose to wear something more casual on the bottom, then think about dressing it up on top. A beautiful flowy top or lace accent can make your outfit feel special for this occasion.
Hair & Makeup
Professional hair and makeup is on the top of most of my clients’ checklists because it looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. This is the time to treat yourself! Whether it’s lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera.
STYLE TIPS FOR HIM
The Best Fit
Long, fitted pants or jeans and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants, jeans, or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits.
Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust us when we say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!
Brown leather dress shoes compliment almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit, jeans, or a blazer and colored pants. Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit for men and boys alike. If you bring two outfits to the session, you can start with a traditional necktie and belt, then switch to suspenders and a bow tie for your second look. If two looks are too stressful, no problem! One will do the trick! You can still mix and match accessories to compliment both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, it’s a win.
STYLE TIPS FOR THE KIDS
If you have multiple children don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos. That being said the most important thing is for your kids to have fun! Forcing children to wear outfits that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them may cause some anxiety and stress to them which in turn will inhibit really capturing their personalities during the session.
I know I just gave you a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your portrait session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future memories are the most important thing to me, and I want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And I’ll take care of the rest!