YOUR STYLE GUIDE.
Dressing yourself in the morning is hard enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. Choosing what to wear for a photoshoot can trigger even the most confident, farshun-ey fashionista to pull their entire wardrobe out onto the floor in search of the perfect outfit.
So if your nerves start to fizz when you think about what to wear, don’t worry. This is SO normal! Before you lose sleep to late nights spent online shopping--putting articles of clothing in your cart only to take them out again--let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t.
Number one thing I want you to remember? Being comfortable is EVERYTHING. You should look and feel like yourself, first and foremost.
BE COMFY. PLEASE
It’s not uncommon for people to want to shop for new, sparkly, fabulous clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And that’s totally fine - if that’s your jam. But let’s talk about comfort a little more. Do you think you’d be more comfortable in your favourite t-shirt and jeans or a new clingy little black dress? The best route is usually to go with something that’s tried and true. Something you know moves with you and hugs you in all the right places. Don’t get me wrong - it 100% does not have to be jeans and a t-shirt. You can glam it up a bit more if that’s what you fancy. But if authenticity is what you’re after, you’re going to have to show up as yourself. And if you want to capture this time of your life in all its glory, then it’s about the feeling of being in your own skin.
Match your outfit TO THE LOCATION AND SEASON.
And this is step #1 because most of the time this is the first thing that is planned. When considering your backdrop when picking your outfits you will want to find colors, shades and tones that contrast the location. The clothing we wear can can compete with the backdrop if not considered. You want to look like you belong. If you’re wearing a fancy ball gown in your living room, the viewer might assume you’re going to prom. Don a little sundress number in a snowy field and the viewer might suffer from a crippling amount of pity for you. You and I will be collaborating on telling your story together, so let’s get this right.
Plan your outfits around what you know about the conditions at the location we’ll be shooting at. You’ll want to be warm enough (or cool enough!), have pain-free feet, and look relatively native to your environment. For at home sessions, slip into your comfiest comfies and rock that (pants optional). The idea is to authentically capture you wherever you are.
Think through your clothing choices logically based on location, vibe, and comfort level.
Start with Mom! Yay! Picking an outfit for ourselves may be the hardest part, most time we pick something for our little ones first. Momma, find something that makes you feel confident and pretty! What you wear and how you feel will radiate in your images.
Next, pull from the colors of that outfit. look for the complimenting colors that coordinate with your first choice, but do NOT MATCH.
Aim for neutrals, earthy tones, and metallics. These colours compliment the outdoor environment almost anywhere you go and look damn fine as a printed, framed photograph.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a beige world of quiet and inoffensive colours. By neutrals, I just mean softer tones. Primary colours are incredibly striking, but can sometimes have the effect of detracting from the main subject (which is you). So for example, instead of electric blue, go for something closer to sky blue. Instead of bright orange, opt for ochre or apricot.
A rule of thumb here is to choose to either complement your natural environment or contrast it. A mustard dress in a deep green forest will look epic, whereas a bright pink, patterned dress doesn’t really fit in with your surroundings. It totally depends on what you’re looking for!
For families it’s best to keep your colour scheme limited to four colours. You can choose one person to wear a feature colour and have everyone else’s outfits complement that.
INCOPORATE TEXTURE AND MOVEMENT.
Pick fabrics that move and flow with you. Ones that add a cosy texture, or get picked up by the wind, filter the late afternoon sun, and glow in the morning light. Natural fibres like linen, cotton, or wool are amazing. Avoid stiff-seeming garments with collars as they look a bit too formal and often get tucked in weird spots and need adjusting.
THE FINE ART OF ACCESSORISING.
Hats, sunglasses, socks, and jackets are a great way to jazz up your accessory game. Throw some fun extras into your bag but avoid large distracting pieces. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m interested in shooting you (not your clothes or your bling).
Watches are a bit of a weird one, especially in couple sessions. The big fat circle face of a watch is particularly apparent when people are holding each other’s faces and bringing them in for some sugar. Best to leave the watch at home unless its sentimental.
SHOES, SHOES, SHOES!
You can’t have come this far, painstakingly planning your outfit, only to stop at your ankles. Shoes are a key part of a look and ideally complement the rest of the outfit.
If you wear heels like a pro, I definitely don’t have the authority to tell you not to do that! But if you, like the rest of us mere mortals, find heels to be moderately uncomfortable, then do yourself a favour and ditch ‘em. In most cases, we’ll be stomping around on some relatively uneven terrain and I don’t want you spraining an ankle--not on my watch. I’ll probably be giving you some energetic prompts to follow, too, so you’ll want to be ready for action.
Select the right shoes based on the location, and consider what you’d normally wear if I wasn’t following you around with a camera. Being barefoot makes sense on the beach, and boots are beautiful in the mountains.
Leather is great for boots, and know that sandals win over flip flops by a long shot. Always consider context when choosing footwear for both aesthetic appeal and practicality.
LET'S TALK PROPS!
Props don’t have to scream ‘PROP!” Go for the subtle things that accentuate your personality and help to tell a story about your life. Think pets, an umbrella, car, FLOWERS, or even a beer. Avoid the cheese as much as possible.
Make-up and Hair
Do's and Don'ts
So this is totally your call! But, if I may… I would suggest cultivating a bit of the French je ne sais quoi that balances elegance and ease so well. I want you to look like you. So do whatever you need to do to feel confident and beautiful.
Hands tell such a story about who you are and where you’ve been and play a crucial role in portrait photography. Sometimes photographs magnify bright nail polish, chipped manicures, and dirty fingernails. And once you see it, you can’t un-see it--your eye just keeps on zooming in on that one bit of the photograph. It’s really distracting. Treat yourself to a little subtle manicure or make sure your nails are neat and tidy before the shoot.
As for hair… Oh boy. I’m a sucker for the way a wild mane blows in the breeze. Up-dos are alright, and I totally get it--it’s so easy to throw your hair up! But when it comes to saving a moment and putting it in your pocket, hair down is the way to go. With your hair down, you get movement, you get interest, you get some perfect slices of imperfection in the best possible way.
be careful with patterns and prints.
Avoid large bold patterns as they often dominate the photograph and detract attention from your beautiful face.
Usually, subtle smaller patterns work best. Flannels or a light floral print are great when they complement the location. But less is definitely more with this one, try to limit yourself to one pattern at a time. Matching patterns is a tricky task, and it’s super difficult to do well.
If you’re not quite sure what category your patterned clothes fall into, shoot me an email or send me a text.
More (very important) Tips
Ensure that your undergarments are not showing.
Undergarments MATTER! If you are wearing a white dress, you need nude panties and a nude bra. Not black. Not blue. Not hot pink or neon green! These things will show up in your photos. (well unless that is what you want :)
please invest in a great shaper if you'd like! I've done it for myself, and it DOES help with looking a bit SMOOTHER :)
- Shop at the same store. Make coordinating family photo outfits easy by shopping at the same store or brand. (Most stores will release coordinating and seasonal fashion)
- Choosing colors from your home. Many of my family photo sessions take place in the comfort of the home. I tell my families to dress to coordinate with their home.
- Do you want to dress up? Dress UP! Don’t be afraid to dress up in formal clothes, especially for special occasions sessions.
I will happily help you along the way and can send you suggestions in where to start!
I look forward CREATING WITH YOU.
WELL, NOW, ARE YOU PLANNING TO GO SHOPPING? I HAVE A GUIDE FOR THAT TOO!