Engagement & Couples
Outfits: pick 2 or 3 coordinating outfits. One fancier and one casual. It's also nice if one of the outfits is your wedding colors so you can use them for save the dates or to display as canvas at your wedding.
Choose three colors and try and incorporate those into both your outfits. You'll match without being too "matchy". Say "yes" to a dress or free flowing airy skirt. Think about how you want your photos to look like, are you looking for casual, romantic, dreamy, high end? Dress for the look that you are looking to achieve. I recommend men to not fear the blazer or jacket. Make sure that your shirt is relatively free of patterns and distracting words. In general, its a good idea to have no logos or words on any clothing. Vest are great because they add style to your outfit and slim you down. The oxford men's button down shirt is always a classy look. Avoid baggy or too tight fit, roll the sleeves for a modern casual look. The polo is a good summer look. Avoid polo's with large logos or graphics, aim for a solid color or non distracting pattern.
Props: I'm happy to incorporate anything you bring but to keep session unique, I don't provide any.
Looking gorgeous: I'd recommend getting your hair and makeup done for the shoot. It will mean one less thing to stress about and ensure you look your best. If you would like referrals just let me know. Also, makeup tends to fade on camera, so applying a little more will ensure your features really pop.
Bling: get your ring cleaned that day or the day before so it's extra sparkly! Also, maybe sure your nails are either clean or free of chips. :)
Layer & Accessorize: accessories are also a great way to bring your personal sense of style into your engagement photos. Layers and accessories can add so much depth and interest to your photos. They can also turn a decent outfit into a stunning one.
Families, Children, Seniors & More
Coordinate outfits: now this doesn’t mean everyone has to 100% match with khaki pants or jeans and a white shirt! You want to complement each other’s outfits by choosing colors that work well together. I find that if everyone is wearing the same clothing, people will all tend to blend in together and there won’t be too much pop and life to the images. Coordinate VS. Matching…. let’s not get cheesy!
Use colors & patterns: colors are everywhere around us and bring things to life… why not bring your images to life as well! Again, be sure the colors you use coordinate with each other and you don’t just end up looking like one big rainbow family! When picking patterns, choose smaller ones that won’t distract attention away from the main subject/s. Use patterns sparingly…. if one person is wearing a print, try to avoid putting someone else in a competing pattern. When thinking about texture, choose different ones that will give photos some interest such as lace, corduroy, denim, etc. Avoid large logo’s, emblems and graphics like “GAP” and “Old Navy” because again, these will typically distract attention away from the subject. We want your faces and emotion to show, not promote the clothing company you purchased from!
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 considered too trendy, but will be able to be enjoyed and displayed for many years to come. One example of something that is timeless is a neutral color palette (think organic tones!). When in doubt go for a classic look and style that still allows you to incorporate your own flair into the outfit with fun accessories. Still be YOU, never forget that!
Let your personalities SHINE: perhaps the most important “rule” in my book. The purpose of these photos is to hopefully capture each individual as they truly are, to capture the family, the relationships, and people in the photos just as THEY are. Forcing children to wear outfits that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them may cause some anxiety and stress to them which in turn will inhibit really capturing their personalities during the session. Same goes for adults. Wear clothing that YOU feel good in and the pictures will eliminate those feelings. If your child wears a pair of rain boots everywhere he goes, it makes the most sense to have him wear them for pictures as well - we’ll just plan the session for a "play rainy day" and bring along some fun umbrellas =). Remember, you want to capture everyone as they are NOW!
Dress for the season & location: obviously you want your images to make sense. One typically wouldn’t be wearing jeans, boots, and a jacket to the beach in the Summer so why would you for pictures? Dress the part and be aware of your location. For example, if you are shooting at the beach, ladies wear a pretty dress and sandals, put dad in a short sleeve shirt and shorts or pants, put your little girl in a sweet Spring or Summer dress, etc. You will want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and coordinates in both colors AND styles. For beach sessions we’ll all kick off our shoes since we’ll end up splashing in the waves at some point! Some locations are best suited for flats or wedges, and this is something we will discuss as part of styling your session. If you want to rock those fancy stilettos, we’ll make sure to find the perfect location that won’t leave you walking on your tip toes the entire session.
Layering: one of my favorite “tips” for clothing choices! In the Summer months, this may be more difficult to pull off but during all of the other seasons, definitely layer your outfits. Not only will it provide more visual interest in each photo but it will also allow a lot more variety in your shots and poses. Have a ton of images of yourself in just your dress or cute top and jeans? Throw on a little sweater or jacket and a hat and you have entirely different look.
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.
Keep make up natural, but still have some on: 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 for touch ups as there may be lots of smooches in story from your partner and little ones!
Outfit changes: if time allows it, bring another set of outfits. Again, you will get a lot more variety in your shots so why not capitalize on the opportunity and get the most bang for your buck!
Ladies & their shoes I’m all for a sassy pair of shoes, however they may make for a very long and painful session. If you plan on wearing heels, be sure to bring a pair of flats or flip flops that can help you get from point A to point B without any pain. You can just swap them out as you need to.
If I were building outfits for my family this is how I would do it:
Keeping your location and season in mind, start with one person. Don’t try and think of everyone at the same time. I find that mom or a little girl makes the most sense since they would typically be the ones wearing a print. So mom will be wearing a floral print dress. Now move on to the next person. You will be pulling colors from mom’s dress so begin to think about who in the family would look good in what colors. Dad doesn’t look so good in XYZ since it tends to drown out the tone in his skin. Let’s pick ABC for him instead. And so on. Then start to come up with ideas to personalize the session. A little boy may have a security blanket or teddy bear he never parts with…. be sure to bring that with you. The 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. Make thoughtful choices and be sure to discuss the ideas with your photographer! Believe me, most are full of ideas however, it’s always nice when the family helps and truly ensures a “custom” session.