What to Wear: Preparing For Your Family Portrait Session
Struggling with what to wear for your family portrait session? I’m here to help! Take a few minutes to look through this handy guide, and then get ready to look great in front of the camera!
Rule #1 (and really, it’s the only rule): Whatever you decide to wear, be sure it is COMFORTABLE! There’s nothing worse than trying to smile and focus on your pictures when your shirt has a scratchy tag, or your shoes are a half size too small. This is a million times more true for children. Try everything on well before the day of your session to be sure it all fits and is comfortable.
There is no limit to the number of outfit changes you can have during our time together (though keep in mind that more time spent changing clothes means less time in front of the camera) but in general one or two is plenty, especially if the kids are not fans of changing their clothes.
Now let’s talk colors and patterns and what looks good to the camera:
My number one piece of advice for family sessions is to avoid the impulse to wear matching outfits. Instead, choose articles of clothing that complement each other, or are in the same color family. For example, everyone can wear jeans and then wear tops in varying shades of blue or green. Or the same shade of blue but different patterns. What we're going for is some variety and visual interest while maintaining a cohesive overall look. Though, with that being said, I was always a sucker for dressing my boys in matching clothes when they were little. :)
In general, avoid all-white shirts or dresses. Solid white clothing photographed out in the summer sun is just a LOT of white. You don’t have to avoid white completely, however. White pieces with a nice pattern on them will break up the brightness.
Traditionally, clothing with patterns was considered a no-no for portraits. Nonsense! Florals and other patterns look lovely in pictures! But here’s something to keep in mind when choosing patterned items – really large patterns tend to look even larger in photos and can sometimes become the focal point of the image. We want to keep the focus on you, not your clothes! So smaller patterns are best.
Solids (except white, mentioned above) work really well in photos. They don’t distract from your face and are great for black and white photos.
Other clothing considerations:
Avoid clothes that wrinkle easily. Yes, you can iron them before you leave the house, but by the time they travel to your session they may get wrinkly again.
Avoid shirts with words or large graphics. They're very distracting in the final image, and we're aiming for timeless looks as opposed to showcasing current trends.
Only wear it if you love it. If you hate the outfit, it will definitely show on your face in the pictures. Again, that is a million times more true for the kids.
Shoes: I’ll be doing some full-length shots so be sure everyone has clean ones.
Need some wardrobe inspiration? Pinterest is a gold mine of portrait ideas!
When in doubt, feel free to text me pictures of some of the outfits that you are considering, and I will be happy to help you decide!
Hair: If you or the kids are planning to get a haircut or try a new style prior to your session, be sure to do it at least a couple of weeks beforehand. Also, avoid trying anything drastically new right before your session.
Makeup: If you wear it, keep it natural. Avoid glitter anything.
Nails: Be sure they are neatly trimmed with a fresh coat of polish if desired. This is a great excuse to get a manicure! Check that the kids have clean nails as well. Also consider a pedicure if you’ll be wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.
Tan lines: We all love to get that nice summer tan at the beach, but tan lines are notoriously hard to fix when editing photos. If you can, avoid getting too much sun in the weeks prior to your session, or plan your session wardrobe to conceal the tan lines.
Glasses: Reflections in eyeglasses are difficult to work with. If you ask your optometrist, sometimes it is possible to borrow frames with no lenses in them, and some will even be willing to remove the lenses from your own frames for the day. But if those aren’t options for you don’t worry. We’ll use some posing tricks to keep the glare off those glasses if necessary.