Today, I felt motivated to share some of my thoughts on why outfits can change the feel and look of a session because it is a topic that comes up frequently with my clients. And what better way to share some tips, then alongside these adorable photos of this Sauvie Island motherhood session with Kate and Evie.
I’m definitely not someone you would call a fashion guru, but I do feel confident enough to say that the colors, fabrics and patterns we decide to wear in front of the camera, if selected intentionally, can really make a positive difference. I also believe, you do not need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe or wear something fancy, for your session to be successful. That is not sustainable and can often be overwhelming for families.
Anyways, before I jump into some tips, it’s important that I mention that my work is about my families first and foremost; telling their story honestly, and encouraging natural and genuine interactions. With that said, feeling confident in what you’re wearing and wearing something that works well with the environment around you, is a chance to elevate your photos. Crazy patterns, bright colors, and unflattering fabrics, etc. can sometimes take away from the focus, which is the beautiful faces in front of the camera. Ultimately the purpose of this article is to encourage creativity and collaboration.
1. The color of your clothing matters.
If you live in Portland, you know how beautiful our surrounding environment is. From evergreens, natural rock, and bustling streams, the earth provides organic tones that are dreamy to create alongside. Pastel, earth toned and even white clothing, can be really flattering when photographing subjects in nature. These colors aren’t distracting from what’s important, the subject! I’ve noticed that when families wear softer tones, my eyes are immediately drawn to faces, hands, and the physical connection shared between each other, rather than a crazy pattern or a bright colored dress. When shooting in nature, intense colors and patterns can clash with natural tones, and be distracting. Sometimes, certain hues can cast unflattering color on the skin as well. It’s not that color is unwelcome, it’s just that it’s important to be intentional about how and when it is worn.
2. Wearing something that feels true to you is important.
I’ve had photos taken of me before where I try to dress for the occasion and then when I get them back, I’m critical and don’t feel like myself. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to buy a whole new outfit for your upcoming session. There are items you might already own, and wear everyday that would be perfect for your session. Even if you’re sporting an oversized t-shirt, joggers and boots, and don’t feel particularly up for doing photos outside of your home, there is a beauty and simplicity in wearing your comfy clothes. And that leads me to my next bullet.
3. Wear something comfortable, and something that allows you to move.
If you feel like you can rock a dress, do it. But bottom line, wear something you feel comfortable in; something you can be 100 percent yourself in. If you can’t move properly and are stumbling over your outfit, or in new shoes, you won’t look natural and you won’t enjoy the session. If you can’t sit down, or feel stuck in a specific pose, then there won’t be variety in your session which is such a key component to storytelling.
4. Don’t feel like you’re imposing, by running ideas by your photographer.
I certainly don’t want to create an environment where my clients feel like I’m trying to put them in a box, and tell them what to wear. Every piece of advice I give my families and couples is for their own benefit, not mine. It’s such a joy to build a relationship with clients, and as a team brainstorm ideas for what might look great for the session. As someone who has photographed well over 100 families, I’ve learned that teamwork and communication leading up to a session is so important. It’s always beneficial to go into a shoot prepared and I love giving advice based on my past experiences.
5. There’s always exceptions.
Finally, yes of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes wearing a matching set or color to your partner or child might sound ridiculous, but it just works. This Sauvie Island motherhood session is an example how a very similar color palette on both subjects looks nice with the surrounding environment. Sometimes a pop of color fits just beautifully into the setting you choose to do family photos too. Neutrals, pastels and white are always a safe bet, but even within that more specific realm of colors, there can be items that just don’t work. So please, don’t be shy! Throw around ideas with your photographer. They have an eye for this sort of thing, and most photographers love to get a little glimpse into what their clients are considering. We only want to help, and for sessions to go as smoothly as possible. As I said before, I like to think of sessions as a collaboration where me and my clients are working together to create something unique and beautiful.
Eager to get some inspiration for your upcoming session? This blog post highlights some of my favorite dresses that offer versatility for any family session, including maternity. Looking to book a session similar to this Sauvie Island Motherhood Session? Fill out my contact form here!