Picking outfits for family photos can be a little intimidating at first, but by the end of this blog post, you should feel much more prepared to plan your session wardrobe!
#1 Consider your session location
Most likely you will know WHERE you want to take your engagement photos before you know what you want to wear, so let the location inspire your outfits. It wouldn't really make sense to wear 5-inch stilettos at the beach and you probably wouldn't wear a bathing suit in the middle of downtown Houston, so think about where you will be taking photos first. Next, think about how you might interact with the environment. Some locations, like the beach, offer a lot of opportunities for interaction, i.e. splashing in the waves and dare I suggest actual swimming! So at the beach, it may be a good idea to consider bringing a bathing suit or an extra outfit that you don't mind getting wet.
Here are a few more examples:
Urban settings, like downtown Corpus Christi, could be a great location for going in more of a glam/preppy direction with your wardrobe! Or, depending on your family's personal style, an urban setting might be perfect for leaning into a more rock-n-roll/grunge aesthetic!
Local parks are wonderful for more casual outfits like jeans and t-shirts or to embrace flowy fabrics and floral prints.
#2 Pick Mom's outfit first
It can be very overwhelming to try to choose the "best" outfit out of multiple closets in the house all at once, so instead, start with Mom's wardrobe first and then choose clothes for everyone else that coordinate accordingly. And instead of just browsing clothes on a hanger, I always recommend trying clothes on to get a sense of how your feel and move in an outfit.
Additional things to consider:
Does the outfit limit your movement in a way that might interfere with photos? For example, if your favorite dress is strapless, but you know your littles will want to be held on your hip the entire time, it might be a good idea to consider a dress with more support.
If you would like to wear tall heels or shoes that are hard to walk in, consider bringing flats/sandals to wear while walking around and then change into fancier shoes just for the photos.
Double-check that bra straps/underwear won't be seen.
#3 Coordinate instead of matching
Consider coordinating your colors instead of matching. Picking colors that coordinate, rather than putting everyone in the exact same color, looks much more natural in photos! So instead of putting everyone in the exact same shade of blue, choose a range of blues that look nice together or select 3-4 complementary colors.
#4 Mix in texture and patterns
Don't be afraid to add texture and even patterns to your wardrobe. In fact, adding texture and patterns will add a lot of depth and interest to the overall look of your photos!
Even though patterns and texture can add a lot of interest to your photos, say no to Logos, large graphics, and characters.
Don't be afraid to mix and match small and large patterns, but if you are worried about things looking too busy together you can't go wrong with putting one person in a pattern, one person in an outfit with some texture, and the rest of the group in solids that compliment!
#5 Don't forget accessories
Hats, jackets, jewelry, scarves, belts, oh my! Accessorizing not only helps your personal style shine through photos, but it also brings more texture and visual interest into your photos!
#6 Be yourself!
At the end of the day, my goal is to capture photos that keep precious memories for you and your family. I want you to look back at the photos and think "these are my people, my loves, and my heart".... not "ugh, I should have never worn that dress". With so many styling tips and the pressure of social media, I know that it can be overwhelming and very easy to lose a sense of self, but I beg you to dress you and your family in a way that is authentic to your story.
If you don't EVER wear a long flowy dress and don't enjoy wearing dresses and cringe at the idea of wearing a dress, you do. not. need. to wear a dress for your family photos! This is your permission to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable with yourself regardless of the current social media/fashion trends.
If your toddler is going through a phase where they will ONLY wear their red cowboy boots and will not wear regular shoes without throwing a tantrum, I encourage you to let me document this time in their life when red cowboy boots bring them joy and confidence! (Fun fact, I had a pair of oversized red cowboy boots that I insisted on wearing to school every day for months, hahaha)
These tips are meant as a starting point, but they aren't hard and fast rules, so if you have any additional questions or would like advice on a specific outfit, please feel free to message me and I will be happy to help!
Thanks for reading, Lillian Jean