So family photos are coming up, and you need to figure out what the whole family is wearing.
Maybe you have found yourself thinking these thoughts on one of your countless trips to the stores
- Will this even look good on camera?
- Does this dress work well with what everyone else is wearing?
- Does this make me look thin?
- Is this too dressy? Too casual?
- Do I need to buy something new? Or can I make something I already have work?
I hear this all the time… especially for family sessions! Trying to figure out what all 5 of you are going to wear so you look like the perfectly put-together family that you always are, can be such a headache!
Between the pile of amazon returns and trying to load the kids in the car for another trip to the mall, styling your session can feel like a mountain of a task!
Take a deep breath… you can do this and you’re not on your own. I tell all my BG clients that I will hold their hand and walk them through this process! Here is the order I go about styling families time and time again:
- Start with Mom… what do you want to wear? What do you feel most beautiful in? Once you know what you’re wearing you can easily add in the others. (Looking for the perfect dress for mom? Check out this blog: Top Women’s boutiques for ‘Style Guide-Friendly’ Outfits)
- I typically move to the girls next… Is there a dress they love that can coordinate nicely with yours? This is where you can bring in another pattern or color… maybe a big plaid or floral print.
- Finally, boys and Dad… boys tend to be the easiest to style and add in. Is there a nice solid shirt they can wear, neutral tones, khakis, and a nice pair of leather shoes?
I find it is easiest to work in that order… it helps give you a system to walk through, instead of trying to coordinate all the looks simultaneously.
Once you know the order to shop for while styling your family, it’s a matter of knowing what pieces will look good on camera and what will be most flattering. And that’s what I’m covering in this blog! I’ll be going over the top styling myths and things to avoid, so you can easily spot pieces that will look amazing in your family photos and others that will be not as flattering!
Let’s start by de-bunking some very common outfit myths that a lot of people believe about what they should wear to their session!
1. MYTH ONE: Avoid neutrals, they wash you out! Whoever started this myth couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sure, there are some colors that don’t work for some people; however, the truth is neutrals are the most photogenic color for portraits.
2. MYTH TWO: Always wear black or you won’t look thin! Sure, black is sliming, but it’s always very heavy in portraits. There is nothing wrong with black but if you’re only wearing it to look thinner and deep down, you’re hoping for light and airy portraits, it may not be the best choice because black is not light and airy.
3. MYTH THREE: You two need to match! Please, for the love of all things beautiful, please don’t try to match your significant other! Instead, try to coordinate! Coordinating is a completely different concept from “matching”. Coordination means you are usually choosing different colors that look good together but are not close to being the same.
4. MYTH FOUR: Your location determines your style more than your outfit! False! Your outfit has way more impact than your location. Your location is just a setting in the background but you two will still be the main focus of the images.
5. MYTH FIVE: You have to buy something new! False! If you know you look beautiful in an outfit that you already have and it fits the style you want for your engagement session, that would be a great choice! I also have heard wonderful things with clients renting a dress or outfit from Rent the Runway. You don’t have to spend a ton to look and feel like a million bucks!
Okay, secondly, I thought it would be helpful to share things to avoid when choosing your outfits. This will save sooo much time and stress from the styling part of the process. If you are able to understand the different elements of clothes and understand how they will look on camera, you can flip through your closest quickly and decide what will look amazing and what you might want to avoid.
Here are some general “rules of thumb” when it comes to styling for your engagement session (*or any session for that matter). These “rules of thumbs” are based off of my experience and aren’t concrete rules that can’t be broken. However, if you have questions about one of them in regards to what you want to wear, just reach out to me and we can talk about what would be best!
Things to Avoid
1. Colors to avoid: bright reds, neon’s, bright oranges (they reflect color onto skin and can be difficult to edit!)
2. Avoid patterns smaller than a quarter: Tiny patterns because something called “Chromatic Abberation” in digital images. Men’s checkered shirts are fine if the “checks” are on the larger side.
3. Alternate Heaviness: If one of you is wearing very dark jeans, the other may want to wear lighter pants. If one of you is wearing a navy top, the other shouldn’t wear a dark/heavy colored top. To a certain degree, alternating the “heaviness” of your outfits can make your images look more balanced.
4. Avoid one of you being casual while the other is more dressy: This can look a bit awkward in photos. If one of you is dressed up and the other is casual, it can look a little odd in your images.
5. Other things to avoid: Tennis shoes, Graphic tees, Bold logos on shirts, Sunglasses & Baseball Hats
Choosing outfits and styling your session shouldn’t be complicated… It is one of my favorite parts of the process. Hopefully, once you have a better understanding of the outfit myths, choosing your outfits will be much simpler. And I think you’ll be surprised with how much more you love the way you look in your photos just by following these simple guidelines!