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Picking your wardrobe - spring pictures

So much goes into planning outfits for the whole family! Your wardrobe makes the session.

You know those pictures that your friends have and you LOVE them? Everything in the picture just flows perfectly? That's because they have stylized their session. Putting in time, thought, and budgeting for the wardrobe, is just as important as scheduling the session for the perfect time and location. I have so many families that come to me, looking for that one family picture to hang on the wall, but their outfits don't mesh together. Those clients are always disappointed, and unfortunately, there's nothing I can do to improve their family picture - because of the wardrobe options.

There are a few factors I take into consideration when looking for outfits- color scheme, weather, and home design.

I start with the color scheme. I base my color scheme on the season. Spring - I go lighter/pastels to match the airy light feel of spring. Fall - I go darker and rich to match the cooler weather, heavier feel of fall.

What is the weather like? Are layers needed to stay warmer or less layers to stay cooler? Trust me when I say you do not want to over or under dressed. Cold or hot kids WILL ruin a session. No one wants to look and smile when they are miserable! You are better off having a kid in a warm jacket than a miserable kid in a cute too thin outfit.

What will look good with my home design? Something a lot of people don't take into consideration but is important! Is your house full of blues, grays, and neutrals? Then you don't want to hang pictures with everyone wearing reds and blacks! You want to keep with the theme of your house so the portraits seamlessly blend in and you can feel confident hanging them anywhere in the house.

My house is neutrally colorful. I have light blues, whites, and creams in my living room with a splash of butter yellow. My dining room is white and yellow accents, with a walnut finish on the furniture. Our master bedroom is blues, gold, and silver (so really blue, grey, and yellows- are you noticing a theme?). All of my rooms share the same theme of colors... neutral, white, blues, and yellow. The picture above would be a great pallet to describe my whole house. These are the rooms I would hang a family portrait in, so I make sure that the outfits I pick will also compliment these rooms.


Designing your families outfits is easier then you think! Personally I aim to order all 4 of my kids outfits from one clothing provider- this ensures colors will match.

Do you have a large age range? Look for somewhere like Target or JCPenny. Be sure to buy everything at the same time. Lay out all the outfits on a rack and make sure they go together. Pick out 3 or 4 colors and aim for each person to at least have 2 or 3 of the colors in each outfit.

Have all younger kids? You can swap between places like Old Navy and Gap or Carters and Oshgosh on their respective websites because they are linked. Just look at the top of the screen and toggle between. Their carts are connected making it even easier to see everything! I always add whatever I like into the cart and then dwindle it down for the final decision. What about Mom and Dad? I always start with what I (mom) want to wear because moms seem to have the hardest time finding our outfits. Then I design the family around what I've selected to wear.

here are the Spring 2017 'in' Colors

Whats in for 2017 spring?

Floral dresses for mom. Chino pants for dad. Suspenders for the little guy. And flows dresses for the little ladies. Don't forget the nice clean shoes! {images from pinterest}


I'm currently designing a family wardrobe for a DC Sunrise session. Mom would like dad to wear his Army dress blues- so I actually started with his outfit as the base. Mom also knew that she wants to use blush pink and creams. Here are two sets that I came up with for them. {outfits gathered from Amazon for mom; Carters, Oshgosh, Gap, and Old Navy for the kids}

Option 1: Using navy in the girls outfits

Option 2: Dad standing out in his uniform

The suit jacket for the little guy would be optional. It would tie in the formal look with dad's uniform and mom's gown, but it's not necessary, especially since his little pants have the built in suspenders!


what NOT to wear!

Brightness and blending in- clothes that are skin toned, all white, and bright colors that glow {i.e.: fluorescents} are a few examples of what not to pick because they are too bright or you'll blend in.

Clothing that doesn't fit properly; whether it's too small or too big. Especially too big for little ones. I know I'm guilty of this common mistake - buy the next size so they grown into it.... but they will SWIM in it for your pictures and it won't look great. To remain budget friendly if your child is between sizes or seasons consider borrowing from friends.

Heavy patterns should be avoided. Don't mix a lot of patterns. Pick ONE person to wear the patterned outfit, and select colors off of that outfit to dress everyone else.

Stripes can be tricky! Sometimes a camera doesn't read 'between the lines' and creates a crazy, wavy look. Something I was told was width (horizontal) stripes make you look wider. Tall stripes (vertical) lengthen you. Mixing stripes with other patterns can be too much, especially for the camera.

Sample picture of my kids - I went with an orange, teal, cream, and grey theme... One kid is wearing a dress way too big, one too small, one too bright, and the other too busy. All together, a LOT going on in one picture (although it is a super cute picture of them!)

things to consider for other sessions

For my newborns, when clients ask "what should we wear?" Kate and I always reply with neutral and solid colors. Why? Because no matter the picture, it would provide a timeless look and flow nicely with color or black and white. It also doesn't distract from the newborn (another post for another day!).

99% of the time, family with newborn sessions are done in my home studio. Studio space is very limited. Sticking to a top that will flow nicely with one of my neutral backdrops is best. I always ask "How is your house decorated?" before we pick out ANYTHING for the session.

If you wonder which will look better - just shoot a picture over and as an unbiased opinion (yay -or- nay) is easy for us to say. Kate and I love helping people pick the perfect outfit for their sessions- and something I don't charge extra for! Sometimes husbands lie and say things look great... but they just don't want to be rude. Trust other people for their opinions. Take a picture of you/your family in each outfit idea and post it on social media to ask your friends and family their opinions. Not only will you look great for your session, but now everyone will be looking forward to seeing your new family picture!

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