What to Wear: Fashion Inspiration for Families

One of the main things parents stress about when planning a family photo session is what to wear!  Angie will always have an email exchange or call with you to discuss the styling of your photo shoot to help you think through what will work best for your family.  However, here are some quick tips to help you in planning your look:

1. Be yourself and be comfortable!  This is the same thing I tell my high school seniors.  If you don’t feel good in what you’re wearing, you won’t look as good in your images!  Of course you may want to dress up a bit more, but make sure you are remaining true to who you are.  This is especially true for kiddos.  Yes, they look adorable in poofy dresses with a ton of crinoline or dress shirts and vests, but if your child is uncomfortable, it’s not going to make for a very good experience.  There are lots of adorable and comfortable options so make the process easy on yourself to avoid meltdowns. :)

2. Coordinate, but don’t go overly matchy-matchy.  You want your images to reflect the unique personalities of your family members, while still looking like one cohesive unit.  Although you are welcome to have everyone in the same basic outfit (e.g., jeans and a black t-shirt or khakis and a white dress shirt), I suggest coming up with a palette of coordinating colors and patterns.  At a minimum, accessorize those basic outfits with pops of color.  For instance, if you want to have everyone in khakis and a white shirt, consider:

  • Having everyone in a different style of white shirt–mom in a peasant blouse, dad in a dress shirt, son in a polo shirt, daughter in a long-sleeve v-neck, etc.
  • Accessorizing with bold jewelry, scarves, hats, vests, ties, and headbands.  Let each member of the family accessorize their outfit in a way that shows their style and personality.  If dad always wears a hat but would be miserable in a tie, let him pick out a hat that will coordinate with the feeling of the shoot!  If your daughter loves chunky, layered necklaces–perfect!  Add them to her outfit!
  • Relaxing the “uniform” requirements.  Instead of being rigid with the khaki pants and white shirt look, mix it up by staying in that palette, but letting family members wear whatever they want in those colors, for instance, your baby girl may be wearing a white dress, dad may be in a white linen shirt with khaki cargo shorts, and mom may wear a white maxi dress with a cropped khaki jacket.

3. Think about the end result and the purpose for your photo session.

  • What do you plan to do with your photos?  Are you planning to have large prints or canvases made to hang in your home?  If so, consider the colors in your home when selecting your outfits.
  • Are you planning to use your photos in holiday cards or announcements?  If so, think about outfits that will suit the occasion, season, or theme.
  • Do you want images of the kids “in their element”?  If so, consider picking outfits that fall on the more casual side for a “lifestyle” shoot as opposed to a more formal portrait session.
  • Do you want a mix of casual and formal images?  If so, consider wearing layers and/or accessories that can easily be removed.  If you have small children, doing a complete outfit change may be difficult, but removing a cute peacoat, blazer, bow tie, or sweater is much easier and can completely modify the look for a outfit.

4. Don’t recreate the wheel.  If you are admittedly not great at coordinating outfits for your entire family, use to your resources!  First, your favorite photographer will have suggestions! :)  Second, check Pinterest and Polyvore!  These are invaluable places to find outfit suggestions from people with amazing style!  Third, look at displays in your favorite department stores.  Places like Old Navy will often have wonderful displays with a family of mannequins dressed in coordinated styles from their most recent collection.  Use the expertise of those store stylists to get ideas for what may work for your family.

5.  Use what you’ve got!  I beg you…don’t break the bank and buy all new outfits for your whole family solely for the purpose of a photo session.  Of course, if you need some retail therapy, by all means, get your shopping on! :)  However, I guarantee each family member likely has, at least, the good start of a photo worthy outfit already in his or her wardrobe.  Contact Angie to talk it through!

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