Dressing your family for you session

There is nothing harder then coordinating your family for those beautiful family pictures. In here I will help you understand how to style, match, and still stay comfortable for your session.

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Don't Dress to Impress

  • Dress your family like you do on a typical day. If your little one hates jeans, please don’t make him/her wear them. If your husband’s summer attire is polo shirts and khaki shorts, just roll with it. You will find that the the images will look more authentic and your family will feel more comfortable during the session.

Coordinate, Don't Match

  • Choose clothing that coordinates. It can be tempting to match everyone in identical outfits (especially along gender lines), but I discourage this because it can make the final images look a little “stiff.” By choosing a color palette that you love and dressing everyone around it, you will create a family that looks like they belong together while still celebrating everyone’s uniqueness. Plus, color coordinating will hide any individual article of clothing that isn’t “perfect” to you.

Layer, Layer, Layer

  • Layers are your friend. Not only will they make it easier to create each outfit, but they will allow you some flexibility with the unpredictable weather that Washington is known for. In addition, layers will allow you to add variety to your images without having to change clothes mid-session. At the last session for my family, I had a sweater and scarf on hand. Our final images have different looks to them using those two pieces alone!

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SAY YES TO:

COMFORT 

Above all, if you feel good, you will look good! Choose clothing that gives you freedom of movement, keeps you warm/cool, and won’t require a lot of maintenance throughout your session.

TEXTURE

Add some visual interest to your images with unique fabrics. Some examples: lace, cable knits, chambray, tweed, herringbone, chambray, faux fur, wool

PATTERNS

Don’t be scared of patterns and prints! They can work great in moderation. Try one statement piece (for instance, a colorful floral dress for mom) and one subtle pattern (maybe tiny polka dots for baby girl), and then keep the rest of the family more simple.


Don'ts

Character Tee's & Large Logos
Loud Patterns
Mixing multiple bright colors with neutral ones

Do's

Textures
Accessories
Color

 
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With these rules in mind, here is my secret method for family clothing selection:

Who's the hardest to dress?

Determine who is the most difficult to dress. Choices include: your daughter who is notorious picky but has a current favorite outfit that she is likely to wear without complaint, your husband who had three nice shirts to his name, or you, because there is one pair of pants that makes you forget what childbearing has done to your body. Everyone difficult? Assemble the must use pieces of clothing for each family member on the bed and continue.


Color Palette:

Look at the colors you’ve assembled so far. Use the existing color palette and the knowledge of who you have left to dress to decide on 2-3 colors.

Favorites include: gray/navy/pink, teal/yellow/blue, orange/blue/brown, green/blue, purple/light blue, gray/red, yellow/blue/green


Different Shades, Same Colors:

Add articles of clothing from closets (or stores, if you must). Different shades of the same color are very forgiving so you don’t even need to worry about choosing the same exact shade. Use accessories like necklaces, scarves, or shoes to add bursts of color.


Take Pictures!

Take a photo send to your photographer if you have questions. They are an invaluable resource and do not mind providing feedback (trust me, they don’t). Plus, if you get a glowing review, you’ll feel amazing about yourself!

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CHEET SHEET

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MOM

SAY YES TO:

  • maxi dresses

  • fitted tops tucked into long skirts

  • a-line dresses/coats

  • skinny jeans

  • cardigans

  • blazers

  • scarves

  • ankle boots

  • riding boots

  • fitted tunics

SAY NO TO:

  • strapless

  • sleeveless (unless you love your arms)

  • low-cut shirts

  • baggy clothes

  • chunky knits

  • cheap/flimsy fabrics

GIRLS

SAY YES TO:

  • everything listed for mom

    plus these optional accessories:

  • headbands, hats, bows, rain boots

SAY NO TO:

  • visible diaper/underwear (try shorts or tights for under dresses)

  • neon

  • character shits or big logos

  • athletic shoes or character shoes

DAD

SAY YES TO: 

  • blazers

  • chino pants/shorts

  • button-downs with sleeves rolled up to elbows

  • sweaters layered over collared shirts

  • dark wash jeans

  • leather shoes/boots

  • cardigans

SAY NO TO:

  • short-sleeved polos

  • short-sleeved button-downs

  • baggy shorts/pants

  • athletic shoes

  • cargo shorts

  • white t-shirts

BOYS

SAY YES TO:

  • everything listed for dad,

    plus these optional accessories:

  • suspenders, bowtie, caps, high-top sneakers

SAY NO TO:

  • tank tops

  • neon

  • visible diaper

  • character shirts or big logos

  • athletic shoes or character shoes (Disney, etc.)


Kids: 10 months and under (Or non-walking)

They don't need expensive shoes. White socks, or crib shoes work. moccasins are adorable! Boots are always a cute go-to. 


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CONSIDER YOUR HOME DECOR.

 

If you’re planning to hang your images in your living room that’s decorated in all white, you probably don’t want your clothing to be dark. If you’re hanging them in a colorful nursery, then wear vivid outfits.

 

WHAT ARE YOU USING THEM FOR?

 

Although this is a Fall Family session, consider planning your wardrobe to either be targeted for holiday cards you send out once a year or general family photos to last over the years. Maybe they are just for yearly updated Family photos. Consider if they will fit displayed as a family portrait 10 years down the road on aunt Gretchen's fridge. Or quickly become outdated because of a "popular" clothing choice that season. Think about the longevity. 

 

PLAN FOR THE WEATHER.

 

Nothing is worse than being miserably uncomfortable in a perfect outfit. If you’re planning an outdoor session in Oct-Feb, think about coats, gloves, and hats. In the summer, dress in layers that you can easily take off if you get too hot.

Let’s face it, we live in Washington. It’s notorious for being sunny one moment then 3 minutes later it is pouring rain.

  


FINAL ADVICE:

 

 

TRY ON YOUR CLOTHES WELL IN ADVANCE!

Check your outfits from all possible angles in the mirror, not just the one you like best. Try sitting, squatting, leaning forward, etc. The kids’ clothes should work well in motion so that we can play during your session (think flying, tickling, hanging upside down, and of course sitting).

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Stylizing your family portraits can definitely be daunting. But don't let it scare you. You have plenty of time to plan. If you get stuck, turn to pinterest.