What To Wear To Your Session

You booked a session with me. You paid your deposit. We decided on a location. Now it’s time to choose outfits for your family members. Fancy or casual? Colors or neutral? Dress or pants? So many options…but don’t worry I can help.

I’m not a fancy person, I feel best when I’m comfortable…and I’m more confident in casual clothes because that’s what I feel good in. I’ll take jeans and a t-shirt over a dress any day. Of course it’s fun to dress up every now and then, but if you’re like me and you only wear a dress when you attend a wedding, then your family photoshoot might not be the time to wear one. If you wear dresses normally, then by all means wear one to our session…I love a mom in a dress. If your family is always in jeans, then wear jeans. If your family is sporty, dress sporty. I want to capture who you are…not who you think you’re supposed to be for your photo session. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress nicely, but it means you should dress for your own specific style and taste.

Have you ever worn something that you just didn’t feel like yourself in and it actually affected your day? The first thing that comes to mind for me is when I was maid of honor at my sisters wedding a few years ago…I had put on a few pounds and the fit of the dress didn’t feel comfortable to me because of that, and it was pink, which I would never choose to wear (but wore happily for my sister). Despite telling the makeup artist that I was going for a more natural look she put on big fake eyelashes, way too much eye shadow, lots of blush, and penciled in my eyebrows way too high. I kinda felt like a clown, and I DEFINITELY didn’t feel like myself. I know this type of makeup is normal for some people on special occasions like this, but it’s just not for me.

Right before leaving for the wedding, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I couldn’t imagine a whole day of being in photos and feeling that way. I had paid for the makeup, but I didn’t even care…I pulled the eyelashes off and wiped off the crazy eye shadow and eyebrows. I redid it all and felt so much better. I looked more like myself, felt more like myself, and was ready to be in photos all day because I felt more confident. The photos below are of me with the crazy makeup, and then how I looked after redoing it.

If you don’t feel comfortable in what you’re wearing to our session, it will probably come across in the photos, and you may not like the way you look in them because of that. So please, be yourself, be comfortable, and wear something you feel amazing in. 

Click HERE to browse my “what to wear” Pinterest board.

Keep reading for some tips!

1. It can be helpful for mom to pick her outfit first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits around hers. 

2. Don’t match, coordinate. Matching outfits can look really cheesy and dated. Go for some variation in colors and textures. Patterns like plaid, stripes, and florals are good. However, you don’t want too many different patterns…that can look too busy, so make sure to have some family members in solids too.

3. Avoid bright colors and graphics/logos. A bright green shirt may result in a bright green face…bright colors have a tendency to reflect off the skin. Neutrals and more subdued, dark, or pastel colors work better. That said, if you’re wearing neutrals or earth tones, don’t be afraid to go for a pop of color in your outfit…color can make a photo more interesting and fun!

4. It can help to start with 3 or 4 colors and then build your outfits from that color palate. Think in terms of tones when picking your colors…neutrals, earth tones, pastels, darks, ect.  Stick with the same tone group for everyone in your family. Go for complementary colors, not the same colors. Avoid black and white as they can be a little hard to photograph. 

5. Dress for comfort and for the weather. If it’s a super hot summer day, wear loose and breathable clothing. Sweating through your shirt during a photo session is not good…you don’t want sweat stains in your family photos! This especially applies to guys since they tend to sweat more.  If it’s a cool fall day, layers are great…sweaters, jackets, vests, tights, scarves, hats, ect. They look good in photos and can easily be taken off if you get warm.

6. Dresses always look good. I love when moms wear long dresses for family sessions. For maternity sessions specifically I really encourage them. Short dresses can limit you when it comes to posing, so I would go long if you’re going to wear a dress. If you’re not comfortable in a dress that’s totally fine…again, wear whatever you’re comfortable in! Be you. If you want to wear jeans with holes because that’s you, then please wear that.

7. Make sure your clothing fits properly. Baggy or overly tight clothing can look unattractive if it’s not meant to be worn that way. If kids are in clothes that are too big or too small you will constantly be adjusting them…and it won’t look great in the photos either. Also, keep in mind that having your baby or toddler wear a vest or something with a big collar can end up being annoying because it may cover their face. Best to avoid collars on little ones.  

8. Accessories and shoes are important too. Many people ask me before a session if their feet will be in photos. Yes! Please assume your feet will be in photos, and choose shoes accordingly. If your child is wearing old beat up shoes you will be able to tell in the photos, so keep that in mind. 

9. For in home newborn sessions I recommend casual clothes and neutral colors. I want to capture this time in your life at home with your little one in the most authentic way. Simple, comfortable clothing works best for these sessions…think cotton t-shirts, comfy pants, and neutral colors. For your baby, a simple onesie and some swaddle blankets are perfect.

10. Think about clothing that might slip or fall off the shoulders, and any visible bra straps. I don’t edit out bra straps so make sure they are hidden if you don’t want them in photos.

Still have some questions? Feel free to send me a message and we can chat more about this before your session.

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