With fall approaching it is the peak of a photographer's season, especially here in upper Michigan - whether it is for family, senior, or engagement sessions, many people seem to love the fall colors as a backdrop to their images. I know that personally, the warm rich tones fit perfectly with the colors I love to decorate with. I also love being out in the cool, crisp air, and soak up every second of it I can before winter hits.
I get a lot of questions about what to wear during a photo session, and there is some basic advice I like to offer to my clients. Mind you, I'm no fashionista - I have the hardest time deciding outfits for my own family to wear - but I do have some basic guidelines that should help. These can apply to any season and any type of outdoor session.
- Think about your home décor when planning your outfits.
The first time we had our family portraits taken, it was January and I dressed us all in blue (because it's basically the only color my husband likes to wear). The images were lovely, but afterward, I realized that I *never* decorate with blue, and I really didn't want pictures of snow hanging up in my house all year long. Because of this, I never really had the desire to hang up those photos. The next time we had family photos done, I dressed us all in creams, browns, and greys, which are all colors that I love to decorate with. I also made sure it was in the fall (it happened to be after the leaves had fallen, but that worked out well - I prefer brown grass and leafless trees to snow or vibrant summer greens anyway). Those images look absolutely gorgeous on our walls because I decorate with browns, creams, and oranges. I love seeing them every day - they make me so happy.
- Avoid cartoon characters or sayings, especially on children's clothing.
While such outfits can be adorable, sayings and cartoons tend to steal the attention in the image - we want your family to be the highlight of these images, not necessarily the outfit. Simple, timeless pieces will ensure your photos will stand the test of time.
- Coordinate rather than match.
Not everyone has to wear the same colored shirt. You can do a neutral base with a pop of the same color throughout (burgundy leggings on a daughter with a coordinating top on a son, for example). You can also do multiple colors that work well together, rather than the same color on everyone. If one person is wearing a print, pull a color or two from the print to dress other family members in solid colors. Pulling a few colors from the same family can also work well (think using two jewel tones, such as berry and navy, or a softer feel of grey, lavender, and cream).
- A great layering piece can pull an outfit together and make it look polished.
This is the part that I personally am terrible at - I tend to dress simple and lots of layers make me crabby! So for someone like me, this isn't a great option. Comfort is just as important as looking great - because if you don't feel comfortable, you won't look comfortable. But, for those who can pull it off, something like a cardigan, skirt over leggings, fitted jacket, scarf, suspenders, etc can really give your outfit that put-together look. If you have a problem area that you are sensitive about, some of these layering pieces can help to camouflage these areas as well.
-Texture and movement add interest and depth to an image.
Think natural fibers such as wool - a chunky knitted sweater, for example. Think lace, corduroy, beading or buttons - anything with pretty little details. And again, layers. All of these things will create a timeless, polished look with depth.
-Fit is very important.
I know this one is difficult - I'm a mom and I know how fast kids grow. It's no fun to spend money on an outfit that they will only wear for a short time, and very tempting to buy an outfit that they can "grow into" so they will be able to use it long after the session is over. If an outfit does not fit well, however, the images will not be as polished or put-together. Ensuring proper fit on everyone in the family will create a much more pleasing look.
I hope that some of this helps you when planning your outfits for photo sessions! And I hope to see you in front of my camera!