Let’s face it. Choosing outfits for pictures may be really difficult! It’s enough to drive even photographers insane. With a little help, selecting the right outfit (or family of clothes!) is a lot easier.
Fortunately, our highly trained Click Pros have a style tip or two (or 26!) to help you choose the appropriate photo-worthy wardrobe options to ensure that everyone looks and feels their best for their photo shoot.
Don’t mix and match. Coordinate.
“When determining what to wear for images, I advise my clients they need to coordinate, not match,” says Erica Williams. I instruct them to start with the youngest and dress and layer everyone else using colors from their clothing. When it comes to tying in all the hues, layering may make a big impact. If they still need assistance, I’ll put together a hanfu overcoat fashion board with outfit ideas and point them in the right direction.”
Your best asset should be highlighted.
“Wearing something that showcases your finest asset during your session will give you a confidence boost throughout the shoot that will undoubtedly reflect in the final photographs,” Chanel French advises.
First, decide on a color scheme.
“When determining what to wear for photos, pick a palette of three to four colors,” Meghan Doll advises. Allow this to serve as your starting point. Consider tones such as blues, earth tones, neutrals, pastels, and so on. Within the chosen color palette, everyone in the family can exhibit their unique sense of style, and the whole group will look fantastic.”
Shop in the same location.
“Make coordinating family photo clothing easier by shopping at the same retailer or brand,” says Jessie Nelson. It’s especially useful when you have a lot of kids to dress. I spotted a garment for myself this spring and immediately went shopping at the Carter’s store. I found clothes for all three of my guys in fifteen minutes! The colors not only went with my clothing, but they also went with each other.”
Don’t forget about your footwear.
“If you’re not the type of family who enjoys being barefoot, keep your footwear in mind,” Meghan Doll advises. Nothing will detract from your appearance like a worn-out pair of shoes.”
Colors from your home can be used.
“Many of my family photo sessions take place in the coziness of my home,” says Chloe Ramirez. I tell my families to dress in a way that complements their surroundings. Is your house light, bright, and airy, or dark, brooding, and ominous? What colors do you use to decorate? What kind of style do you prefer? I also advise individuals to wear clothing with no visible brands and muted colors, if at all feasible, to add to the timeless vibe.”
Use the color wheel to help you.
“I love using the color wheel when I’m helping my clients determine what garments will look good in our chosen shooting location,” says Leslie Crane. I usually scout the location ahead of time to get a sense of how I want to use the space and the colors available. This may be a lot of fun for my seniors who bring a variety of costumes. When determining what to wear for photography, there are various methods to use the color wheel, but one of my favorites is to use complementary colors. Yellow and purple, for example, are complementary because they are precisely opposite one another on the color wheel. I know my outcomes will be stunning if I employ those two colors (both in the setting and in my client’s dress).
Look for hues that go well together.
“My family lives far north in a remote location,” Meg Loeks says. We enjoy being outside, so it’s vital for me to choose clothing that is basic so that it doesn’t detract from our lovely surroundings, but I also want my boys to stand out from the crowd. I’m always looking for colors and textures that will match our surroundings.”
It’s best to keep things basic and comfortable.
“I always advocate wearing cotton t-shirts, linen pants, no shoes, and loose and comfy attire for at-home newborn sessions or family portraits, which are typically taken on the huge bed,” says Tarah Beaven. In a bedroom scene, being neutral keeps the images simple and delicate, focusing on the connection and emotion between people. Also, don’t overlook the bedspread! Remove it if it’s too bright, has a distracting pattern, or is just plain drab, and replace it with light-colored sheets.”
Ignore the logos.
Vanessa Brack’s advice: “Because my work is more about feeling than style, I tell my customers to keep things simple and tidy.” I enjoy how the focus is on the family’s feeling and connection. Colors in muted tones, solids, and muted designs are ideal for this. Logos and words should be avoided since they draw the eye. “Babies and toddlers look cute in just a diaper and without a shirt.”
Dress in a neutral color scheme.
“When families are unsure what colors to wear for photos, I recommend any combination of cream, gray, and tan,” says Leslie Crane. It’s difficult to mess it up, and it looks great in virtually any location, particularly dried-grass fields, which are plentiful in the fall. As a result, I have a monochrome style that I really like. The gentle neutrals always draw the viewer’s attention back to the people in the photographs. This classic look is simple to put together, and (plus!) dads appreciate not having to get dressed up.”
Monochromatic is the way to go.
“Dress monochrome to complement your area,” Tarah Beaven advises. Isn’t that insane? However, there are a few reasons why this can result in intriguing portraits. Dressing for the occasion draws attention to the face because the rest of the outfit is neutral. Because the viewer is staring at variations of a single color, it forces them to break down the features in the shot.”
Make use of muted colors.
“I’ve noticed that subdued tones look wonderful together in a family portrait,” says Julie Kulbago. When choosing patterns, go for smaller ones that won’t distract from the primary issues, and only use one person per pattern. Choose textures like lace, corduroy, denim, and knits to add interest to your images when thinking about texture.”
Take a chance.
“I prefer to make my clients pop in the frame with vivid colors,” Lisa Tichané says. Because my art is so full of joy and enthusiasm, adding bright colors to the mix may really lift the mood! I tell them to use only one or two bright colors, with some neutral accents (white or grey) to balance them out. They gain extra points if at least one member of the family is dressed in a geometric pattern. Stripes are my favorite, but polka dots are also a fantastic option!
Make use of your go-to ensemble.
Dawne Carlisle’s advice: “It’s all about being true to yourself.” During senior sessions, I advise my senior clients to imagine themselves as their best selves. That does not imply that I go out and buy four new outfits. In fact, I always tell them to go through their closets and pull out their favorite clothing. When it comes to going out with friends, everyone has a go-to attire that fits exactly and makes them feel fantastic. I urge my seniors to bring this clothing so they can be sure they have at least one item that fits wonderfully and reflects who they are at this point in their lives.”
Toss in a splash of color.
“Don’t be frightened of a little color!” says Bobbi-Jo Stuart. You don’t have to go overboard, but adding a splash of color to a more subdued ensemble can look fantastic. Draw one color from Dad’s checkered shirt, for example, and have one youngster wear a pop of that color.”
Adapt your look to the environment.
“Always keep your session location in mind while choosing your attire,” Chanel French advises. If your session takes place in a city, dress up a little with a pair of gorgeous heels and a finer dress than usual to complement the city’s bustling feel. Choose a more casual outfit, such as a maxi dress, and casual footwear, such as flat sandals or boots, if you’ve chosen a more natural setting.”
Put on some makeup.
“Don’t be hesitant to dress up in formal attire, especially for an engagement session,” Bobbi-Jo Stuart advises. It’s not only entertaining, but it’s also distinct from the norm, and professional photography is definitely a memorable occasion!”
Patterns and colors should be coordinated.
“I urge my clients to pick three or four colors to establish a color palette for their images, then incorporate the colors throughout their clothes in varied patterns, solids, and layering,” Jamie Rubeis advises.
Choose a piece that makes a statement.
“Choose one statement outfit with a few colors in it and utilize that to work off of for the rest of the family’s clothing,” Chelsie Cannon advises. Mom chose her magnificent dress first in this photo, which had lovely colors to choose from when putting together costumes for the rest of her family. I always encourage families to coordinate rather than match. I adore how there are two floral outfits in this photo, but their patterns are so dissimilar. To balance out the patterns in the photograph, I situated the daughter in the flowery outfit next to dad and the daughter in the solid color dress next to mom.
Prioritize your comfort.
“My art is built on movement and playful behavior,” Lisa Tichané says. I always encourage my customers to think about being comfortable first. A mom in a short skirt and high heels is less likely to play wildly with her kids or get filthy, so I always tell them to think about being comfortable first. What you want to remember in 10 or 20 years is how happy you were as a family, not how good you were at dressing your kids. Choose clothing that will allow you to run around freely and carefree! Look no farther if you enjoy wearing jeans. They’re both comfy and photogenic; all you have to do now is locate some cute tops!”
Make use of vibrant colors.
“Clothes can create or break an image,” Karlee Hooper advises. Choosing basic, vivid colors for the subject’s attire can help them stand out against a neutral background. Alice & Ames makes some of my favorite girl’s clothes. They’re soft cotton gowns that twirl beautifully and allow the youngster wearing them stand out without having to worry about distracting branding. Furthermore, having a tiny girl spin in a twirly outfit helps her relax, and the movement looks fantastic in photos!”
Combine solids and patterns to create a unique look.
“Mix patterns and solids to offer visual interest to images,” Chelsie Cannon advises. Don’t forget to layer up! I constantly tell my clients to wear a variety of designs. Because mom wore a solid bright outfit in this photo (which she looks stunning in), I advised she mix up the patterns on the rest of the family. I like how the patterns are varied sizes: dad has wide stripes, baby boy’s clothing has a very subtle print, and mom’s outfit has a delicate embroidered accent. The baby is then dressed in overalls to add a beautiful layer. It’s all in perfect harmony!”
Reduce the number of patterns.
“Keep patterns to a minimum,” Meghan Doll advises. Instead, experiment with textures. We want your family to be the center of attention! Clothing should complement each other rather than compete.”
Choose classic over fashionable.
“I draw towards deep, earthy colors that match the natural aspects around us,” Meg Loeks says. I frequently select timeless stuff. Zara, Gap Kids, H&M, consignment shops (gotta love vintage!) and, of course, handcrafted pieces from relatives and local shops make up the majority of my wardrobe. Consider the colors in your surroundings while choosing complementing colors. If you know there will be a lot of green flora around, for example, you can choose red for your subject’s outfit. Choosing complementary colors for your subject is a terrific method to not only make your photographs visually appealing but also to isolate your subject from the background.”
Allow your hair to move freely.
“I am a Hawaii portrait photographer, therefore I love longer hair to be left down to accentuate movement,” says Allison Gipson. Many a client has been surprised to learn that in the land of sunshine and rainbows, there is also wind and breeze. It will not be possible to have well groomed hair. ‘Many renowned people pay for expensive wind machines, and Mother Nature is giving us one heck of a deal today!’ I joke at every session.
“Accessories give your images the needed oomph!” says Erin Konrath. They add a splash of color, personality, and intrigue to the room. They look great on everyone and are appropriate for all ages.”
Use Pinterest to help clients find what they’re looking for.
“Create Pinterest style boards to provide your clients samples of what to wear for images that also serve to match your brand,” Jamie Rubeis suggests. Pin samples of gentle tones if you enjoy soft palettes. Pin examples that fit your style if you enjoy bright colors. Remember to pin plenty of examples from your own work as well! To make my style board a buying marketplace, I like to pin directly from vendor sites.”
Jen Bilodeau’s advice: “In my client questionnaire, I normally begin by inquiring about my clients’ personal style. Are they clean and traditional, bohemian, hipster, neutral, or lively in their style? I frequently offer clients links to dresses or other items that I believe will work well for their session once I’ve gotten a better sense of their particular style. I understand that many of my clients are on a budget and don’t want to overspend on their clothing. I always point them to budget-friendly options like Target, H&M, Old Navy, and Amazon. Amazon is an excellent place to look for session dresses. They have some fantastic runway knock-offs, and while the quality isn’t terrific, it’ll suffice for our photo shoot!”