August 7, 2019
A few weeks ago I asked my Instagram audience what topics that would be most helpful for me to blog about. One of them was how to choose an outfit for portraits. Whether your a mom trying to figure everyone out, or your a couple trying to match. It’s hard sometimes! Ok, let’s be honest it’s hard all the time! I thought I would choose this to be the first topic in the “ask me anything” posts. I’m attaching images for inspiration to help you as you plan for your session. Be sure to follow my Pinterest account for more portrait, wedding, and session inspiration!
Can we all agree it’s hard to find ourselves something to wear? We know exactly what everyone else should wear, but when it comes to ourselves we have no idea! My first tip of the day is to stop shopping for everyone else before yourself! As a mom myself I find this method to work best. I buy/choose my outfit first. I build everyone else off of that. I don’t know how many times before my own session I would have all the outfits chosen. When it came to myself I couldn’t find anything to match!
This method especially works well if you have boys. Boys are so much easier to dress than girls, because the options are less frilly. We also have less options to choose from (hugs for all the boy moms, I feel you).
I’m a little biased to pastels, as you can see in my work. I like neutral tones, because I think they bring out a perfect elegance and simplicity to photographs. Every time I set out to photograph I keep a few things in my mind. Will this last, is this timeless, and will it show authentic genuine connection? I like neutral tones for those reasons. Those colors are soft, not distracting, and simple. I tell my clients your perfect the way you are. We don’t need a ton of props, or any really to create a timeless portrait. I just need “you” to do that. Of course I will use meaningful props, like a quilt etc. I love sentimental elements to include in sessions. As far as a whole set up. I like to keep it simple.
There’s a way to match and there’s a way to not.
You guys know how I like to keep it real, so please forgive me. Please DON’T have everyone wear khakis and a white shirts! There’s a good way to do this and a bad way. I recently did a family session that had white and blue as the color theme. They executed this SO WELL! Look for the picture example in this post! Everyone had an identity in the photo, because it wasn’t cookie cutter. If your going to go “matchy matchy” make sure everyone has their own identity!
Everyone needs their own identity.
It’s so easy to call it a day and get everyone the same shirt, but it’s also just as easy with a little planning to have everyone represented with their own style and personality. You photograph more authentic when your yourself. You are your best when you feel your best. Pick clothing choices that represent you, that also fit well on you. When your shopping for your new outfit try sitting down in it to make sure your comfortable. We may or may not sit on a blanket at your session. Make sure you can breathe, that the clothing isn’t tight. If you’re self conscious about your chest (aka “the girls” is what I call them) make sure the top is not to low cut. Nobody likes being self conscious and it’s no fun pulling up your shirt the whole time. Also, feel free to message me, text me, call me, I’d even go shopping with you! Really I mean that! I have boys, they hate shopping! Hello girly day!
Planning outfits around yours.
Remember finding your outfit first is the easiest. Think about who next is the hardest to please when it comes to fashion. My husband is awful at clothing choices ha ha, he’s the hardest to please, so I always choose his outfit after mine.
Matching colors without being too “matchy”.
I always choose a few coordinating color options to compliment what I decide to wear. If I choose a dress that has pink in it, I may have my son wear a pink tie, or a shirt that has pink (minimal pink because at the age of 6 that’s to “girly”). I’ll bring in other colors and patterns as well depending on the colors in my dress. I also lay everything out together and look at it. I even take a picture of it all together on my phone if I’m not sure. I’ll give it a few days and come back to it. Again, if your not sure text, email, or call me. That’s the best part for me about my photography is connecting with you. I love it when you call! I love to help!
Please wear a dress for a few (I sound like a diva, I promise I’m not).
I often choose dresses for myself, even though my days are spent in no makeup and yoga pants. Pictures are extremely special. I think women look beautiful in dresses. Dresses really compliment us so well. The long flowy ones are my favorites to photograph! Wearing a cute dress helps give your images a more elegant look without being over the top. If your not a dress girl, I feel you. Again, I look homely most days in my gym attire. Let’s compromise and wear a dress for some, and jeans and a t-shirt for some. You’ve got the best of both doing two options. My past clients always come back to the dress shots after their session, because girlfriends you rock that dress!
Oh Pinterest, your so fabulous. I spend hours searching for all the things. That’s what I tell myself every time I look up a recipe to make lemon butter sauce for the 1000 time. I keep forgetting there’s a board for that ha ha. Even then, my ADD kicks in and by the time I’m done I’ve spent an hour learning how to DIY demo my bathroom. Anyway, Pinterest is magical, you know this. Look for outfit inspiration on there! I’ve made it simple for you by creating two boards, click here for engagement and couples, click here for family. I’ve compiled two boards for engagement, couples, and family attire. You can easily find tons of options to inspire you here.
Pinterest posing ideas the do’s and the don’ts.
I am all for pinning things that inspire you. I share a wedding board with all my brides and my family sessions that plan in advance. I do this because I can see your personality there. I see what you like by what you pin. There’s a few things I want you to take into consideration when your pinning for a “pose” you like. As a photographer we look at body language. I look at chemistry between my subjects. Some “poses” look effortless, because the subjects were comfortable in the placement. You might not fit into that same placement, because of height differences, or maybe it’s just awkward in general. What I like to do is take all those poses into consideration. I like to have them inspire me to create something authentic and true to you. I’d rather you be “you” vs some random person on Pinterest. Remember we are creating “authentic timeless images”.
The best time of day to have your pictures made.
Sunrise, sunset, or overcast. It’s that simple. Sure, you can find good light anytime of day through open shade. We often shoot wedding images mid day, but if it’s something we can control I like to control it. When you book a portrait session you can control the lighting by the time we set for your session. My recommendations are early morning or late evening. I rarely can get early morning sessions, just because it’s early. If you are willing to do it, magic happens. The light is soft, the sky is pink, and the temperature is cool. It’s beautiful. If you can do it, you should! We can go for breakfast after! Sunset is popular for most, because you have the whole day to prepare for your session. Sunset light is more dramatic and warmer in terms of colors. I love them both!
Planning your session around kids.
When scheduling your session with little ones please keep nap time in mind. If they nap from 10- 12 lets not schedule the session then. It’s going to be miserable for all if we do. The images will suffer, your sanity will suffer, and photographing that will not bring me joy ha ha. Thinking about this makes me laugh. I used to say Brooks would turn into a troll when he didn’t have a nap. Be mindful of that when your trying to schedule your session. For example if 10-12 is nap time then let’s start at 8 after breakfast. Also, take into consideration when is your child the happiest? Is it early morning or later in the evening?
The biggest tip of the day! Never wake your child before their nap is over! Please!! I’m begging you! Don’t do it!!! Remember how I mentioned my child was a troll without a nap? He was also a troll from a short nap. Let that baby get the nap out! I don’t care if we are supposed to start in 5 minutes, let the baby nap. If we are at your home we will take the baby monitor outside, and I’ll get portraits of you while we wait for baby to wake up. Your session is up to two hours. I’m not so uptight about being a timekeeper that I can’t wait a few for your baby to be fully rested. I also don’t mind to put my camera down to play with your child so that they are more comfortable in front of the camera. That’s what having portraits made is about, being yourself, and being comfortable. That philosophy includes the whole family, even the dog, cat, or horse (yes a horse happened once, see the picture below).
Stop chasing perfection, because we miss moments.
I’m a fellow perfectionist myself. So I get it! I get straight hair bows and ties. There comes a point when your child, your hubby, or fiance is looking at you in the sweetest way, and you’re more concerned with a tie or a bow being straight. I get this, but you also aren’t seeing what I see on the other side of the lens. I’m seeing a connection we can’t recreate. I’m seeing a tie or bow angled in a way that doesn’t even matter if it’s crooked, because it’s not even relevant to what is being seen through the lens. Don’t worry so much about those things. We will fix them if it’s evident they look a hot mess. I just want you to worry about nothing. Let me worry about the small stuff. I want you to have fun!
You don’t have to look at me for all the photos.
Some of my favorite images are the ones that are candid. To me, that’s what love looks like. When you let your guard down and laugh about silly things. That’s genuine and real, you’ll remember that when it’s hanging on your wall. Sure we take the traditional portraits, but don’t get mad at the kids if they are tired of sitting and smiling. Let them be little, because they are only little once.
I hope this helps you as you plan your next session. I want you to remember that it will be beautiful, and you will have fun. I promise.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. What makes you most nervous about planning for your portraits? What are some things that would make your session easier? Are there any other topics you’d like me to blog about? Leave a comment below!
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