Portrait Session Styling Tips

Tips to consider when building your session-day wardrobe

Start With a Color Palette

coordinating color palette is pleasing to the eye, which is partly why we love the look of family photos. Aim to coordinate with each other, without striving for "matchy-matchy". Ladies - I recommend starting with your outfit first. Pick something you love and feel great in (Rent the Runway is always a fun option), and then choose the others' outfits in colors that coordinate with yours. As far as which colors to choose, neutrals are great because the framed photos will match your décor in any room, and they go well with most session locations (more on that below). As far as how many colors to choose - three is usually a magic number, plus varying shades and patterns.

Example color palette: white/khaki + denim +  burgundy/blush pink.

Location Matters

The color palette you choose will depend a lot on where we'll be shooting. If we're photographing at a park or any place with lots of trees, I recommend brighter colors like creams, whites, and other pastels. This will ensure that you 'pop' and don't get lost in the background (so avoid black, navy, and dark denim). On the other hand, if our location is brighter or offers lots of negative space (like the DIA, a bright modern interior, or beach), you can go with with lighter colors for a monochromatic look, or contrast with the location and wear darker, bolder colors. 


Add a Pattern or Two

Adding one or two subtle patterns creates dynamic. Try laying everyone's outfits out to see how they work together; you will notice that a couple subtle patterns in your color palette round out the look and add interest. I recommend at least one pattern for a family of 3, two patterns for a family of 4. Any two patterns don't need to be alike, either - mixing patterns is good!

Consider Texture & Movement!

Textures like knit, linen and lace look great on camera. Movement goes a long way, too. For women, I always recommend a long skirt or dress when possible because they are flattering and photograph beautifully - they also don't bunch or pull like a pant might which makes them very flattering! Varying materials is another way to keep your look interesting. If dad's wearing jeans, maybe mom wears a flowing skirt and the boys wear khakis.

Feel Free to Get Fancy - or Not!

It's always great to dress up for your shoot. I even love the way an evening gown looks in an outdoor setting! For most, though, a summer dress and collared shirt feel elevated enough, yet comfortable, to take photos from everyday to special occasion. Most importantly, wear what you feel comfortable in.

A Note on Dressing Babies

For babies under two, I highly suggest a onesie over a t-shirt as their base layer. Otherwise, because of how active they are, we will be spending lots of time pulling their shirt down to cover their belly! I also believe plain onesies are the most photogenic outfits on infants (especially white); they are timeless, flattering, and always photograph well! If this seems a little too simple for your style, try accessorizing with a bonnet and/or stockings. 

Please contact me for wardrobe consultation at any time!

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