Dressing For Your Family Portraits- Part 2

August 13, 2013  •  1 Comment

In my last blog post, I gave a few tips for picking out outfits for your family session based on the colors found in nature throughout the seasons.  I discussed choosing good textures and prints that will flatter you instead of add distraction.  If you'd like to read Part 1, click here.  

In part 2, I'd like to give just a few tips that many people don't even realize can make a difference in a portrait.

1.  Sunglasses.  Here in the hot sun of Raleigh, NC, sunglasses are a must have.  Since I do almost all family sessions outdoors, it seems natural to show up in your sunglasses.  Sometimes your sunglasses feel like part of your body and you forget that you are even wearing them.  I'm not saying that it's bad to wear sunglasses during your session (deciding whether to include them is totally up to you), I just would like you to be aware that you are wearing them in the pictures.  When someone shows up in sunglasses, I usually remind them that they are wearing them and ask if they'd like them on or off for pictures.  I know that for me, my eyes aren't comfortable without sunglasses in bright sun, so i often forget to take them off.  Since the face is the first thing that people look at when they look at a photo, you may regret accidentally wearing your sunglasses during your session.

2.  Empty your pockets.  I don't mean that you should visit Crabtree Valley Mall before your session and go for a shopping spree.  I mean, quite literally, make sure that there is as little in your pockets as possible.  Pockets that are full can make your pants look bulky.

3.  Don't be an advertisement.  When looking at a photo, our eyes are drawn to faces, but also words.  Avoid any clothing that has logos, phrases, or licensed cartoons on them.  Not only are these distracting, but they seriously date your photographs.  You don't want to look at your portraits in 10 or 15 years and laugh, saying "Oh yeah, remember when ____ was popular?"  Keep your portraits timeless and beautiful, and you'll enjoy them much longer.  

3.  Accessorize.  Jewelry, scarves, hair clips, hats, belts, and watches can all add interest to your portraits.  Accessories are a great way to add a pop of color that won't take over the photos.  Have fun with accessories, but don't allow them to take over.  Choose one or two accessories that you love.  

4.  Hair cuts.  It's great to get a trim before your session, but I don't recommend going on the way to the session.  New haircuts need a bit of time before they look their best.  If you'd like to get a haircut, have it done at least a week or two before the session.  While we're on the topic of hair, you may not want to wash your hair right before the session either.  Instead, wash your hair early that morning, or the day before.  Your hair will sit nicer when it's not freshly washed.  

5.  Be comfortable.  It's nice to wear fitting clothing, but don't wear skinny jeans that are so tight that you can't bend or sit comfortably.  Comfort is especially important for children.  If they are uncomfortable, they will let us know about it, often by not cooperating during the session.

To summarize, these portraits are of you and for you.  If you want to break the rules, that is your right!  It is important that you express yourself in your family portraits.  These are simply some suggestions that can enhance most portraits.  


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