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What To Wear For A Photoshoot Outdoors

You’ve got the photographer, chosen the location, booked the session but now what will you wear?

It is understandable that this may cause some feelings of stress as you are investing in family heirlooms, but it doesn’t have to be complex.

A quick internet search might leave you believing that black is good and white is bad regardless of context. But generalities like that can be very limiting.

The following tips will help dispel old rules and help you coordinate the most cohesive, timeless look for your outdoor family photoshoot. 

Don’t Match Head to Toe 

You know the photographs. Every family member in jeans and a black shirt.

It was designed as a simple formula but it can feel unnatural or contrived. Instead of a uniform, choose a color palette. To start, decide if you want warm-tones (brown, tan, beige, etc) or cool-tones (blues, grays, blacks, etc).

From there, you can branch out to decide on specific colors that will make a cohesive look without creating a family uniform. 

Create a Mood With Color 

Darker colors create a thoughtful, relaxed tone while brighter colors create a more playful mood.

Keep in mind your location as you choose your colors and mood. If you are shooting with a fun street mural, pick muted colors that won’t clash with the vivid backdrop.

If you are shooting in nature, it is best to pick colors that are present in nature. Pick one to two colors to focus on and mix in neutrals to put the look together. Make sure that your neutrals are in the same color family. 

Leave These at Home 

Avoid loud patterns and logos. These can distract the eye and take away from the overall photo.

Even if it is within your color palette, these things will not add to the photo but take away from it. Fluorescent colors, hot pink and bright coral should be avoided as well.

Keep accessories to a minimum. You want your faces to be the focus of the photo. 

Don’t Forget About Textures 

Often an overlooked topic, this can make or break the “put-together” look of your outfits.

If the family is in flannel but one person is in a flowy bohemian dress, the outfits don’t work together. Whether a warm vibe is chosen (flannel, knits, velvets) or a cooler vibe (cotton, linen, etc), make sure that everyone is wearing the same kind of textures. 

Don’t Fight for the Hair Bow 

You know your child better than anyone. Do they hate ties? Do they hate hair bows?

Will you be spending more time trying to keep that one thing part of the picture than enjoying your photography session?

Will your little one immediately run to play in the dirt as soon as their feet hit the ground, ruining those khaki pants?

Don’t put your child in an outfit you will have to fight for. Make things easy on yourself. Forget about the hair bows and ties if it will be a fight. Keep your little one in darker pants if you know they will be getting them dirty. You are creating memories as well as family heirlooms. 

Know Yourself 

If you never wear a full glamorous face of makeup, now might not be the best time to try it. You want your photos to fully reflect who you are as a family.

You know your comfort level best. While cosmetics can highlight the best parts of your features, it shouldn’t cause stress. Generally, neutral shades are best for photography as they won’t draw attention away from the other members of your family.

If you wear that red lip every day, by all means, wear it now. The point is to capture you and all of your family as  you are. 

Check the Fit 

Those pants that look great but have to be adjusted every two minutes aren’t the best choice for your photoshoot. Make sure you can move freely in what you have chosen to wear.

Test your outfits, shoes included, to make sure everyone can move around without having to constantly readjust. There’s nothing worse than discovering at the photoshoot that your kid is frustrated with shoes that are too big (or too small). 

Another good test of your outfit is to stand in front of a full-length mirror and pick up your child to your hip. If you find you need to readjust clothing over and over again, it may not be the right thing to wear. Choose something that fits well in all scenarios. 

Lay it All Out 

Lay all of the clothing to be worn on a bed. Shoes, socks, accessories, everything should be included. Take a look at the spread.

If your eye gravitates to one particular item, then know that it will do the same in a photo. This may be advantageous if you are wanting to highlight a family member, but in most cases you will want to avoid this to get the best photograph.

Dress For the Weather

Pinterest can be full of great ideas, but it may take you off course when choosing clothing for a photoshoot. Ideas for what to wear to a fall photoshoot may not be designed for your climate.

If you are having a photoshoot outside during cooler months, it is possible to create pleasing outfits by layering. Start from the bottom layer with long underwear, shirts, and vests.

You don’t have to be stuck wearing that puffy winter coat. In warmer weather, keep in mind that you will still want to keep skin exposure to a comfortable minimum to keep the focus on your face. Keep the textures to cotton and linens to keep everyone cool. 

Final Tips 

You want to make sure everyone is clean and tidy. Be sure that fingernails and hands are clean. It is a good idea to bring wet wipes for little ones to keep their faces clean on the go.

Make sure that everyone has had a good night’s rest the night before so little ones aren’t cranky and you feel your best on the day you capture these family treasures. 

Plan Your Perfect Family Portrait In 2020

Click below to download my 2020 Family Portrait guide to get started planning your perfect family photo experience.

Plan Your Perfect Family Portrait In 2020

Click below to download my 2020 Family Portrait guide to get started planning your perfect family photo experience.