What to wear –
Ask yourself why are you having this photo session and dress accordingly. If the session is for Holiday / Christmas cards, think about dressing in a wintery feel. Are these images for headshots? Plain solid colors with layers, are the way to go. If the image is for a canvas for your living room, think about coordinating the colors with the décor. Timeless clothing, or even a little ‘vintage’ goes a long way in images. Choose clothing that won’t look dated a few years from now. Trends come and go and you want your images to look and feel great years from now.
Babies and Toddlers –
Toddlers and babies don’t really need accessories. Their innocent, beautiful faces should be the center of attention. If they have a favorite toy or doll, this can be used, but it should not take ‘center stage’. I want the viewer to see the baby or toddler first.
More than one child –
It is advisable to coordinate, but not match. Start with a basic color palette. It will be more pleasing to the eye to have only one child in a pattern, while the other children pull from the colors in the pattern, keeping their clothes more simplistic. You can do this with neutrals, colorful ‘brights’ or a softer color that has different ranges of the same shades.
Pick a few colors to ‘pop’ between the children when working with softer tones or neutrals, for example; pink hat on a girl and matching pink bowtie/tie for the boy. It is so much easier finding ‘center stage’ pieces for girls, so usually pick out the girls’ clothes first, then pull colors from their outfits to create a look for the boy.
Another alternative is to choose your accent colors, for example, if big sister’s dress has some tones of red, have little sister wear a headband with those colors, or little brother could wear a tie or sneakers with this color. A little hint of color goes a long way…
Layers and Textures –
Using multiple textures and layers can create interest in the images and are eye catching. Textures are clothing or accessories such as tweeds, crochet, embroidery details, lace, etc. Adding layers and textures in soft or neutral colors and tones can add detail and depth to the image. Jean jackets are a good example of layering, as they have become ‘timeless’ pieces. If you are looking for black and white photographs, textures are important to make the image ‘pop’ with depth.
Patterns are only good in moderation in photographs. Many patterns in one photograph can be a huge distraction as your eye will ‘go to’ the pattern and not to the child’s face. This is especially true if there is more than one child in the image and they are wearing ‘conflicting’ patterns. Choose more simplistic, solid color clothing.
Don’t forget the scarves, hats, flowers in the hair, jewelry, hairpieces, belts, vests, jackets, etc. These items can take an average look into a more complete image. As mentioned before, generally speaking, babies do not need accessories.
Your choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Please, no sneakers, unless they are some ‘funky’ Converse type and these should fit the feel of what you would like to achieve in the photo session. Wearing a pair of hip fall boots, cowgirl/boy boots, Rainboots, or ballet flats can tie everything together. If you want colorful shoes, try coordinating these with the accessories, for example, red mary janes and a red hair bow for girls, and navy blue and white sneakers and a navy tie for the boys. Sometimes, no shoes will work, as well, or even a funky pair of socks.
What not to do or wear –
Avoid anything with logos, characters, labels, etc. These graphics tend to be very distracting in a portrait photo. Years from now when you look at the photograph, do you really want to see that huge GAP logo before you notice your children’s smiles?
Graphics can work sometimes, but they must fit the ‘vibe’ of the photo session.
Please do not make everyone wear the same color. Matching is boring and dated. This goes for wearing every color of the rainbow, as well. A few carefully chosen colors can go a long way in making the image look cohesive and pleasing to the eye.
Clothing in General –
I recommend investing in your children’s clothing, but this does not have to be an expensive ordeal. Check out consignment shops, eBay or our local Facebook yard sales for deals on luxurious and couture clothing at a fraction of retail cost. Even Amazon has deals on Zutano and Hatley, for example. Or purchase items off season, when items of clothes are on sale. You can even rent special dresses and accessories for little girls. Or suits and accessories for little boys - check out Rainey’s closet (www.raineyscloset.com).
Suggestions for Clothing Lines –
(These are purely representative suggestions. I am not promoting any brand.)
- Classic – Janie and Jack, Crewcuts, Carter’s, Gymboree, Ralph Lauren, Petite Bateau, Gap Kids, Vineyard Vines, Oshkosh, LL Bean, Rachel Riley, Bella Bliss, Nautica
- Classic with a Twist – Mini Boden, Tea Collection, H & M, Lucky Brand, Zutano, Lacey Lane,
- Funky and Fun – Catimini, Mini Rodini, Deux par Duex, Marin & Morgan, Bobo Choses,
- Upscale Luxury – Joyfolie, Tutu du Monde, Nellystella, Well Dressed Wolf, Pili Carrera, Whistle & Flute. Pale Cloud, Blu Pony Vintage, Four Tiny Cousins
- Boutique style –Persnickety, Matilda Jane, Lemon loves lime, Mustard pie
- Rain Wear – Hatley, Oil and Water, Skip Hop
- Shoes, Boots – Converse, Livie & Luca, Pedipeds, Toms, Keds, Doc Martens, Joyfolie, Zara, Saltwater Sandals, Zara, Hatley rain boots, Hunter rain boots
Most Importantly Comfort and Surroundings –
Make sure the children are comfortable! Uncomfortable, ill-fitting clothing makes for unhappy children. If you let them have a say in the choices (to a point…) the children tend to be a bit happier and more relaxed. Also, for the little ones, I recommend only one outfit, with layers to get different looks. Too many outfit changes can be distracting and many will lose interest in the session. Happy, comfortable kids are much more fun to work with than uncooperative ones, and the resulting images will capture their personalities in a positive way.
The wardrobe you choose should complement the surroundings where the shoot will take place. For example, imagine a field with tall grass – the outfit you choose to wear in this photo may be very different than one which has a city feel, such as a graffiti wall or brick background.
If your child is due for a haircut, do it at least a week in advance to have their hair look natural.
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