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What Should I Wear??

What should we wear to our upcoming session? 

This is a question that I hear from just about every client.  It is a great question!  Most people don't have portrait sessions that often so when they do decide to have their portraits taken, they want to look their very best.  After all, the portraits from their session will be displayed and shared until they decide to have portraits taken again.  That could be a year or that could be several years. Either way, you want them to look nice.

I recently found an article that provided several tips for choosing the perfect outfits for your portrait session:

1.  Coordinate; don't match.  For some reason, even I'm guilty of this, everyone in the session feels the need to match and wear the same colored shirt with the same colored jeans.  However, portraits tend to be much more interesting when everyone's colors coordinate rather than match.   Shopping for clothes for your portrait session can be simplified by shopping for collections, which tend to consist of coordinating colors. 

One of my favorite "go to guides" when trying to decide what to wear for an upcoming session.  Originally found on therealisticmama.com.

One of my favorite "go to guides" when trying to decide what to wear for an upcoming session.  Originally found on therealisticmama.com.

2.  Choose colors that will coordinate with your home's décor.  The portraits from your session will be displayed on the walls of your home.  Those colors should "go with" the décor in your home.

3.  Accessorize!  Use various accessories to add texture to your portraits.  Scarves, hats, necklaces, bracelets, etc - all those extra accessories can help add some flare to your portraits.  You never know, they could also come in handy for some of the shots!  Perhaps a child could hide behind a hat or mom could pull on dad's tie.  Accessories are a fun way to add a bit more originality into your portraits.

The Harrison Family is coordinating, not matching.  Mom has a nice colored scarf as an accessory, which adds texture and interest to the portrait, as well as provides a feeling of warmth.

The Harrison Family is coordinating, not matching.  Mom has a nice colored scarf as an accessory, which adds texture and interest to the portrait, as well as provides a feeling of warmth.

4.  Watch out for patterns.  This does NOT mean completely avoid patterns.  It just means that certain patterns clash with other patterns.  Certain patterns are unflattering.  Patterns have the ability to pull all the color schemes together, however they can also be distracting if they are not used carefully.

Every member of the Breton Family is wearing clothes with a pattern.  Notice how the patterns all consist of the same coordinating colors and all the guys' shirts have a subtle pattern to help showcase mom's pattern.  This is an example of patterns working well together.

Every member of the Breton Family is wearing clothes with a pattern.  Notice how the patterns all consist of the same coordinating colors and all the guys' shirts have a subtle pattern to help showcase mom's pattern.  This is an example of patterns working well together.

5.  Plan ahead.  If you're family is anything like mine, when you book a portrait session you start thinking about clothing choices and try to work with what your family already has in their closets.  Consider the following scenarios.  You might think Suzie's dress will fit because the tag says it is a size 10, but on the day of the session Suzie is unable to zip up the dress.  It is just way too small.  Tommy's shirt coordinated with Suzie's dress, but Tommy decided to wear that shirt when he went to the movies with his friends last weekend and it never made it to the washing machine.  Now what?  What will Suzie and Tommy wear?  What will the entire family wear?  The session is in a few hours and there's no time to go shopping!  Plan ahead!  Check to make sure all clothes are clean and fit nicely soon after booking your session so you have time to find other options if you need to do so.

6.  Characters are cute...just not in portraits.  Jimmy LOVES Buzz Light Year!  His Buzz shirt is his absolute favorite!  While it is cute and shows his personality, do you really want Buzz Light Year staring at you every time you look at your portraits?  Just like patterns, characters can be distracting in a portrait.

7.  Consider your background.  When choosing coordinating colors for your portrait session, consider the background at the location.  If it is a very green area and full of trees and shrubs, dark greens are probably not the best choice since dark green will blend into the background.  You don't want to blend in with the background.  You need to stand out from the background.

8.  Timeless.  These portraits will be displayed on your walls for years to come and even when they are replaced, they will be stored for others to see in the future as a keepsake.  Make simple, yet classic, clothing choices that will give your portraits a timeless feel. 

You can read more about these tips at Click it Up a Notch by Courney Slazinik.  This article even has inspiration boards for each month with examples of what to wear for your upcoming portrait session.