How to Dress For Your Family Photography Session
How do I Dress my Family for our Photography Session? I get this question all the time. Some of my clients are like total experts on styling their Family Photography Session, and execute it perfectly every single time. But most of my clients come to me for some basic tips on how to dress for their session. I do include a consultation in my Family Photography Sessions on how to dress your family for the best photographs. I mean, lets be honest – we all want to look good in pictures! So I figured it would be a good idea to post an informational blog about tips and tricks on how to dress for your family photography session. There are some things that really make a huge difference in the outcome of your family pictures.
1. Consider Your Session Location
This makes a huge difference in what you and your family are going to wear! The picture below of the Grant family was taken at Horse Power Ranch, and we knew going into it that they wanted a barn and classic southern feel. So Amanda dressed everyone perfectly – denim, boots, classic and not too trendy. So before you pick out a location consider what kind of images you want to create. If you want something in the cityscape of Downtown Orlando that you’re going to hang in your ultra-modern apartment – Don’t wear cowboy boots instead opt for something fancier, maybe a suit jacket for Dad and a little black dress for Mom (I mean, when in doubt always go for the LBD!) If your session is going to be outdoors in a big park, wear shoes you can wear the entire session and walk in for at least an hour. No one can look happy and natural when their feet are screaming at them. If you’re unsure of where to do your session, talk with your photographer. We know all the questions to ask to get an idea of what you’re trying to create – and we usually have a running list of where we’d like to photograph people! You might get exactly what you’re looking for. Heck, I even found an old war plane for a family session one time!
Image taken at Lake Eola Park
2. Beware of being too ‘Matchy’
This one is HUGE! It is absolutely the FIRST thing I tell clients when they ask about styling their session. Everyone wearing the same exact thing can be a total nightmare for photographers. The whole family ends up looking like on big blob of color and it NEVER looks good. NEVER. EVER. It’s absolutely ok to pick from the same color palette, but everyone wearing all the same thing is just a big no-no. Instead I usually advise families to dress the smallest one in some sort of print (like a plaid or something kinda crazy) then pull colors out of that print for everyone else to wear. And again, it’s important to consider what the look you’re going for is. Modern, traditional, seasonal? If you want Christmas photos you don’t have to all dress in red or green, but staying within the same color palette will give everyone a unified look without being too “matchy”
Image taken at Harry P. Leu Gardens
3. Does it compliment your home’s decor?
This question is a great place to start when you’re styling your images – from location to what to wear this is my first style question. The ultimate goal when I create images is to have them hanging in your house somewhere. I don’t care if they’re stuck to your fridge with a magnet, or beautifully matted and framed and hanging over your mantel – I just want the images to be printed and not to die on a hard drive somewhere! I could write a whole blog about just that, but because I believe in printing out images, I always ask people this when they come to me with styling questions. Is your home ultra modern or traditional or trendy? Would black and white images look better? Coordinating your outfits to the style of the room the prints are going to hang in can really impact your home’s decor in an awesome way! I’ve seen my photos covering entire hallways of clients homes in all black and whites that looked outstanding! So when you’re picking out a style for your images, treat it like picking out art or furniture for your house. Do you accent with gold in your home? Take that detail with you when you pick out your jewelry for the session. This will help to coordinate your images to your personal style.
Image taken at Disney’s Old Key West Resort
4. Keep it in Season
As a Florida photographer, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to shoot a “fall” session and everyone is sweating their butts off. But at the end of the day – the images come out and you can’t tell for a second that anyone was sweaty and it looks like a perfect fall day. Most family photos are seasonal — and you can’t tell that they are unless you dress the part! Spring photos should be bright and colorful, fall photos should be warm and cozy — and a huge part of that is how you style your images. Boots and a scarf can say fall even on the hottest of days. If you’re looking for Christmas photos and you show up in flip flops and a tank top, it’s going to be kinda tricky to make that photo come across as a warm and wintery photo – especially here in Florida. So stop for a second and go back to the beginning. What are you trying to accomplish? Are these photos going to be an Easter card or do you just want them to hang in your house? Ask yourself what season you want to portray and kinda of mold from there. And don’t be mad if you get sweaty! It’s kinda part of the deal here in Florida.
Image taken at Cypress Grove Estate House
5. Props or No Props?
To prop or not to prop, that is the question. Sometimes I have clients bring a whole bag of different props they want to use, other times props never even enter anyones mind. Props are great – when used correctly. I don’t ever mind when clients have props to use, but with that being said – keeping them to a minimum is in almost everyone’s benefit. Usually during sessions we are outside walking around and lugging a bag of props around can get crazy exhausting. Also, the more props you bring, the more time of your session gets eaten away by trying to organize which shots to use them in. If you’re going to bring props, I suggest making them small and in keeping with your desired outcome. Also, the smaller the better. I’m all about the details, and they can hugely add to the story. Some absolutely PERFECT props to bring to photo sessions are as follows: Fun umbrella, Hats, Pocket watches or sentimental family heirlooms, small vintage toys, ties.. etc. You can kind of see a theme – Things that are small, easy to carry and things your family can interact with.
Image taken at Dickson Azalea Park Downtown Orlando
I hope these simple tips help you when you’re trying to style your Family Photography session. There are some basic things here, but if you ever need more help – ask your photographer what they think! We usually love to be apart of the planning process, and the more you communicate what you are trying to accomplish with your family photo session, the better the images will turn out! If you have any more tips you’d like to contribute, let me know! I’m all ears.