If you’re shooting with another person, make sure your outfits complement one another’s. Choose a consistent color palette (which does not mean the same color?). If someone is wearing a bold pattern, dress the rest of the group in more solids, but be sure each carries one or more colors from the “star” outfit for consistency. A good rule of thumb is to have 3 solids for each print.
Scarves, hats, bows, bands…it all adds a fun twist to an otherwise “standard” look. Accessories are also a great place to coordinate looks. For example, if Mom is wearing a bright pattern with lavender, pink and gray, little brother can rock a pair of gray sneakers while Dad can choose a lavender vest and big sis with a pink headband. Don’t rule out accessories for guys. Suspenders and bow-ties are extremely charming.
Layers and textures can really add depth to your photos. Look for clothes and accessories with rich, simple detailing—embroidery, tweed, ribbons, etc—or layer pieces to add dimension and texture. The texture is especially important if you want a lot of black and white shots, which naturally need more visual depth and detail than color images. Also, because you’ll want to keep the pace going during your session, layering is a great way to make quick, convenient outfit changes—pull off the sweater, slip on the vest and you’ve got a whole new look! Avoid tiny patterns at all costs! These do not photograph well and produce a moiré effect which isn’t appealing at all. I suggest using prints that are bigger than a quarter so the camera is able to pick it up easily.
Kids naturally run, skip, dance and jump around during photo sessions—they’re kids! To avoid unnecessary aggravation, let them be comfortable in the clothes and opt for apparel that accentuates their natural energy. Skirts, maxi dresses, fedoras, scarves, and knit sweaters allow for natural movement, so when the kids start getting wild, their clothes will look even better. That goes for you too, mom! I incorporate movement often. Walking, spinning, and dancing pictures look so much better with a flowy bottom (plus it gives you something to do with your hand)
You’ll have these pictures for generations—don’t date yourself! Choose classic, timeless pieces, or even vintage apparel and accessories. Opt for the latest trends like crop tops or low rise jeans and you may feel otherwise about that amazing outfit in a few years (or even a few months) from now. This goes for technology too. Nobody wants to see that big black square on your wrist… Even if you have a wicked tan line, it’s easier for me to edit out the tan line than for people to stare at your Apple Watch or fitness tracker.
February 13, 2022
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