I love helping my clients choose the perfect outfits for their photo sessions. As a Boston area family photographer I wanted to create a blog post delving into my thought process when it comes to curating a cohesive, beautiful selection of family photo outfits. I strive for a light, neutral base for clothing so that the focus of your photographs is on you and your beautiful family. We want our eyes to focus on your faces, your expressions and the connection that you share.
I also love relieving some of the stress for my clients that can come along with shopping for and coordinating family outfits. This is one of the main reasons I created the CIP Client Closet, where I have a collection of gorgeous, timeless pieces for the whole family to wear for your photo session! Less time you’ll spend shopping, going back to the store for the inevitable returns and probably the best benefit of all, less laundry!
So let’s get on to the “rules” I stick to when helping my clients coordinate their outfits for their photo session! I put “rules” in quotes because I don’t want it to appear as if these are super strict laws, but rather guidelines to help you choose clothing that will compliment you rather than distract your eyes.
As you might already know, am a natural light photographer with a bright and natural style. This means that I mostly photograph clients outdoors, using and manipulating the natural sunlight in a very specific way to achieve the aesthetic that you see in my work. The effect of sunlight in my photography is so important. I create beautiful, dynamic photos using natural light and often shooting slightly earlier in the day than “golden hour”. When wearing colors that are super saturated or dark, the sunlight hits them and bounces that color back up onto your face/skin causing color cast. When you choose clothing that is more muted or lighter in color you help eliminate the risk of having an odd color cast onto your skin. Your true skin tone is beautiful and we want to showcase it!
Our eyes love to look at contrast and patterns, which makes it sound like we should wear lots of bold patterns, right? Not quite. When you are looking at an image of you and your loved ones, we want your focus to be on your faces, your emotions and your bond to each other. We don’t want our eyes to be distracted by the chunky black and white chevron shirt your daughter is wearing. We want to be drawn to her little smirk as you tickle her belly and her true expressions as she interacts with you!
This goes along with the previous rule. Think low contrast, natural looking patterns. I’ll give a few examples that photograph beautifully: Delicate florals or leaves, light colored stripes, low contrast polka dots, ombre color gradient etc.
I always suggest that most folks stick to solid colored clothing. Not only does this make the process easier to plan for, but it keeps distracting clothing to a minimum. Now this will depend on how many people are in your photo session of course! A good rule of thumb is for about 1 in 4 people to have a pattern of some sort.
This is one of my favorite ways to add more interest to your clothing, without worrying about adding a distracting pattern. I love the depth that texture can bring to an image. Think: silk, cable knit, swiss dot, tulle, linen etc.
Not that I think you’re going to show up with no shoes on, but don’t forget to plan for them! Unless you’re a shoe fanatic I think sometimes we forget these little guys when it comes to planning outfits. I know from personal experience, haha. One time when we had our own photos done I forgot about shoes for my daughter and we had to squeeze her little feet into a pair of leather moccasins. Not that they were crazy small, but I definitely regret not getting her a more comfortable pair.
Learn from my mistake and don’t forget the shoes! They do not have to be fancy by any means. Opt for a neutral, slightly dressy shoe and you’ll be golden.
I hope these tips are helpful to you the next time you find yourself planning your family’s outfits! If you are someone who loves to shop for outfits and you’d like some recommendations for brands/stores I’ll list out some of my favorites below!
Family & Maternity Dresses
Mens & Womens Shirts
Corinne Isabelle is a Boston Area family photographer based in Medway, Massachusetts. Corinne Isabelle Photography specializes in lifestyle, family portraits focusing on genuine and authentic images.
CIP serves families in the Boston area including Holliston, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Brookline, Belmont, Newton and more.
Corinne Isabelle is a Boston family photographer who creates timeless & artful images for the sentimental mama who yearns to preserve their babies' childhood through tangible, heirloom artwork.
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