It's two hours before your session. Your spouse walks into the room to see garments being flung onto the floor. You whip your head out of the closet, frazzled, you utter "What am I going to wear!?"
We've all been there. I've gotten messages hours prior to a session where clients still don't know what to wear. It's a big decision! I get it. So, I'm here to help. Below you'll read what I recommend. I'll offer examples, as well as examples of what not to wear, and recommendations for mom, dad, kids and everyone in between.
Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. Some base colors could be black, white, gray, beige, taupe, and tan. These are a good place to start and then adding in some muted tones such as chocolate, dreamy pink, olive green, mustard yellow, or navy. These are of course only some colors as there is a whole spectrum of colors.
Now, will all my clients to wear neutrals? Probably not. But if you want photos that highlight your expressions, photos that aren't busy, and photos that you can hang on walls with any home design, I suggest you stick to neutrals.
Coordinating Colors and Outfits
Families can be so hard to coordinate. When it comes to getting everyone on board, I recommend starting everyone off with your base color, whether it be tan, white, beige, or black. And then picking an accent color such as light blue, navy, blush, olive green or mustard yellow. Add shades of each color to add dimensions between each member. This will help tell which arm is whose!
This is where you can have a bit of fun. With little kids, you can add accessories such as a bow tie or headband with whatever accent color you choose. You can add a bit of flare with a subtle pattern in the child/ren's clothes. You can also coordinate one child to one parent, and the another to the other parent. When they're little, adding a pattern or color can be perfect.
When it comes to the adults, I would recommend a more subtle approach. I would keep any patterns for the children and solid colors for the parents. The reason is that usually, the adults will take up more space in the frame of the photo than the children will. Doing this will keep the busyness from a pattern to a minimum.
With couples, the same idea as families would apply. Start with a common base color and then add whatever color you'd like. Staying away from bold patterns or colors. Try to stick with softer or muted tones, such as olive green, or light blue. And my biggest advise would be don't be afraid to get fancy! Now is your chance to get dressed up or dolled up. Have an outfit that you never know when to wear it to? Now you can. Have fun with it!
Wear what flatters your body.
I am all for positive body image. You are beautiful in your skin no matter what you wear. But you and only you knows what flatters your body the best. Want to wear a skin tight cocktail dress? Perfect. Jeans and tee shirt? Awesome. Point is, make sure you're comfortable.
If you wear something that you're not comfortable in, it'll show. And not only in your body language but the whole experience might be clouded by how uneasy you feel.
In my experience, you cannot go wrong in a long flowy dress. They can be so fun and we can add movement to your shots that also makes for some hella magical shots.
Bring multiple outfits.
If you are planning to wear more than one outfit, I would recommend bringing a fun and casual outfit as your second set. For example, if your first outfit is a nice dress with heels, then your second can be your favorite pair of ripped jeans, a tank and a button down blouse. Or if you’re wearing slacks, a nice button down and jacket, then your second outfit can be a cotton tee and some Bermuda shorts. If we're shooting at a beach then a bathing suit is always a fun option as I'll most likely get you in the water! Almost always, I would recommend coming in your "dressy" outfit first and then we'll change into the fun outfit last.
Hair and Make up.
So first and foremost, having hair and make up done is in no way necessary for your session. You are beautiful as you are.
Second, if you do decide to have hair and make up done, I would recommend using the artist you are planning to use for your wedding. It’ll be the first time you’ll see what your makeup will look like on camera. And you can make adjustments if needed. If this is couples or family session, now is you chance to really get dolled up! I work with a few hair and make up artists that can help get you ready for our shoot.
Dress from head to toe.
Like from tip top of that cowlick to the bottom of those toes! These will be your memories and I want them perfect!
(There’s the Virgo Perfectionist side coming out…)
Your shoes will get in some shots, so wear shoes free of scuffs and marks. I may take close up of your hands too, so be sure that nails are at least clean. Clothing with distracting words or larger logos may distract from your expressions. So wear clothing with solid colors or soft mild prints.
Keep in mind of the location we are shooting at. I would not wear shoes to a beach location. Chances are I'll ask you to go barefoot and splash in the water! Flip flops or sandals would work best. If we are shooting in more rough terrain like in the grass or park, I'd avoid stiletto heels. However if you want to wear pointy heels, you can find heel grass protectors on Amazon here. You can always bring a second pair of shoes to walk around in and then change into your nicer session shoes when we're ready to start.
Some things to avoid.
There are a few more things to consider avoiding when choosing what to wear from your session:
- Fluorescent colors
- Large bold patterns
- Heavily saturated colors
- Baseball caps
- Smart Watches (If you normally wear one, I'd suggest switching it out for a more elegant watch)
- Clothing with wording
- Dirty or scuffed sneakers