Preparing for your Photoshoot!
Can be bold with colour and style. Pick clothes they will want to wear and make their personalities shine. Make sure their clothes don’t over power or wash them out. We want their faces to shine through.
Avoid any clothes with logos, writing or strong patterns. This will distract from your child. Sometimes plain clothes with bright colours or beautiful simple vintage-y colours work best. It depends a lot on your child’s personality and tones.
I recommend not making a big deal with little kids about having a photo session. As parents we try to prepare our children as much as possible. However, I find this tends to back fire and kids tend to then get a bit anxious about the session. I recommend to introduce me as your friend Gray, who is coming over for a play and may take some pictures. It is best to keep it fun and exciting as possible for the little ones.
Also, the key to happy children are happy parents. No matter how crazy the hours before your session are ... remember to relax. Children quickly pick up on our stress, but unfortunately don’t forget it as easily as we do. Don’t worry. This is a special time to celebrate your family ... it’s going to be fun ... even if they end up wearing something you didn’t pick out! (I have 3 kids ... I understand).
You don’t need to match, they just need to coordinate. Best to avoid some in real dark and some in real light colours. Choose a palette of 3-4 colors and mix it up, including both pants and dresses. You want a cohesive feel, but without being overly ‘matchy-matchy’. Picture a page in a clothing catalog where everyone coordinates, but nobody stands out more than the rest.
Please feel free to ask questions, send me a photo of your options, or bring different options on the day. I find it best to lay your clothes out on a bed a few days before. Parents first, then kids on top. Make sure your selection is cleaned and pressed and ready to go the day before.
More Details on Outfit Co-ordinating
The number one question I get asked when planning for a session is “What are we going to wear?” Don’t worry, even as a photographer, this issue completely stresses me out too when it comes to getting my family photographed. And I have failed and I have learned.
Let’s break it down and take the stress out of it for you. Because what really matters is the people in your images, not what they are wearing. But hey, I want you to be looking great and happy!
**Please remember that we also do supply clothing so ask us what we supply it may save you some money**
First, why not start with Mum’s outfit:
It can be hard to know where to begin, but think of it as building blocks. Start with one outfit and then you can build upon that. Let’s start with Mum (or daughter), since women’s clothing tends to have more colours and prints. And honestly, we are more picky about how we look, and Mums are typically pulling the outfits together anyway.
The best advice is for you to wear a dress in your favourite colour. Not only are dresses flattering, but you will feel good in it. If you hate dresses, think about a skirt/top combo, but choose something that is slightly dressier than your everyday look. Are pants your thing? No worries, just make sure to opt for high quality fabrics (not t-shirt material) because they hang better.
Then, add in the others by choosing the colour palette:
After you’ve chosen Mum’s outfit, think about 2-3 coordinating colours, some neutral and one of which pops and brings life to the outfits. By limiting the colours, we see the people first and your portrait looks more stunning. I’ve created a Pinterest board with Summertime family photo outfit ideas! Go check it out!
Avoid overly saturated and bold colours, as they distract in the photo. Look for muted versions of the same colour. For example, if you have a bright hot pink shirt, try a muted dusty rose instead.
Note, let’s coordinate, not match:
No more wearing matching white polos and khakis for family photos on the beach! Choose colours that complement each other but are not overly matchy-matchy. For example, avoid wearing the same colour top as your spouse or putting your girls in the same matching dresses (unless they like to wear the same thing).
Finally, do the overall eyeball check test:
Lay out the parent’s clothes on a bed, then layer on top the kids’ clothes. Does it work? Send me a quick smartphone image. By doing this, you will see if it works. I will give you my honest opinion, promise!
Other Tips and Tricks
Add flair with subtle patterns: To add depth and interest to your photos, create dimension by having primarily solids with a few coordinating subtle patterns and textures. Patterns are great in small doses and add a lot of your photo. Avoid bold, large prints that can distract from the photo though. You want your family photos to be about you and not merely your outfits.
It’s Hobart, dress for the weather: You might have the perfect outfit on, but if you’re freezing or sweating to death, a family photo session can quickly unravel. Layering is the perfect solution. Remember, little ones get cold more quickly than adults when temperatures are low, so pack a cardigan or sweater for them. Cold kiddos = grumpy photos…keep those kids warm!
Fitted clothing is your friend: While flowy shirts and dresses are currently in style, they can hide your shape and be less flattering in photos. Find clothes that are neither overly baggy nor too tight, and think about balance between your upper and lower half. If you have a flowing skirt, chose a fitted top, and with a loose top, choose skinny jeans.
You do YOU: Don’t dress like someone else you saw on Pinterest just because you found an amazing outfit idea. You want these photos to represent the real you and your family and not be something that you aren’t. This might mean you wear shorts or a vintage thrift store dress. Just be you! But send me a photo first so I can approve :)
Classic always rules: Super trendy clothes are so fun because they look amazing now, but think about classic styles and outfits that will not make you cringe in 15 years.
Ask your kids: Yes, that is right …. Involve your children in planning and choosing outfits. They will be much more excited about family photos if they like what they’re wearing. This doesn’t mean that you should let your daughter wear her favourite princess dress. Instead, incorporate their favourite colour. Please don’t make them wear something they hate. You want your kiddos happy for your session!
Yes, shoes matter: Shoes have the power to complete an outfit or completely destroy it! Think about your session location. If you are in a field, for instance, you won’t be able to walk in those stilettos. Avoid bright white shoes, all athletic sneakers, and kids’ shoes with cartoon characters and sparkles. If you just can’t find shoes you love, consider having the family go barefoot for the session (just bring shoes to walk around at the location!).
PLEASE DON’T WAIT TO TRY ON YOUR CLOTHES UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE: Try on your clothes well in advance so you can switch it up if something isn’t working. Make sure it’s not something that you will be pulling up all the time. Also, check for spots and wrinkles (ON THE CLOTHES). I can smooth out any on the face :)
Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable in what you wear. You don’t want an outfit that keeps shifting out of place or falling down. Choose clothing that allows you to play with your kids, move freely and feels good on you. For guys this means that shirts that look good untucked are usually better since you will be playing and moving around with your kids and you don’t want to have to keep tucking in your shirt.
OOOOO accessorise: Don’t forget earrings, bracelets, hats, or other accessories that help complete your outfit! But nothing to over the top, remember classic, timeless.
Make-up is part of your outfit: Apply your makeup in natural light so that you know how it will look for outdoor photos. Apply just a little bit more than you usually would and make sure to blend foundation well with your neck. Stay away from nude lipsticks as they wash you out, but do make sure to wear lip gloss (chapstick for everyone in the family so they don’t have the dry lip look).
Ok, let’s recap with the NO-NO List
OVERSIZED CLOTHING: Steer clear of cargo shorts, baggy jeans, and oversized clothing.
MEN’S SHORTS: Dads, leave the shorts at home and opt for pants so your hairy legs don’t distract from the photo.
BRIGHT WHITE: White has the tendency to wash out complexions. Choose ivory and creams instead.
BOLD AND DARK COLOURS: Dark colours (e.g., navy blues, black, dark browns and greys) should be avoided, since they appear black in photos. Also, dark colours can wash out your complexion and create an overly dark feel in the photo. Overly saturated colours can distract from the photo, so look instead for muted versions. For example, if you have a bright yellow dress, think about a mustard or gold dress instead.
LOGOS: Logos or text on clothing is distracting. Avoid shirts that have logos.
STRAPLESS/SLEEVELESS TOPS: Unless you absolutely love your arms, avoid strapless or sleeveless tops. Sleeves are typically more flattering for everyone!
ATHLETIC SHOES: White tennis shoes, athletic shoes, and character shoes (think Disney princess shoes) should all be avoided. Leather shoes, casual sneakers (think Converse), sandals, slide-on canvas shoes, and wedges are all great options.
LOW-CUT AND OVERLY TIGHT SHIRTS: Low-cut shirts can shift during the session and leave you a little more revealed than you intended. Clothing that is overly tight and clings to you is uncomfortable and can leave bulges and bumps in places you don’t want.
TRANSITIONAL LENSES: If you typically wear glasses, wear them for your session. But if you have polarised or transitional lenses, consider taking them off. Dark glasses will cover your eyes in the photos.
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