How to dress for your session
1. Steer clear of fluorescents. Fluorescent colors tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair. They’re harsh sometimes. I always recommend versions of primary colors. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal).
2. Stay away from wearing a lot of green when having photos taken in grassy/wooded areas. It’s just too much green. Green as an accent color is great, though! You want to stand out amongst all the greenery you’re surrounded by.
3. To get the flow going with wardrobe for your family, start with one outfit that you really like. From there, build from it for everyone else. Try to stick to four colors or less (not counting jean, khakis etc.)
4. Wear what you feel good in! Moms and dads, this tip is for you specifically. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, but you rock a good pair of skinny jeans, do that. If you can barely walk in heels, there’s no harm in doing cute and comfy flat boots or pretty sandals. If you can’t do a heel (like me), a wedge is a great alternative, too.
5. Layer, layer layer! Layers add dimension and depth. In the summer? Layer your dress with a cute belt and pendant necklace. In the fall and winter? cardigans, belts, statement necklaces, scarves, hats, blazers, etc.
6. Purchase clothes to fit. And fit well. I know we all have a hard time buying clothes for our kiddos that don’t leave a lot of room for growth, seeing as they do grow so fast. However, keep in mind that for pictures, too large of a polo shirt, saggy ill-fitting jeans or a jacket that’s falling off the shoulders looks sloppy. You’ll be purchasing outfits specifically for pictures, most likely, so choose something that fits perfectly, or even just a little bit snug. Make it look almost tailored. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket will not compliment shape. It hides hips and waist for moms. If you typically wear a size medium jacket, try on the small. Even if it’s just a little snug in the shoulders, it should lay nicely around your hips and waist, creating a tailored look.
7. Matching is out. Coordinating is in. And anything goes nowadays! We know your family is together. We’re photographing you together! So, wearing the same colored shirt, pants, shoes, etc. looks a bit awkward. Coordinating color is what really brings wardrobe together. I usually choose two to three main colors of wardrobe, and maybe one accent pop of color. Also, mixing stripes with plaids and tweeds is okay! Expression is important. We want to see your personality through your wardrobe.
8. Minimal wardrobe for newborn sessions. The times I recommend clients keep wardrobe super simple is during newborn photos. In these cases, you don’t want the clothing to overshadow the precious little person that we’re showcasing. I recommend grey, beige, ivory, black, and white for these shoots. If we’ll be posing a big sister with the baby, light pink is a good color that adds a little something, but again, it’s not enough to overpower the baby.
9. Dress for the weather, and be flexible.Florida weather is generally warm but in the winter can have some cold snaps. So, be prepared to be flexible with wardrobe, in case you have to switch it up last minute. If you have plans for a cute sundress for your daughter, and the weather ends up being 20 degrees colder than you were anticipating, switch it up a bit by adding layers. Tights, boots, scarf, slouchy hat, cardigan. Dress appropriately for the weather that day, even if it doesn’t go with your original plan. If your child is sweating profusely in a sweater during his shoot, he won’t be happy. And on the same token, if your child is wearing a tank dress and the weather dips too much in the evening, she’ll be a grump, and it’ll reflect in the final images. I speak these words from experience. There are a couple of instances I can think of that I should have taken this advice with my own kids!
10. Dress for the situation. Just as dressing for weather is important, dressing for the situation is just as important. A fancy black dress and a dress shirt and tie wouldn’t be the most appropriate wardrobe for a forest or grassy setting. More formal wear would be more appropriate for an urban or “big city” feel. Also, if you’re shooting a lifestyle session in your client’s home, make sure they know that wardrobe will take second fiddle to the actual lifestyle images you’ll be capturing. I tell my lifestyle clients to wear whatever it is that they’d wear at home. No coordinating or matching necessary. Those sessions are meant to be as normal, true to life and every day as possible.
Tips for Different Body Shapes (for women)
1. Maxi dresses are flattering on every body type. Keep that in mind while shopping! (images courtesy of Nordstrom.com). Maxi dresses are usually a slam dunk for shoots, and they’re so versatile. Add a belt or a statement necklace with strappy sandals for the summer, or a belted fitted cardi and a scarf in the fall.
2. Skinny jeans are flattering on most women, even the curvy ones! Pair them with cute heels or wedges, and your legs look a mile long. I’m 5’5 and 155 pounds, and I love my skinnies, even though I’m a little on the heavier side. If you’re overweight and don’t feel comfortable with the tighter fit, I recommend a fit called “skinny boot cut.” You can find them at American Eagle, Gap, and the Level 99 brand is amazing! (images courtesy of hautelook.com)
3. Take a friend shopping with you. They will see you better than you see yourself when trying on clothes. If he/she tells you it looks great, believe them! We’re our own worst critics.
4. Flaunt your best asset. I’m self conscious about my stomach and upper arms, but I like my legs. So, I feel most comfortable in a shorter dress with a fitted blazer or cardi over it. Showing off my legs, but hiding the parts that I don’t like so much.
Child Wardrobe Tips
1. Timeless always has a place. I love when my clients show up to a shoot with the most simple and timeless of outfits. A smock dress that belonged to Great-Grandma. A plain white lace dress with a simple bow. A plain diaper cover. Naked baby! These outfits (or lack thereof) will always stand the test of time, and will never go out of style.
2. Dress your kiddos in clothes that fit perfectly, not with room to grow. Even if you child may only wear the outfit for a few months, it’ll look much better than putting them in something that they still need to grow into. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket, blazer, sweat shirt, sweater or hoodie will not compliment shape. It looks sloppy on children.
3. Shoes are a very important part of wardrobe. If you have the cutest little trousers and button down for your son to wear for pictures, but slap his favorite pair of Disney tennis shoes on him, it makes the whole look lose cohesiveness. Stay away from character shoes, flip flops, crocs. My recommendation for shoes are boots, leather sandals (just say “no” to Old Navy flip flops), Converse All-Stars, Toms, Sperrys, Joyfolie, Mary Janes, and Willits. And always, barefoot is an adorableoption, especially with babies. I’d much rather see bare feet than the bottom of their shoes.
4. Remember, coordinating your childrens’ outfits is key. Not matching.
5. Layers are just as important for child wardrobe as it is for yours. Hats, glasses, vests, bow ties, cardigans, tights or leggings under a skirt. I do recommend making the outer layer (blazer, cardi, jacket) fit snugly. I usually purchase the outer layers one size smaller than normal, because they tend to run on the bigger side.
6. Hair piece tips. For babies, toddlers and older girls, I always recommend keeping hair accessories simple. When they are too big (think “gerber daisy” big), it distracts from their faces. The only time I think you can get away with a bigger hair accessory is when the child has lots of hair, or long hair. Even if your baby girl doesn’t have a ton of hair, don’t feel the need to hide that adorable head behind a huge whoppin’ head piece that makes her angry because she’s pulling it off every few seconds. Simple and dainty is just as pretty and understated. Some of my favorite hair accessory shops are Sew Whimsey (www.etsy.com/shop/patriciamueller), Petunia and Ivy (www.etsy.com/shop/petuniaandivy), Kindred OAK (www.kindredoak.com), and Strawberry Girl Couture (www.strawberrygirlcouture.bigcartel.com).
7. The most important part of putting together your child’s wardrobe is allowing their personality to come through in what they’re wearing. If your daughter has a favorite pair of boots, let her wear them (at least in a few pictures). If your son prefers to run around naked to being fully clothed, we’ll let him strip down at the end of the session. If your child loves to wear hats and sunglasses, bring them! Whatever makes your child their own adorable, individual self, let’s focus on those things. Yes, we all want our children to look adorable and fully polished for photos. I’m not recommending you don’t brush your daughter’s hair or forget wiping off the smudged PB&J off your toddler’s face, but allow them to have a little bit of input when planning their wardrobe as well. And never say “no” to bringing their favorite things along. Photographers want to capture those, too.
Favorite Places to Shop
Price points: $-cheap, $$-average, $$$-high, $$$$-expensive
1. Gap.com. They provide a great option for “basics.” Just about anything you’d need, you’ll find on their website. And Gap frequently offers sales and discounts if you sign up for their email list, plus their sale rack prices are amazing! $$-$$$
2. Freepeople.com. Free People is my happy place. Think easy, breezy, comfy, boho chick. $$$-$$$$
3. Anthropologie.com. It’s a little bit more on the expensive side, but the clothes are quality, unique and last forever. $$$$
4. Jcrew.com. Their Crew Cuts kids line is probably one of my top 5 sites for kids clothes. Also, their shoe selection for kids alone makes me giddy. $$$$
5. Mak-rose.com. A great cheap site for girls clothing. Boutique dresses, sweaters, blazers, tights, etc. Not much on that site I don’t love, and it’s very affordable. So, if you see something you like, it’s best to purchase now, because she sells out fast, and once it’s gone, it’s gone! $-$$
6. HM.com. I consider H&M the holy grail for all things boy and men. And, they just recently started selling clothes online! Eep! Their price point is ridiculously low, and the clothes are my favorite. My boys’ closets are stuffed full with H&M swag. Their trouser pants are around $10 and are amazing quality. Amazing. Also, the cutest little cardigans, sweaters, button downs and other great accessories for super low prices. Keep in mind that H&M sizes are a little different, and they run big. If your son is an average size 4, buy him the size 3-4 pants. The 4-5 seems like the obvious choice, but they’ll be too long and too big around the waist. $-$$
7. Forever21.com. Cute clothes for women of all sizes (and men!) on the cheap. Take someone with you if you choose to shop in-store. It’s a little overwhelming. But honestly, they have some amazing wardrobe choices and the best (cheapest) jewelry that won’t break the bank. $-$$
8. Zara.com. I get lost on this site, seriously. So many adorable pieces, shoes, accessories, etc. For men, women and children. $$-$$$$
9. Modcloth.com. A fun, flirty and pretty affordable site for women’s timeless dresses, fun tops and the best shoes and accessories! $$-$$$
10. Shopruche.com. Another great site for women’s dresses and tops. Gorgeous, gorgeous clothing. $$$
11. Joyfolie.com. Shoes, shoes, glorious shoes! For girls and women. Breathtaking dresses, jackets, caplets. Moms will thank me for this. Husbands, notsomuch. $$$$
12. Fleuranddot.com. The most adorable girls clothing you’ll ever find if you’re vintage-inspired in your look. Hands down. $$$$
12. Catch-alls. Antique stores. Garage Sales. Flea Market. Target. Ebay. Zulily. Hand-me-downs. Possibly even your photographer’s closet! Always keep your eyes peeled! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.