As you can imagine, this is a question that we get asked a lot- so it is a wonder why we don’t have a blog post to give all the answers to your questions in an all-in-one guide of tips and tricks to dress your families, spouse, and yourself. So here we go!!
The Basics of Colors:
*Dark colors are more slimming- but if you are dressing a family, you will want some shade variation to avoid blending into each other- so if there is one family member that is cautious of their weight, they will want to “dibs” being the one in dark colors. Also, be aware of long dark hair blending into dark clothes- wearing hair up or a jacket or sweater can help add some separation.
*Neons and bright colors do not photograph well and can sometimes reflect up into faces. Try to stay in the realm of rich or neutral colors.
*Creamy light colors photograph fresh and soft.
The first question to ask yourself: “What is the image that you see hanging on your wall?” This is an important question when planning your shoot because there are a lot of variables that we have control over in the location, styling, and what you wear. If you imagine a whimsical formal image where everyone is dressed in bow-ties and flowing dresses in a golden field, then we probably shouldn’t be shooting in downtown in matching polos shirts. It all starts with the look and feel that is in your head. That will at least get us in the same area code of what the outcome should be. This will put you in the realm of your outfit color story and location.
Make sure you feel like “yourself” with just the right amount of personal style with some “picture day” specialness.
What is the color story that you see in this end-result visual? Where will these images be hanging in your house? It sounds silly, but choosing a color story of outfits that match your home decor isn’t a terrible idea!
What is a “Color Story”?
A color story is a collection of colors that you will be following when choosing outfits on your shoot. If you have Pinterest- it is great to search “spring color story”, “fall color story”, “neutral color story”, etc. It will give you some ideas of colors that look great together- whether they are complimentary or monochromatic- choose what speaks to you and the environment of your shoot.
Everyone always questions patterns- but when done right, they can photograph awesome. There is no “hard and fast rule” to mixing patterns, but making sure they all fall within your color story, and have variation in size and style- florals, stripes, plaids, and dots can all look great together with the right about of solids to break up the busy.
Tip: If you are dressing multiple people (family, coworkers, whatevs) lay out the outfits side by side and step back. Sometimes it can give clarity as to wear you need to add more solids or different colors of solids (ie: if all the boys are wearing black pants, maybe having one wear gray, camel, or denim– and maybe putting a floral skirt on one of the girls, etc.— or if everyone has a patterned top- layering a sport jacket or sweater, and swapping someone to solids can break it up)
LAYERS & TEXTURES
Layers and different fabric textures can add variation and dimension. Plus, you can always take them off if they are too much.
ACCESSORIES & GLASSES
If you wear glasses- pay extra for good “non glare” lenses. You’ll thank us… if you have really glare-y glasses, it might be a good day for contact lenses.
As for accessories- we are all for jewelry, watches, and other photogenic accessories! Leave the apple watches and fitbits at home… and get all those ponytail holders off your wrists.
Hats- if you would like to wear a hat to your shoot, do your hair anyways and bring the hat along. Some hats shade the eyes a little too much- so we may take some photos with and without…and you don’t want to have smooshed hat hair and a ring round your forehead when we do.
STAY AWAY FROM WORDS & LOGOS
Okay, maybe bolding this entire phrase and having it be it’s own section is a little overkill- but I wanted to make sure you saw it! Wearing any sort of words on a photoshoot isn’t a great idea since it will be the first thing anyone sees in your photos. Just don’t…
HAIR, MAKE UP, & NAILS
Ladies- getting professional hair and make up done for your shoot isn’t a terrible idea. You should definitely look and feel your best- and if a profesh “doll up” is what it takes, we think it’s worth the investment. Your hands (and sometimes feet) are in the pictures- neutral manicured hands are best for photos.
Tip: a little more than you are used to is a good idea. Sometimes it feels like the hair is a little too curled or over-sprayed, but remember- it needs to last til your shoot. A little extra mascara (or false lashes) and blush + lipcolor is good on camera. If you are being photographed with your “better half”– be aware that there may be a good amount of smooching…so non-transferable lipcolor is good and bring extra to re-apply.
Also: dewy cheeks are great, but if you are prone to oil on the forehead, nose, and chin– use a matte powder on those areas to help with shine. Guys too! Translucent matte powders are awesome for oily T-zones on men.
Sometimes location can help clarify the type of outfit you choose. Your attire should make some sense in your surroundings. What you wear in the foothills is probably a different choice than what you might wear downtown, like you probably won’t wear your cocktail dress and 4″ heels to hike the foothills! Or if you are doing a session inside your home, it would be a different choice than if you were in a park.
Sometimes there is a lot of walking and moving around on photoshoots and we want to make sure you aren’t miserable. Make sure that you are physically comfortable and that you have shoes you can walk in. Even more importantly- we want you to feel AWESOME in whatever you are wearing. Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can bring on your shoot and we want to see all of it!
Hopefully this is a helpful post and can answer most of your photoshoot attire questions. Kick back, have fun, and be yourself. For more tips on how to prep for family shoots- see our post here.