What Should We Wear?

April 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm 1 comment

The most common question I am asked when scheduling a session is “do you have advice on what to wear?”  I have thoughts on this, but I am also very partial to individual style and like to defer to “what makes you comfortable.”  In recent weeks, I have found myself in client shoes, as we are having family photos taken tomorrow for the first time in almost 3 years!  Yes, I will actually be in front of the camera this time.  Yikes!  I have been asking myself, what in the world are we going to wear?  Now that our session clothes are all clean, pressed, packed and ready to go, I thought I would share my advice and our outfits with you.  I am showing two sets of outfits, as we are going to have one outfit change during our session.

Here’s set number 1:

Details: I have a VERY picky daughter.  She has lots of opinions on what she will and most definitely will not wear, so I started with her.  I did not take her shopping, as I knew this would be a potential nightmare.  Instead, I just headed for her closet and pulled out her favorite dress.  This the blue chambray dress in the center.  It’s classic, it’s a good neutral, it fits, and she likes it.  Plus, denim is a GREAT texture for photos.  She wears this scarf with it and is a scarf kind of girl, so that was my starting point.  Then I decided to work on the 3-year-old’s attire.  I did actually go to the store and purchase a shirt that matches the scarf, but I decided it was too matchy-matchy.  I personally like clothes that coordinate well, but that are not necessarily from the same line.  I like individual personalities to shine through the clothing, so, after abandoning the matching shirt idea, I went into the 3-year-old’s closet and found the polka dot dress.  The dress’s coral accent was perfect with the scarf accessory and paired with bright leggings it became fun and coordinated.  The hat with flower was something she’s had for months and wears all the time, and it completes her look.  Boy’s clothing?  I worked off the hat.  My son loves this hat and I just went for a classic blue striped shirt and khakis that pulls color from both girls’ outfits.  I layered a t-shirt under the blue shirt to make it a bit more casual.   As for shoes, my 3-year-old will wear these hand-me-down crocheted sandals, my son will wear his favorite red skater-inspired sneakers, and the picky one will wear leopard print sandals because they make her happy (those two pairs of shoes are currently at school).  So what are the overall strengths of this collection?

– the outfits fit each child’s personality and style well

– the colors are classic and not too busy and no one outfit distracts from another

– the accessories add little punches of color and can be taken on or off or played with during the session for different looks

– these colors will work well no matter where we end up in our session (garden, brick, stone, etc – it all works)

– The clothes are comfortable and were inexpensive!  All of the pieces from this set were found at Target, Gymboree and Justice, and almost everything was in their closets!

Set Number 2:

Details: This look was thrown together very last minute.  I started with the cute green polka-dotted dress and yellow leggings that are great colors on my 3-year-old.  A quick dig through my craft box for a big daisy, some hot glue and a hair clip and she is done.  I started heading in the direction of finding greens and yellows for the others to wear, but I was stopped by a few considerations. 1) My middle daughter is not such a fan of green and yellow, and they are not the best colors with her complexion. 2) My son looks great in green but didn’t have a green shirt that was the right style for the combo and I didn’t want to go shopping.  So, I started pulling things from the closet and playing with them.  I quickly landed on the pink and green dress for middle daughter – again, it was a favorite left over from last summer that I knew she would not mind wearing.  It has the greens and yellows and even it’s own polka-dot pattern, so it works well.  Added in some bright leggings (which she MAY not agree to wear) and her second favorite scarf and as a fun accessory, and she is good to go.  With the girls dressed in bright whimsical colors, I started looking for a bright solid shirt for my son, but then ran across his favorite t-shirt from this winter.  It’s fun and funky and will remind me of all the late-night drum set concerts he has done for us wearing this shirt.  I decided on jeans since they have bolder color than khakis, they add great texture and coordinate well with the pink dress, and they make the whole outfit very casual.  Threw in another favorite hat of his and the look is complete!   All of these items came straight out of their closets and came from an assortment of shops – Gymboree, Target, Dillards, Crazy8, Children’s Place and some uppity department store in Chicago for the scarf (souvenir from a vacation 🙂

My overall advice for outfits?

1) Choose clothes that are comfortable and that reflect what you and your family would normally wear.  If someone is upset or uncomfortable about wardrobe, it will show up in the photographs. (ie – I am giving in on leopard print sandals in exchange for happy smiles)

2) Choose colors that work well with your family’s own coloring and also think about how the photos will be used.  You might consider where in your home you might hang a photo and how the colors will look with  your decor.

3) Don’t be afraid of patterns and colors – just pair things up ahead of time and evaluate whether the overall look is too busy.

3) Work with what you have and fill in holes as needed.  Putting together a collection doesn’t have to be expensive.  The camera will focus more on the person than on the clothing.

4) If matchy-matchy is your style, go for it!  For me, my goal is to make it seem that we all went into our closets, picked out what we like best, and then realize after the fact, “hey! we all coordinate pretty well!”

Now that the hard part is done, we’re all set for a fun morning at the park and I’m counting on great smiles!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Sneak Preview | Chapel Hill {newborn} Photos Sneak Peek | Garner {wedding} Photos

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Susan  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I like them both! What great advice! Elyse likes the second set best…she kept saying, “What a pretty dress she has!” 🙂


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Welcome to the beasknees photo blog. Here you will find posts about my recent photo sessions, including sneak preview pictures for anxious clients! It's my joy to take photographs, and I am grateful for the many doors God has opened for me to be able to pursue this passion. I am blessed with supportive family and friends who show up in so many of my frames and who provide nothing short of total support and encouragement. Enjoy the blog, drop me a line, and keep checking back!

Photography by Laura Hileman


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