What on earth should I wear?!

What Should I Wear?

Each August I begin planning for our family photoshoot that has been scheduled for the last weekend in October for the past 9 years I begin to think about the location. A park? The Lincoln Memorial? Our backyard? Capitol Hill? Annapolis?  Each year we choose a place that we enjoy as a family. A place we are familiar with. A place that is part of our story.

Once we decide on a place I begin to think about our outfits. Each year the outfits are similar to the pervious year. This is natural for us because we like our photo to focus on telling our story as a family. What we wear is just part of the backdrop. For my husband it is usually a variation of dark jeans, a button up long sleeve shirt and a blazer. For our two boys, our oldest son prefers khakis and our youngest jeans. these are topped of with a button up long sleeve shirt and a sweater. All in coordinating colors but not matching. Me? My favorite photos are the ones where I am most comfortable and confident and am not worried about my clothing. I have worn a variety colors of double-breasted trench coats (see pic below).

Bring your own props that help to tell  your story. A little boy may have a security blanket or teddy bear he never parts with….  a little girl may like crafting so have her make a cute matching headband or clip for her hair. Mom loves tulips… on your way to the session pick some up. 

I am more than happy to discuss your clothing choices, help you narrow down your decision or give you a direction to focus on as well as make sure that your clothing coordinates well with the locations chosen for your photo shoot. If you have any questions please fill out the contact form.

Here are a few general guidelines:

Coordinate outfits

The important element is to coordinate and compliment each other. Choose colors that work well together. I suggest avoiding matching everyone. The key is coordination rather than matching.  

Use colors & patterns

Colors are everywhere around us and it's beautiful! Be sure the colors you use coordinate with each other and you don’t just end up looking like one big rainbow. If you must wear a pattern, choose small designs that won’t be too distracting. Use patterns sparingly…. only one person per portrait should be wearing print. 

 Choose different textured that will give photos some interest such as lace, corduroy, denim, etc.

Avoid large logo’s, emblems and graphics like “GAP” and “Old Navy” or t-shirts with writing or photos.  Your face are the star - not your outfits. 


Be timeless

For some fashionista’s, this may be a difficult concept, however you are going to want these images to stand the test of time. Pick outfits that aren’t too trendy, but will be able to be enjoyed and displayed for many years to come. One example of something that is timeless is jeans… classic look and style yet you can still incorporate your own flair into the outfit with your tops and accessories. Still be YOU, never forget that!


Let your personalities SHINE

I want to capture the true spirit of you!  To capture your family, relationships, just as you are. Dressing your children in outfits that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them may cause some anxiety and stress which in turn will inhibit capturing their personalities. The same may be said for adults. Wear clothing that you feel confident in. If your child wears a pair of rain boots everywhere he goes, then let him wear the rain boots. The key is to capture everyone as they are. For year, I wore a brightly colored coat four our family photos (see my 'about" page). I was comfortable and confident and I was not constantly fixing my outfit.



Layering is a terrific strategy in photos. Bringing in scarfs, pashminas, lace, blankets, jackets, etc brings in additional interest. In the Summer months this may be a light scarf or a 'paper' sweater.  This will provide additional visual interest in each photo and also allow a lot more variety in your shots and poses. 


Personalize It

These are YOUR images and of course you want them to speak volumes about you and your family. Discuss things your family enjoys doing together and bring “props” and accessories that will help compliment who you are. If your family enjoys playing music together, bring your instruments to your session. If your family enjoys boating, suggest doing your session on a boat or at the very least near the water. Bring along items that will represent who each individual is AND who your family is collectively.


Plan ahead

Make sure you have given yourself enough time to think about all of the details of your session. Plan ahead so that #1 you can truly think about your photos and everything you want out of the session, #2 you aren’t rushing and stressing out right before your session, and #3 if you have decided to go for a new look for your session or someone gets a bad haircut, you still have time to fix things if you need to.

Keep make up natural

You will want to avoid using very heavy makeup, but a bit of color on your lips, eyes, and cheeks will help bring you to life in photos. Be sure to bring some lip gloss with you as well.