Prepping For Your Family Session: 10 Tips on What to Wear

Planning your family’s wardrobe for a photo session can almost be as stressful as finding the right photographer! Because I’m here to make this a stress-free and fun experience from start to finish, I have some tips and suggestions that will make selecting your family’s wardrobe for your session a breeze!

SNP-Blog-Malinowski_0014 Prepping For Your Family Session:  10 Tips on What to Wear

1. Start with Mom.

Mom, plan your entire outfit first.  We want you feeling confident and looking amazing, because the old adage is true – if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!  Long, flowy dresses look amazing on camera, but here’s my number one rule: be true to who you are and be comfy.  If you’re not a dress type of gal, go for a style that fits you.  As you can see above, I’m more of a jeans/boots/scarf kind of girl, and it works for me!  It’s what I’m the most comfortable in, and that translates to confidence on camera.  After you’ve got your outfit planned, pull together everyone else’s outfits.

2. Coordinate, don’t match.

Everyone in your family doesn’t need to wear the exact same colors. Matchy-matchy portraits aren’t trendy anymore… Instead, choose colors that coordinate well. Need ideas? You can search for color schemes on Pinterest, or check out my personal color palette board here.

3. Don’t wear all white or all black clothing.

I strongly suggest that you limit the amount of solid white or solid black clothing you choose to wear. In photography jargon, these colors are easily blown out (whites) or clipped (black). Basically, details of your clothing are easily lost in these colors. They are best used in small doses as neutral colors, and not the ‘main attraction’.

4. Consider your home decor

When contemplating your wardrobe choices for a session, take your home decor into consideration. What is your style? Do you like bright colors, or are neutrals more your taste? You want to make sure that your wardrobe choices will compliment your home’s color scheme, because soon you will have a beautiful portrait to display!

5.  Add in a few layers

Layering is probably my all time favorite ‘what to wear’ tip.  By adding pieces like cardigans, jackets, sweaters, or button down shirts, you add texture and depth to your photos.  Texture is definitely your friend!  Layers can also provide you with a variety of looks by adding/removing a layer.  Need another reason?  Layers make awesome posing tools.

6.  Accessorize

This is my second favorite tip.  These are your photos, and I want to see your personalities shine through!  Nothing adds personality like your accessories.  Wear your scarves, belts, hats, great jewelry….  Whatever makes you feel your best!  Just don’t overdo it.  Accessories in moderation add great texture and make your portrait interesting, but too many can be distracting.

7.  Limit Patterns

I love patterns, and I think they add great visual interest to photos.  But, if you’re going to wear clothing with a pattern, be very careful…  Patterns that are too large can be distracting, and small grid like patterns cause a wavy effect in camera called moiré.  Remember, we want you to be the focus of the photos, not your outfit!

8.  no Characters or logos

Please, please, please do not wear a tshirt with a giant Nike swoosh!  Large logos are incredibly distracting and take all the focus from you in the image.   Also, I know your kiddos love super heroes and princesses, but just like patterns, characters can be a distraction as well.   If your child insists on wearing a shirt with a character, bring a button down shirt to layer over it.  I actually love this look for little boys.

9.  Think Timeless

Picture a 1980’s image…   Be honest, you immediatley thought about big hair and neon colors, right?!   When considering outfits for your session, think classic styles.  You don’t want to date the photo too much by leaning to heavily on the current trends.  Like we said earlier, these photographs will be hanging in your home or will be passed down in a photo album for years to come!

10.  Plan ahead

By reading this post, you are already on the right track.  But don’t stop here!   Make sure the outfits you have in mind will still fit the kids well.  And check to see if his sports jacket or your dress might need to be dry cleaned.  Planning ahead is the key to a great session.   Remember, it’s all about making this process easier and less stressful.

Need a little more inspiration?  Visit my Pinterest board!


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About Suzanne Barnes

Suzanne is a professional photographer in The Woodlands, Texas, specializing in families, maternity, newborns, seniors.  She's a Christian, wife, a mom of two boys, and a self-diagnosed Pinterest addict who basically runs on caffeine.

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