10 dos and don'ts

Patterns, colors and accessories make great photos!

The most commonly asked question I get from clients is "What should we wear?" It's a hard question to answer because every family is different, but your clothes should reflect who you are and what you like to do. Are you preppy, laid back, modern, funky, colorful, fun? Let that shine in your pictures by picking the right outfits. The goal is to coordinate but not match. Here are some tips I hope will help when you sift through your closets or go shopping.

1. No white! Wearing all white for your family photo shoot just isn't in anymore. Plus white washes you out and if you ask me, it's just not fun. Do you want to look your best? Yes! Are you a boring family? Of course not! Color is fun and candid and adds personality to your photos. I'm not saying you can't wear any white at all, it just shouldn't be your primary color. You can use white as an accent or a base layer with some kind of color or accessory on top. I'm not a big fan or tan or black either so you can apply the rule to those two colors as well. 

2. Pick a color scheme. Don't be afraid of color, lots of color! It's going to make your pictures pop! Depending on the size of you family, pick two to three colors. (Not counting a base layer of white, black or tan.) You can choose colors based on a lot of things from the season, foods you enjoy, your favorite color, what matches the room where you plan on hanging the pictures to a piece of clothing you love. Not sure what colors go with other colors? If you need help, check out Design Seeds. It's a website for all who love color. (That's me!) You can search for palettes based on a color or theme. For our family photos we went with the bright boat look. If you know me well, you know I love pink and teal! :)

Designs Seeds is a great place to find colors that coordinate together

Photo courtesy of Samantha Holmes Photography

This tutu was our inspiration piece

3. Find a centerpiece and design around it. For our family photos, my daughter was of course the main focus, so I wanted her outfit to really draw the attention. I found a cute multi-colored tutu I loved! It was the centerpiece and I chose the rest of our outfits based on the colors of the tutu.

4. Don't shy away from patterns. They're okay if you use them correctly. In fact, I love patterns and encourage families with three or more to have a least one person wearing one. Don't go overboard though, generally keep it to one pattern per three people. Everyone else should wear a mix of solids. You can also use accessories like scarfs or hats to add smaller pops of patterns. 

5. Be sure to pick the right kind of patterns. They have to be big enough to see. Tiny patterns = no. Big, bold patterns = yes. In the photo on the right, my husbands stripes are almost too small. They show up in close photos but not far ones. Plaid shirts and stripes are great for guys and boys. Think polka dots and stripes for women and girls. Remember ladies, horizontal stripes can be widening and vertical stripes more thinning.

This family based their outfits on the dad's patterned shirt. 

One pattern and one solid is good for couples

It's ONLY okay for little ones to be matchy-matchy

Jean jackets are a fun layer for girls 

6. Think about who you will be next to you in most of the pictures. You will probably want a picture of you and your partner, right? If so, wear different colors and only one of you wear a pattern. If several kids are wearing patterns, it's a good idea for mom and dad to stick with solids. 

Child wearing pattern, mom wearing solid.

Patterned shorts are great for little boys

These stripes are large enough to see

They coordinate but don't match.

They coordinate but don't match.

7. Add accessories and layers! Layers are a great way to add some extra color pops. Guys can do this by wearing blazers or patterned button-up shirts with colored t-shirts underneath. Women look great with solid colored shirts with blazers or cardigans and belts, chunky bright necklaces or scarfs. Boys look super cute in hats and bow ties, even if they don't wear them all the time. Little girls love jewelry! Buying some inexpensive jewelry for the photo shoot can make it feel extra special and fun. Jean jackets are a good layer for girls too. Layers also add variety! You can start the session with all of them on and then take some off mid session for two different looks.

Kids love jewelry

Bright colors, pattern and fun accessories = gorgeous!

Hats easily go off and on!

9. Don't forget about your feet! Yes, your feet matter! Don't ask me why feet always end up in photos but they do! At least in mine. ;) That's why I always like to wear brightly colored heels, flats or sparkly sandals. Little girls look really cute in skirts with brightly colored cowgirl boots or Ugg-like boots. Men and boys can keep it simple and clean with grey, black or brown shoes or go all out with cool colored vans or converse. For our wedding, my husband's groomsmen wore black and white checkered vans. Super fun! ! I wore pink. I also wore pink for our maternity session and again for our 6-month baby session. These three photos make me super emotional and you never even see our faces. 




10. Dress accordingly to the backdrop. If you want grassy, natural photos, you probably want to dress a little more casually. If you want to wear edgy or dressy outfits, you might want a more urban setting. 

Mix it up and have fun with it! I can't wait to see what you come up with. :)

Lots of love,