What Shall We Wear?
Something comfortable! You are going to be twisting and turning and sitting and standing so choose clothing that is the correct size and is relaxing to wear.
Stand out. If we are shooting in the woods; green, tan or dark brown will only serve to camouflage. When selecting a colour pallet choose colours that compliment and contrast with the natural environment.
Be timeless. Some patterns and prints age poorly as do exaggerated fashions. Your portraits will be loved for decades so when planning your wardrobe be courageous with colour and cautious with prints. Choose subtle patterns, understated jewelry, foot wear that doesn’t scream the year and avoid brand names and graphics. These images will hang on your wall for a lifetime so do your best to avoid choices that will make 2040 you giggle or blush. :)
Embrace texture. Layers are marvelous, knits are awesome, and overalls are always cute. Creating visually stimulating combinations makes a photograph more interesting and allows you to play with the look of your outfit throughout the session. Variety creates lovely portraits.
Complement rather than match each other. Unless you are in a band, identical black t-shirts and jeans are unfitting. Clothes that coordinate result in much nicer photos and allow everyone in your party to show off their personalities while still looking like you belong together. Choose from the same colour palette or build off one person’s printed dress or patterned shirt.
Be a watercolour not a crayon. Some shades are great as an accent on a scarf or look lovely on a very particular skin tone but most “crayon” colours; fire engine red, bumble bee yellow, fresh leaf green etc… just don’t photograph well against most flesh tones. If you want “red” pick cherry or blush or wine or rose, avoid the crayon.
Overdress your children. There is nothing worse than the pained smile of a cold 2 year old. Layers can always be removed. For winter sessions I recommend children wear tights/leotards or long-johns underneath a thick pair of pants. A onesie or undershirt should be worn below the shirt and a sweater above that. Remember to coordinate hats, mittens, and jackets to the overall colours in your shoot and bring extra clothes in case of a soaker or stain.
Naomi’s Nit Picking
Avoid coat collars, bulky scarves, or vests that cover the entire neck. This is especially true for small children. It is hard to see faces.
If you are going to wear white or a sheer fabric check yourself out in sunlight. Under the right conditions your top may be see through and you may be displeased with the results.
If your shirt buttons up the front ensure that your buttons close completely and that the fabric lies flat.
Bra straps can be sneaky. Sometimes it is necessary to pin them.
Check out your makeup once you are in sunlight. Is your foundation blended well? Do you have lipstick on your teeth?
Are your lips chapped? You will be out in the sun or the wind smiling and laughing a lot in the next hour so man, woman or child lip balm is always a good idea.
No matter your race, unless you are ballerina, avoid tops that too closely match your skin tone.
Arms and legs make up the lines and angles of most portraits. When portraits are taken above the waist arms can either lengthen and thin a profile or break it up. Sleeveless, capped sleeves and 3/4 / full length sleeves all work well. T-shirts break up the arm in an unflattering way and are strongly discouraged.
If you wear glasses make sure they are clean. I can’t tell that they are dirty while I am shooting but I can always tell once the editing starts. If your glasses transform in sunglasses I would recommend not wearing that pair.
I am going to see you finger nails and maybe even your toes. I am gardener, I won't judge! But, if you've been digging around in tulips or had a pedicure last Christmas you'll know that from the pictures. You're a parent and your busy but you will want to make some time for toes and fingers before your session. No need to be fancy, just clean. :)