You've booked your photo shoot, you reminded your husband, you've planned snacks for the kids, timed nap times accordingly... and left the wardrobe selections for another day. What do you do now?!?!
Here's the thing. Wardrobe is the NUMBER ONE thing you can do in-advance that will absolutely make your life easier in the days leading up to your photo session. But if you're stuck on "what to wear" or need some definite "no-no's" to tuck away as you make your selections, here's a few helpful hints to consider.
First, what's your family's style? Are you pretty traditional? Casual? Are you all happiest in jeans? Really consider what your style is. This will help set the tone for your photo session AND for what you'll wear. Sometimes, I'll pick my outfit first and build off of that. If I know I absolutely must wear my super cute denim skirt, then I'll pick a complimentary top with some colors I know my daughter can match. Go from there until you're absolutely satisfied the family will be a good blend of amazing-ness.
Second, avoid fluorescent or SUPER bright colors. They're harsh. It's hard not to make them harsh even as your photographer. Bright colors as an accent piece are never bad, but avoid them for an overall outfit. Stick with foundation colors like yellows, reds, and blues. Even natural neutral tones are a perfect go-to when picking out your family's clothing. Natural colors are perfect for those soft, glowy golden-hour pictures. But NEVER wear fluorescents... just, no.
Next, if you've picked an awesome location that has a lot of green... avoid wearing that color. It won't help if you disappear into the background like the weatherman who wore the wrong color shirt. Instead, enjoy the contrast that the green will offer when you wear blues, yellows, or reds. Absolutely stunning!
Shoes... Lord, have mercy, SHOES! Ladies, I love shoes... I've got a killer pair of red heels I bought on clearance that are absolutely GORGEOUS. But seriously... don't kill yourself over shoes. Please, wear what you're comfortable in! If we have to walk around a park to make the most of the sunlight or backgrounds available to us, I would HATE to have you think about your blisters the whole way home instead of how much you enjoyed your photo session. Wear what you will be COMFORTABLE in... and what you can chase after your littles in, too!
I always agreed with Miss Clairee from Steele Magnolias, when she said, "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize." And accessories are the icing on the cake of your wardrobe... don't overlook an amazing opportunity! It's also called "layering", but whether you're wearing a sweater or vest, a gorgeous chunky necklace, or an absolutely fabulous scarf or belt make sure you accessorize your outfits! Little boys with bow ties or little girls with hair bows absolutely make a picture POP! Definitely, accessorize!
I have two boys... I know what it is to have children - SUDDENLY - outgrow their clothing. Don't wait, check their clothes NOW. Did the baby outgrow that denim jacket you adore? Did your husband wear a hole in those jeans you love? Did you son decide to spill grape juice down the front of his only nice shirt? Believe me, I've been there... don't panic the day of... take care of business now. Don't buy a size up or try to fit them in something too big. Kids aren't good about tucking in their shirts or holding themselves a certain way to make a dress look less loose. I've been that mom... it never works to fight it. It's just better in the long-run to buy them an outfit that is perfectly fit to them if you want an amazing picture.
There was a time when everyone used to wear the same outfit... and it looked like a run on white shirts and jeans had happened at your local Penney's. Fortunately, that's out... so what do you do now? COORDINATE. Harkening back to my earlier comment about style, once you've decided what you will wear (or whoever's outfit is most important to you) build off of that. Which colors are you drawn to from the clothing? Are there pieces that would really stand out next to that outfit? Lay your foundation with your first outfit and build everyone else's outfit off the first. I hate to say this... but Pinterest has some great ideas on coordinating. If you run out of ideas, check it out.
Finally, dress for the weather (and the situation). We can't plan for every eventuality... But we can sure try! If it's cold outside, make sure everyone's dressed with enough layers that they won't start complaining about the temperature. If it's hot, make sure you're wearing light and airy clothing that will make the heat more bearable. If your kids aren't comfortable, it will be reflected in the images. And NOBODY wants that!
I hope this helps and gives you some things to think about as you prepare for your photo session. Don't overthink what I've written... ultimately, the goal is to be yourself. Come in what makes your family YOU! If it isn't your style, don't do it! If it's going to be a struggle to get the kids to cooperate if they're wearing the suit and tie... try a different route. As I've looked back on my own family's photography, I noticed we had seasons for our wardrobe. When the kids were itty bitty, we kept things more casual because I never knew when I'd need to make a quick diaper change. As they grew, I started testing the waters with accessories. Now, I tell them and they (usually) obey. But I know my kids are getting to that point where they have their own style and I want to include that, so... it's never easy... it's always a struggle... but in the end, you have great photos to look back on when that season has long since passed along.
See you through the view finder!