Sisters sitting on a blanket in a grassy field, the toddler is squishing the baby's cheeks.

What to Wear for a Photo Session in Maryland: Tips to Help You Feel Your Best

Family of four posing together in a park. Backlit by the sun.

The most challenging task before your session can be deciding what to wear for a photo session! While it’s great that we have so many search methods available to us to get inspired; it can also be so overwhelming! How is it possible to find outfits for everyone; clothing that they feel confident in AND coordinates best to highlight you and your family. I’m here with this short guide to help take the stress out of the process, and let you know what kinds of outfits work the best for photos! Ready? Let’s do it!

Collage of mom holding toddler and baby in a park.

Where to Start? With Mom!

Since my aim for my sessions is to celebrate mom, I suggest starting by planning your outfit, first. Whether by treating yourself to a new outfit, or pulling from your own current wardrobe; find your favorite piece of clothing. (I’m also happy to help you plan with a possible choice from my modest client closet). I do recommend wearing a dress as it allows for lots of movement in your photos. Then, choose a color which will help draw the focus to you. I suggest either light neutral or a jewel tone.

Color palette with ideal colors to wear for family photo session.

Once you choose your outfit, utilize a color palette to start selecting the remainder of your family’s outfits. (I love Canva’s website). Incorporating colors from the palette as a guide, continue filling in wardrobe pieces. Once you see what you already have available, you can then look for pieces to add to fill in the gaps.

Don’t stress about trying to “match”, think of coordinating instead. (This is why having a color palette in mind helps.) If one of your family member’s outfits incorporates a pattern, look for solid colors to complement that go well together. Avoid solid white (wear cream or tan instead) & solid black (wear brown, olive, or charcoal instead). Avoid neons, & bold, bright reds (wear muted alternatives like rust, mustard, burgundy). Avoid small, tight patterns (like narrow stripes); and logo shirts as these tend to not photograph well/are challenging to edit.

Dad holds toddler daughter while planting a kiss on her cheek.

What to Wear for a Photo Session? Comfort is KEY!

Your session should be enjoyable for everyone involved. If your clothing is uncomfortable to wear, it won’t be nearly as fun. If you’re planning outfits outside of what you’re used to, especially your kiddos, I suggest “breaking them in” in advance to get used to the feeling of wearing those clothes. Also consider things like; if you have an active 4 year old, for example, that loves to run, jump, and climb. You don’t want to be spending a bunch of your time tucking in or adjusting. The simpler the outfit pieces for your kiddos, the better for everyone’s enjoyment at the session.

Same goes for dads/partners who tend to more vigorously play with their kids. Simple pieces that fit well. You can’t go wrong with a sweater or casual button down shirt; plus classic denim or twill chinos. I’m also a big fan of linen pieces as they provide nice texture and movement as well.

Collage of three images of toddler and baby sisters sitting on a blanket in a field. Playing and enjoying each other's company.

How to elevate your outfits? It’s about the layers!

Incorporating textures into your outfit creates depth and dimension within a 2D portrait, and layers can help keep you warm if the weather turns cool. Choose neutral pieces to layer with as not to draw attention away from your main outfit, just enhance it. Some ideas include open-knit cardigans, a lightweight jacket, and scarves/wraps.

Additionally, an often overlooked outfit piece is what you have on your feet! We want to highlight a great family moment with playful movement and laughing faces, not draw the eyes away because of worn out, or bright character shoes. But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and spend a fortune on all new shoes for the family. Especially, when you consider that we will be stomping around in outdoor locations that may have sand or mud. Check out clearance sections or thrift stores if you need to find something that’s new to you.

Collage of images of mom and dad with kids at a family photo session.

Details create the big picture…

Family photos is a SPECIAL occasion and you should celebrate it as such. If you get your hair and makeup done for special occasions, take this opportunity to pamper yourself. If you don’t typically wear makeup, consider a little tinted moisturizer and mascara to even out your skin tone and make your eyes pop. Trim and polish your nails. Those details do matter.

Wear accessories that make you feel pretty- hats, belts, earrings, headbands/scarves.

For kids- flower crowns, tall socks, small non distracting bows, beanies and suspenders for boys. If your child uses a pacifier you can find a neutral one here that will coordinate – FRIGG.

Portrait of family of four. Smiling in a golden, grassy field.

TL;DR…HELPING YOU DECIDE WHAT TO WEAR FOR A PHOTO SESSION:

Start with One: Find an outfit that you love. Using it as a starting point, find a color palette to guide you as you choose outfits for everyone else! (You can’t go wrong with choosing a palette with neutrals or jewel tones).

Comfort is Key: Most outdoor sessions, especially sessions with the whole family, involve lots of movement! Wearing clothes that you can move well in and that feel comfortable on will definitely contribute to everyone’s enjoyment at the session.

Finishing Touches: Once you have selected everyone’s basic outfit, you can think about adding some finishing touches by layering with a sweater or wrap, especially for kiddos who might get cold during evening sessions. At the very least, double check everyone has something to wear on their feet that fits well with the terrain, and doesn’t grab attention away from your outfits.

Most Importantly: KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. With all the information and choices available to you on how to style a photo session, it’s easy to spiral and get overwhelmed. Stick to the basics, and reach out to me for validation during the process. I am happy to help!

So, now that you have a better understanding of what to wear for a photo session you may still be wondering why it’s important to consider all these tips while you’re planning for your session? The reason I make these suggestions is so that in your final photos your attention is drawn to you, your family, and your love for each other, and actually, not your clothing. I want to gently remind you that these suggestions aren’t designed to make this process harder for you, but to help elevate your final images; so you can enjoy them for years to come.

Feeling unsure about what to wear for a photo session? Let me help!

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