Thursday, September 30, 2010

What to Wear, What to Wear?

That is the question.  Once you book a shoot and decide on a location, what in the world should you wear?  I know, the matchy-matchy-white-button-down-khaki-pant look is still very popular, but let’s face it, very few people look good in white unless you’re a bride.  And it’s not very exciting.  So here are some tips on how to inject a little color and zing into your family portrait wardrobe selection.

First question, formal or casual?
How dressy do you want to be?  Fancy dresses,  jeans and t-shirts, or somewhere in between?  It’s best that whichever way you go, everyone in the portrait is at the same level.  (Unless you’re going for a specific look, of course.)

Next, what’s your color palette?
You can start by choosing a favorite outfit for your little one and build around that.  Or maybe Mom has a beautiful argyle sweater she wants to wear.  Start with one outfit and go from there.   Don’t forget about accessories and shoes as great ways to add a pop of color and interest.  You can bring a hat and have a fun prop and a new look right there at your fingertips…well, on your head, that is.

A few tips:
  • Little girls in dresses are precious.  Little girls in dresses also tend to flash the camera. Be sure to remember bloomers or a diaper cover if your little princess will be wearing a dress.
  • Comfort is as important as Look when it comes to kids.  Don’t put them in something that will cause you stress if they sit in the grass or get a little dirty.  Or at least bring another outfit that they can romp around in.
  • Ladies, if you are wearing anything strappy or low-cut, be conscious of bra straps.  Double stick tape works wonders.
  • Wrinkly fabrics look even more wrinkly on camera.  Fabrics with a sheen can look a little weird.  Natural cottons seem to work pretty well.  
  • On men, a good fitting shirt and nice posture is a fantastic combination.  try not to wear a too-baggy shirt or one that pulls at the buttons at all. 

I did a layout of a family wardrobe selection below as an example.  (Click on it to see larger image)  Boy, did I have fun styling my imaginary family of four.  I felt like Rachel Zoe without all the drama.  I’m going to do these slides periodically and tag them all “what to wear” so you can find them in my blog when you need inspiration.  Incidentally, all of these items (except the converse sneakers) I found on

 Style Notes:
  • I based my color palette on Mom’s argyle sweater.  Navy, Pink, Blue, Coral, and Gray.  Mom is wearing gray casual pants, chambray ballet flats and shiny silver hoop earrings.
  • I picked up the blue in Dad’s shirt and paired it with nice dark wash straight-leg jeans.  I finished his look with dark gray slip-on sneakers.
  • Big Sis has a cute polka-dot sweater matching the coral/pink tones in Mom’s sweater.  She’s wearing a pleated jeans skirt with gray leggings underneath and gray converse sneakers.
  • Little Sis is wearing a casual pink dress with navy leggings and navy converse.
  • The brighter colors on the children will draw more attention to the girls, but the family will look great together in their family portraits.  

Stay tuned for my next blog:  "What to Bring," or "Cool Stuff to include in your Photo Shoot."

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