10 DOS AND DON’TS WHEN CHOOSING YOUR OUTFITS FOR FAMILY PHOTOSHOOTS
For a long time I have avoided writing a what to wear guide or blog post about clothing choices for family photoshoots. This is because I want you as my clients to come in what reflects the true you. I don’t want you to think you have to dress in a certain ‘style’ you may have seen on my portfolio or social media. I don’t want you to feel like you have to go and buy new outfits unless of course you want to.
Sometimes just getting family members along to photos can be a battle in itself without trying to influence how they dress and I understand that. Furthermore, I am acutely aware that there are people with sensory issues who may have limits on what they can comfortably wear. At the end of the day I am a baby and child led photographer. If your two year old (or fifty-six year old) has a favourite pair of tracksuit pants they refuse to take off or they insist on wearing their dress-ups I will embrace that as where they are at this point in their lives.
I don’t mind whether you are thinking you want to get all dressed up or are leaning towards coming in jeans and gumboots. Take the following points as things to think about only and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t feel you have to adhere to any or all of them.
Of course if you have specific questions or would like me to look over your choices prior to your session I am always more than happy to do so. Just remember I am a total dag and live in jeans and leggings myself and don’t profess to be a fashion guru by any stretch!
1. BE COMFORTABLE
Being comfortable and feeling good about yourself is the priority when being photographed. Dress for the season and forecast weather because you don’t want to be boiling hot or freezing cold. Don’t wear things that you know you constantly need to tug at and readjust because they ride up or fall off your shoulders.
The majority of locations I photograph at require somewhat sensible shoes to get to them. If you want to wear new shoes, heels or something made of a delicate material such as suede I suggest bringing them and popping them on once we are ready to start shooting. If you intend to have some or all photos taken barefoot do not wear tight socks that will leave indents around your ankles when you remove them.
My sessions all involve movement of some sort which may be as gentle as walking through to throwing young children up in the air or onto your shoulders to piggy backing your partner. Therefore wearing well fitting underwear that doesn’t hang out when being active is important (unless that is the specific, trendy look you are going for). I try and keep an eye out for exposed waistbands on guy’s undies or little girls whose dresses have ridden up but plain, unbranded jocks and knickers can go a long way to not drawing attention to these things. For young children in nappies a one piece outfit or a singlet or tshirt with press studs in the crotch can help avoid nappy waist bands hanging out.
4. PHONES, KEYS, SPORT WATCHES AND HAIR TIES
I always do a quick check of families when I first meet them. I remind everyone to empty their pockets and take off anything that might be considered a distraction like chunky watches (that aren’t sentimental) or hair ties around wrists as these can detract from your finished images. Be mindful of these things as you are getting dressed.
If you don’t normally wear makeup don’t feel you must if it is going to make you feel uncomfortable or not like yourself. If you do wear makeup applying it 20% darker than normal day wear is a good guide.
6. TEXTURES AND LAYERS
Textured clothing can photograph beautifully and unlike tshirt fabric can hide lumps and bumps we might not want attention drawn to so is definitely something to consider when choosing what to wear. Layers can add interest to an outfit and be used to disguise body parts we may want to cover. It is also handy to be able to add or subtract some clothing as you may get warmer as the session goes on.
7. FLURO AND NEON COLOURS
Fluorescent and neon coloured clothing should not be worn. These shades reflect colour back onto your skin creating unnatural and unflattering skin tones.
8. LOGOS AND STRIPES
Large logos can draw attention away from your face so this is something to be mindful of. Fine stripes, when photographed, can cause an optical illusion called moire where they appear wavy and water like. Generally these patterns are best avoided or at a minimum bring an second clothing option in case we run into this issue.
9. CO-ORDINATE DON’T MATCH
My mantra for individuals is to co-ordinate with each other without being matchy matchy. By that I mean consider dressing in a similar style (i.e. semiformal, casual, relaxed) and with some common elements such as complimentary shades or colour palettes. Matchy matchy would be everyone wearing, for example, red plaid or blue jeans and white tshirts. For larger families or extended family groups definitely avoid having everyone wear the same solid colour such as white or black as this can cause the appearance of “floating heads” when you have two or more rows of people in an image all wearing the same colour.
10. INJECT SOME PERSONALITY
If you have a signature style or accessory don’t shy away from including it. Your photos should look like you so if you love red shoes or have a thing for heavy metal tshirts don’t feel you can’t go with that. If in doubt bring a backup item and we can always do some photos with and some without.