I have nothing to wear, let's scrap the whole idea!
Sound familiar? You've decided you're going to book that photographer you love and finally get some dang photos taken, come hell or high water! And then you open your closet door and that resolve dissipates entirely. I would love to tell you that it doesn't matter, that you should all throw on t-shirts & sweatpants and leave the stress behind. Unfortunately, that is not what this blog post is about. This post is all about how styling can literally make or break a session.
I recently had a family photo session in Telluride, and they came so perfectly styled, my jaw dropped. I knew the photos would be stunning and man was I right! You don't need professional hair & makeup, you don't need to spend hundred on clothes, but you do need to pay attention to a few key elements!
What not to wear
Hi, I'm Stacy London and this is.... (anybody?) Anyway...there are a few things that are pretty much a hard no in my book and it's probably not what you think.
- Small, tight prints and stripes do NOT photograph well. My only "rule" is no itty bitty tiny checker patterns. The camera reads them and creates its own unique pattern called “moire” and it isn’t desirable.
- This is more a personal preference than a rule, but Logo t-shirts will quickly date a photo and will distract from the subject and relationships. Unless the logo/band is important to your family, it's best to stick to solid colors & patterns.
- To all of the men out there...PUT DOWN THE JEANS. Trust me, a pair of khakis or chinos is going to look so much better. Really, it will.
- Last but certainly not least, make sure whatever you put your kids in is COMFORTABLE. They need to be able to run, jump, high-five...you get the point. You don't want your kiddo itchy and miserable any more than you would want to be itchy & miserable. Consider the weather...are you taking family photos in Telluride in the summer? Or are you doing family photos in Crested Butte in the winter? The weather & location are very important when considering your outfit options!
Coordinate- don't match
Pick a few colors for your color scheme and select clothing based on those colors. This method allows for more creativity and individuality. Mom may want to choose what she is wearing first and ask the rest of the group to coordinate around those colors. It's also important to consider the theme. Are these Christmas card photos? Fall portraits? Wildflower minis?
Textures & Neutrals
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but long, flowy dresses & skirts almost every single time photograph better than pants do ladies.
Neutrals always photograph beautifully. I am also partial to picking a statement color & working around that. I recently had a friend take my own family portraits in Ouray, Colorado (shoutout Sarah Hall Photography) and I picked out a gorgeous rust orange velvet dress and matched everyone around that. Since the orange was pretty loud, my husband & son wore neutral earth tones to compliment it. Our color palette ended up being rust orange, sage green, forest green, cream & khaki. Different shades of the same color usually look amazing together!
Mixing textures helps create visual interest, and bringing a few outer layer options can help create a few different looks. Hats make great accessories!