Updated: Mar 16, 2021
1. Co-ordinate vs. match
When you're thinking about picking outfits for everyone in the family think along the lines of co-ordinating outfits within a color scheme, with patterns or a pop of color to add interest. Pick clothes that reflect your family's personality and style, so the photos will be a genuine reflection of who you are at this time in your life. Soft pastels, white and navy are always great choices in the spring to contrast with the beautiful lush green landscapes.
2. Moms pick your outfit first
As moms, it's really easy to get lost in the shuffle of co-ordinating the schedules, details and outfits of everyone else in the family before thinking of what you will wear. That can leave you with a last minute scramble and second-guessing after the shoot. But I am here to tell you to start with YOU first. Choosing an outfit that makes you feel confident and beautiful is the most important thing. Consider picking something that's comfortable, easy to move in and shows your waist (it's more flattering than large oversized shirts that can add bulk). Avoid clothes that have an awkward fit requiring you to constantly fuss or check to keep your bra strap in place.
3. Dress kids in something comfortable and appropriate for the weather
The single biggest mistake I see is when kids show up to a photo shoot in stiff, uncomfortable clothing that they are just dying to get out of. My heart sinks imagining how I'm going shift everyone's mood to light and breezy, so that I can get those connected images. The best pictures from my shoots always happen in those moments of play -- tickling, running, dancing, joking. Shoes that are too big, or pants that are tugging at the waist will limit the kind of play we can do, and short change you on your gallery. Don't forget to check the weather forecast a couple of days ahead of the shoot and make sure your planned outfits still make sense. Working in the Chicago North Shore area means forecasts can turn on a dime. Cold kids usually mean grumpy kids. You don't have to throw your whole plan out the window, but think about bringing extra layers including hats or jackets that can add a beautiful variety to your photo gallery and we can easily throw them off once kids get running and warmed up.
4. For Guys, fitted pants with empty pockets are a must!
Fitted jeans or chinos look great on guys, and photograph better than baggy cargo pants or athletic wear. In all cases make sure you remove phones, keys or anything at all in your pockets before coming to the shoot. This sounds like a strange request, but I can't tell you how many times I have found myself staring at a simply beautiful image, only to see the outline of an iPhone in dad's front pocket. My best advice is to figure out ahead of time where you are going to put car keys and everyone's phones for the session, so you avoid that easy habit of slipping it in to your pocket when you arrive. Think about a "family bag" that keeps all the loose items in one place and has some handy things like chap stick, face wipes and any accessories that you might need.
5. Avoid neon colors and large logos
Bright, neon colors create an unflattering color tone on the skin in photographs. Large logos can distract and over power a photo and date it in the long run. Keeping things clean and simple keeps the focus on you and your family.
6. Ditch the headband in favor of ponytails or tight clips that keep hair in place
I know, I know, this is a tough one. There are so many beautiful head bands out there that can really bring to life a little girl's dream outfit. But hear me out on this one --they almost NEVER stay in place. Think of photography sessions as fun family playtime-- your kids are running, everyone is laughing and it's just a little crazy. Headbands just don't do a great job of staying in place. If a headband is a must for you, make sure it is snuggly fit and it passes the "run test". If you want to keep hair off the face, ponytails and clips do a great job.
7. Consider where you want to hang your photos
If you're planning on hanging photos in your beautifully themed nautical kids play room, then think about how the photos color palette will compliment the room. Fall themed mustard, cream and orange clothing probably won't blend well. If you're not sure if the outfits you've picked are going to work, reach out to your photographer (that's me!) for another opinion.