Picking outfits is both super important to your session and also not really easy for most of us. You want to show a style or feeling for your session, everyone needs to be comfortable, you want to match but not too much, and most importantly...you don't want to spend a small fortune.
I know. I've been there. I'm in the process of preparing for my own family session next week. My clients, have the benefit of having me available to help walk them through choosing outfits from their own closets. Each of my clients, gains access to my style guide first and then has me on speed dial to start helping with planning.
First, choose the style of your session.
Our session next week, is a lifestyle session. Our fabulous photographer from Following Seas Photography, will be coming to our home to capture my family as is. That means, I know I want us to look comfortable and as natural as possible. Not too natural...as I will be wearing make-up and E will have on underwear (what is it with toddlers and being half-dressed?). Other style options are modern, hip, seasonal, trendy, southern, sporty and on and on.
Second, pick one piece/outfit you love.
For our family session, I've known that I wanted to utilize this amazing skirt from The Wild Purple. I used it for E's 3rd birthday pics. Once I settled on this skirt, I mixed and matched tops to go with it. I thought about the navy, but it seemed too dark for what I was picturing especially because I did have some idea of what else I might pair. I tried the all white top and consider it my back-up. The pink top was my favorite because it's just subtle enough to add a little more color, but not overpowering like the navy. I can't say that there was really any rule about why I went this way. It just felt/looked right for what I was thinking.
Third, choose a color PALETTE
Now that I had my base outfit, I looked at her skirt and started pulling out colors that could be a palette for me to work from. I thought the shades of red, green, navy, and grey for neutral would work. I visited L's closet for inspiration next. I want these to have some fall feel to them so I pulled out two fall outfits that were close to the colors in the skirt. When I laid the burnt orange (go horns) romper down, it was clearly a no. The Gap burgundy romper, was a hit. It brought out the reds in E's skirt and looked well with the pink shirt.
Assign each person a dominant color from the palette
At this point, each person has their own dominant color that I am now pulling from our palette. E is the pink/white shade (our base), L is burgundy, and now to decide on me. I started by trying one of my favorite dresses that I don't wear near enough. It's a pale lavender from a great boutique called Hazel & Olive. I was hesitant about selecting it for a couple of reasons. First, it's very loose which means that it will not be flattering for my shape. Second, this is for fall pictures. Even thought it still feels like summer, this just doesn't match the season. It might have worked with a denim jacket over it, but I got rid of my fitted denim jacket. Next, I thought about this khaki banana republic dress I bought years ago and I have never worn. I tried putting a green sweater under it and a navy cardigan over it. Remember, navy and green are in my palette. Both of these options looked ok, but I wasn't in love and keeping in mind with the lifestyle relaxed feel, this dress just seemed too dressy. So, I tried this navy strapless dress I have (also from Hazel & Olive) because it's about as casual as they come. While this worked, it was too dark for what I was picturing. The last thing I tried before I resigned myself to being the one who would have to shop, was a pair of skinny jeans and the previous green sweater and TA-DA! Found it.
At this point, you're probably wondering about Chuck (and accessories). Chuck is his own stylist. I could never dress him because he is very particular and we don't always agree, but he always ends up looking perfect. I do suggest colors and since L and I are both wearing darker colors, Chuck will probably wear jeans and a grey polo.
Accessories???? Well, that's for another post :)
I hope seeing someone walk through this helps you for your session. For my clients, I'm here to help you design your look so you don't end up with Pinterest Fails. :)