Updated: Sep 13, 2019
You found a photographer you love, and booked your family session. The hard part is over! Or is it? While you're probably very excited, you may also be a little apprehensive, because now you have to style your entire family. You've invested a good amount of money, and will likely be using these photos for your holiday cards, or maybe as a large canvas or several prints in your home, so you want your family to look their best, right?
When I scheduled my own family's session, the question of what to wear nagged me from the get-go. I'm a mom too, after all. I want all the same things other moms and dads want out of their photos. But I am also a photographer, and I get asked this question a lot! So I took the advice I have given my own clients time and time again. "Coordinate, but don't match.
What exactly does that mean? It means, you don't all have to wear the same shirt and pants, in fact, that's a practice that tends to be a little dated, and it's not really my cup of tea. However, if you want to go that route, it's your family, and your decision! No judgement. I personally prefer when families coordinate, but don't match. That means, you all wear colors that compliment each other.
Here are a few examples:
In all of these images, the families look great! And they don't match but rather, compliment each other.
A quick note about seasonal sessions. It was an extremely hot Autumn here in Northern California, and green! But many people wanted those Fall sessions for their holiday cards. One sure fire way to sell Autumn when it's 80 degrees and sunny, is by your wardrobe choice! The first two families were fall sessions, the last family was a late summer session. You can see the difference in seasons by their outfits. Yes the families at my Fall sessions were a little warm in their clothing (I was also hot during my own family's session!) But you have to dress the part to sell the story. The same would go for a spring session that was unusually cool, it would look silly if you wore a sweater to a spring session surrounded by flowers.
So now you know that you know you will need to find complimentary colors for your family to wear, the next question should be, "What is my family's style?" Are you casual, trendy, preppy? Let your wardrobe be a part of your family's story and have fun with it! I do want to take a moment to urge you to dress up some for your photos. I'm not talking about high heels and ties, (Although I would love it!) but custom photography is an investment and not something many people do often. Make it a big deal, dress to impress, and wear something that will flatter your body type. Wear something that makes you feel good about yourself, because clothes matter when you're taking photos! Even if you're the most laid back, casual person, you should push out of your comfort zone and dress up a little. It truly makes a difference in the end result.
And since you're probably wondering how I ended up dressing my own family, here are a couple photos.
© Stacey Smith Photography
I chose the girl's dresses first and it helped shape how we all dressed. Actually, the navy blue dress came first, so I knew I had to pick a different, but coordinating color for my little one's dress. I also knew the location I chose for that 'fields of gold' look I love, would be brown due to the time of year (and lack of rain after a hot summer), so I needed to stay away from beige and brown clothing or we would blend in too much. My shawl sold "Autumn" a little more I think, as did all of our boots, and my husband's shirt had both olive green and navy blue, tying it all together. Everyone was very comfortable and I think the colors worked well with our location, and reflected our personal style as a family.
It may seem like a lot, and if you're not into fashion or styling your whole family, you should definitely enlist help! Maybe you have a fashion savvy friend or family member? Personally, I love this aspect of photography, so I offer advice on how to style your family as part of your session fee! If you have booked with me, feel free to reach out and let's come up with something you'll love.
Stay tuned for future posts detailing what to wear for other session types!