what to wear

What to wear, what to wear, what to wear???  Oh…  It can keep you up at night.  I know.  I have photos of my family taken too.  Here are the most important points to consider when dressing you and family for professional photos.

Location:  You have two choices.  Your wardrobe will dictate your location, or your location will dictate your wardrobe.  If you have your heart set on the family sitting together in a sun drenched field surrounded by natural grasses…  Then you should probably should put your daughter’s taffeta and lace dress back in the closet.  Give this some thought.  What is the overall look you are going for?  Decide that and go from there.

 Cowboy boots, denim and comfy cotton are a perfect pairing with the tiny yellow wildflowers and easy, natural feeling of this setting.2014-10-12_0033

Comfort:  You and I both want images of your babes being themselves.  This is hard to do when children are uncomfortable.  Maybe you can muscle through an hour of looking pretty in uncomfortable heels and Spanx, but your four year old?  Not so much.  Make sure that your kiddos are dressed in clothes that they can easily move around in.  Non binding, and weather appropriate.


Coordinate.  But not Matchy-match-Cheeziness:  Let’s not all dress in jeans and white shirts, okay?  Coordinating styles and colors is great, but we need to have some variety as well.  Stay away from logos and putting everyone in the same style.  (for example, don’t have everyone wear a different color of polo shirt and jeans.  Mix up the style a little.)  Mom.  You are the most important person in these photos.  That’s right.  You.  Pick your outfit first.  You don’t necessarily have to go shopping and buy new outfits for everyone, sometimes your closet is the best place to start.  Pick something that you love.  Something that you feel beautiful in.  Now build the rest of the family’s attire from there.   And for goodness sake…  Do yourself a HUGE favor and don’t save this for the night before our session.  Please.  Pretty please.  For a generally cohesive look, choose a color pallet that is at least three coordinating colors (less than that and it’s too matchy-matchy) but no more than four (any more than that and it is no longer cohesive.)  Don’t forget about bottoms.  Keep things visually interesting and less matchy by varied colors of pants.  Try a combo of denim, corduroy, leggings and skirts.

Brown, denim, gray and red tie everyone together.  The various textures of corduroy, plaid, and fur add visual interest.  


Hair and Make up:  The morning of your photo session is not the day to try out that intricate new hairstyle you saw on Pinterest, Mom.  It is, however a good time to go a little heavier with your make up than you typically would, even if you don’t usually wear much.  Go a little bolder on the cheeks, lips and eyes.  And don’t be afraid to wear false eyelashes!  Your eyes will really pop in your photos.

2014-10-12_0039  Accessories:  Accessories can really add a lot of character to your photos.  Layered sweaters, scarves, jackets, hats, headbands, jewelry, boots, fun tights, bow ties, suspenders…  Limitless possibilities.  Tutus, capes, brightly colored rain boots and fairy wings can add a touch of fun and whimsy as well.

These rain boots and a superhero cape were the perfect accessories to capture his little personality at this stage of his life.  And a bonus, easy to remove to change things up!IMG_7714 copyweb

This little girl practically lives in a tutu at home.  A perfect accessory to her photo shoot!


Sometimes a simple hand knitted hat is the only accessory a new baby needs.

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Props.  But Let’s Not Go Crazy.  For my natural and easy style of photography, I like to keep props at a minimum.  Props can add to your story, giving it just the right personal touch, as well as giving you something to interact with.  But they can also overwhelm your sweet babes and take the emphasis off of their beautiful faces.  Let’s keep props meaningful and minimal.

 This cradle was made by the baby’s grandfather when her mother was a baby, and the crocheted blanket was made by a great grandmother.  These family heirlooms add so much meaning and sentiment to the story of this sweet, little new life.2014-08-29_0018Food can be a great prop!  Not surprisingly, sweets are always popular.  

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An instrument can make a meaningful addition to an image.


The simple addition of a vintage wool blanket adds a bold pop of color and gives this photo a holiday feel without overpowering or feeling overly themed.


Don’t forget the details:  The little things can make a big difference.  Make sure fingers’ and toes’ nail polish is not chipped.  If you want to get a haircut for little ones, give at least a week for it to grow out a bit and look natural.  Clean up temporary tattoos (unless they are intentional and part of your family’s look!)  And don’t forget to remove watches that don’t contribute to the overall look.

Shoes:  Often overlooked, especially on boys and men.  But I am telling you, the wrong shoes can absolutely ruin a photo.  Do not show up dressed to the nines, weeks of careful planning ruined by your husbands white socks and athletic shoes.  Everyone’s footwear absolutely matters.  When in doubt, keep it simple.  Do not wear athletic shoes, unless it is a deliberate fashion choice such as a pair of fun Converse sneakers or Vans.  And bare feet are always a favorite in the summertime!

Your clothes, even your shoes, help tell your family’s story.


When in Doubt:  Call me.  Email me.  Take photos of your outfits and text them to me.  I don’t mind, really.  I want you to love, really love your photos.  I will happily help you pick out every person’s outfit down to the last detail if you would like me to.  (Also feel free to check out my Pinterest board dedicated to picture day duds.)