I think the question I get asked the most is: “what should I wear?”
While what you wear is entirely up to you, us photographers appreciate attention to detail. While we control the background, surroundings and lighting, you control the subject matter. Some families, for example, want to match everyone together. Brides also ask me what colors look best for their bridesmaids, or if they should wear different dresses. Let me start out by saying, it is your special day, and everything I suggest here is my opinion…with 6 years of experience to back it up.
Families: while everyone loves the white shirts and jeans, in my opinion, it’s not a “flattering” look, and it has come-and-gone. I personally love neutral soft colors, but having a pop of color is also a nice touch. For example, a casual family shoot in the woods might consist of everyone in jeans, tall boots or black/brown shoes and black, green, brown (or your favorite subtle colored shirt) with mom having a bright scarf. I love it when an aspect of the photo stands out. And, it might be nice to be an item (like a scarf) that can be removed so we have some photos with it and some without. Why the pop of color? I love to edit with contrast (darken the blacks and whiten the whites), so an object of color is lovely!
With every shoot, the most important thing to remember is: be comfortable. Choose something you like. If you don’t like it, your faces will convey it and then you will not like your photos. Be yourself. If you want to wear hot-pink, do it. But, try not to mix too many patterns. The best clothes don’t distract, but rather enhance you. In other words, don’t have dad wear his plaid, mom wear her favorite brand logo printed across her shirt and the kids in tutu’s…unless that makes you happy.
Here’s Sonja’s top 5 tips for clothing:
1) Pick a theme – your theme doesn’t need to be a costume, unless you want it to be? I love it when families dress up in their favorite sport’s jerseys (like our awesome Seattle Seahawks for example). But, a theme can also be: everyone in jeans and your favorite solid shirt. Or, everyone in their Christmas red-and-black plaid shirts. Another theme can be cowboy hats, or matching scarfs or even something as simple as khaki shorts.
2) Solids – I cannot express how much better photos turn out when you’re wearing something solid. But, if you’re going to wear a pattern, make it subtle. When you decide to invest in family portraits, your photos last forever. When you wear your favorite “fad” and it goes out of style (just take a look at photos from the 80’s/90’s if you don’t believe me), you often cringe when you look back at the photos. Hair styles aside (hey, we cannot help it), I just want to produce the most authentic and beautiful and real photos as possible. The best way for me to do this is for the focus to be on you, and not your clothes. The focal point should be the faces, and smiles – not the awkward clothes. And if you doubt your clothes, go with what you like best, your initial instinct is almost always right.
3) Decide if you want everyone to match – Do you want to wear the same outfit as your kids? Do you want the kids in the same clothes but mom and dad in a different theme? Do you want one person to stand out above the rest? This is a decision you have to make.
4) Check out Pinterest – I highly encourage everyone to check out Pinterest or you can link into my personal Pinterest page, and get ideas from there. Make a board and share it with me – that will help me create your vision. I’m not going to memorize all of the photos and copy them – Pinterest will just help me know what you’re looking for, I’m going to create original photos for you!
5) Make it an outfit you love – Above all else, don’t wear clothes you don’t like. If you didn’t like it before the shoot, you will not like it after the shoot. After all, you’re going to be the one looking at these photos for many years to come. I believe if you follow my tips, you will be happier with your photos!
Sit back and relax, you’ve got this!