STYLING YOUR SESSION
We are so excited for your portrait session! Whether we’re taking beautiful photos of your sweet family or capturing a special moment in time like a graduation, special birthday, anniversary or new baby, we’re so honored to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. We’ve created this guide to help you get the most out of your photos, and by the time you’ve read through the information, we hope you’ll have all your questions answered and feel more than ready and prepared for your session. Then we’ll take care of the rest! Your only job is to be yourself, laugh a lot and let us create photos you’ll love forever. We can’t wait to get you in front of our cameras!
Photos that you are drawn to and are your favorites usually have a certain “feel” to them. Lighting, location, and the photographer’s style of editing all contribute to the overall feel of a photo. Styling is also affected by the clothes you wear and the props you incorporate.
Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, a beloved book, or a sentimental toy, planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.
Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything – they can be held or attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper.
Pets make great additions to photos, too!
Taking photos of you or your family is about the people in them: faces, expressions, those dimples in your baby’s cheeks, your son’s freckles, your daughter’s beautiful brown eyes, etc. When you are wearing simple and timeless clothing, the attention isn’t drawn to your clothing but to these amazing features.
CHOOSE light COLORS
When choosing colors for your outfits, we recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. When you wear light clothing, the sunlight bounces around, reflects back into your face and anyone who is around you, creating a beautiful glow. It flatters your skin – making it creamier and hiding flaws. It also helps create the overall aesthetic of the photo.
For our style of photography, we love shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.
By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help keep the attention on the people and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other.
**If you absolutely hate light colors, go with muted jewel tones (such as plum or midnight blue) as opposed to anything bright and vivid or neon to avoid any unnatural casts on your skin.
cream vs. white
This is just a suggestion and not the end of the world, but … clothing that is cream or ivory, photographs white. Clothing that is WHITE-white, photographs blue(ish)! Cream-colored clothing is softer on skin tones and, luckily, easier than ever to find. So if you can, go with cream. The exception to this is if you are using a lot of grey in your clothing. Grays and whites go better than grays and cream! Think cool tones vs. warm tones.
choose solid colors or delicate patterns
While adorable in person, bold patterns with areas of high contrast (for example, large areas of light and dark colors close together) compete for attention in photos. When in doubt about a pattern, do a “squint test.” Just look at the pattern, squint your eyes, and if the clothing item looks like a solid color or close to it, it’s good. If it sill looks pretty busy, go another route, or keep it simple and go with a solid color.
Anything neutral works! In the Summer, I love kiddos in bare feet! As for babies who can’t walk – if it’s warm enough, let’s see those toes! If it’s cold out, boots are cute, or just about anything as long as it’s not a bright color. If mom is wearing a maxi dress, often times we won’t be able to see those shoes. As long as they don’t distract, that’s the name of the game.
style tips for her
say yes to the dress
We recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress instead! Have you thought about rocking a romantic gown or tulle skirt but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! Dresses and skirts look stunning because they flatter every female body, especially on camera — which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not very many pantsuits! When ladies wear dresses, it really helps create that timeless look. Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos, especially when a breeze flutters by. Consider softer fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images, especially when juxtaposed with nature, like the desert, forest, plains or beach.
If you’re an expecting mother, we always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump. A lot of our expecting mothers love to incorporate flower crowns or headpieces as well.
When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, we’ll likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, will make moving around with your kids much easier, and look perfect on camera, too.
one or two? it’s up to you
You can bring one outfit set or two! Most of our clients who choose two outfits will bring one “wow” dress, and then another slightly more casual outfit that has a “date night” feel. If it’s too stressful to coordinate or if you’d rather just stick to one fabulous look, no worries! One outfit that you love will be so much better than a second that you’re not very excited about. And if you stick with one outfit set, you won’t have to spend any of your time changing half way through, so we’ll be able to sneak in a few more photos! So, one or two? It’s really up to you!
Flattering your features
In our experience, every woman, regardless of her shape has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about, so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, we recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully and naturally.
- Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so we recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms.
- Heels elongate women’s legs, making them look fabulous. Closed-toed heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, you might want to schedule a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your feet show. These little tricks make all the difference!
style tips for HIM
dapper & Debonair never go out of style
Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from your legs and feet and place it where you want it: on your handsome face. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants (khakis, tan) work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits.
As for shirts, we recommend a collared, long-sleeve, button-up dress shirt (rolled up to the elbows looks awesome if temperatures allow – it creates a dressy, but not stuffy look).
Next time you walk by a store like J. Crew, you’ll notice the male mannequins and models are always wearing several layers at once. Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust us when we say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last a lifetime. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, you could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!
mix it up
Many of our guys love to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and breaks up the color tones. We’re big fans of this fresh take on a timeless classic.
it’s all in the details
Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether you’re wearing a full suit or a blazer and colored pants. Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp complements to any outfit for men and boys alike. If you bring two outfits to the session, you can start with a traditional necktie and belt, then switch to suspenders and a bow tie for your second look. If two looks are too stressful, no problem! One will do the trick! You can still mix and match accessories to complement both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, it’s a win.
coordinating the creW
As you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” In fact, we recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what “fits”together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.
how to mix colors
The goal for coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. We encourage you to think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors” and “accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real estate. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, if you can aim for each person to have a different dominant color and then tie in and vary the accent colors, it’s going to look great all together.
mixing up the pieces
If you’re wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could wear a navy coat with a white button-down and gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square (making navy his dominant color). Your daughter could wear a soft blue top with a white tulle skirt (making a soft blue her dominant color) while your son wears light beige pants with navy suspenders and a white button down (making white his dominant color). Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few touches of the others that will pull all the looks together. This will break up the color visually and highlight each personality. Most of our moms choose their dress first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits based around that.
Remember, we recommend selecting those softer, lighter tones and avoiding those ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. That softer color palette fits beautifully into a natural environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.
MEMORIES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT
We know we just gave you a lot to think about. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future memories are the most important thing to us, and we want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And we’ll take care of the rest!