As a photographer, I strive to provide my clients with an enjoyable, fun-filled, and professional experience from start to finish. I am always getting questions about what to wear and how to best prepare for a session. So I decided to compile my best tips and tricks in order to alleviate some of the stress involved with the planning process leading up to your session.  I hope that the information below will help you in deciding what to wear and what to bring to your session!As always, please do not hesitate to contact me for personalized planning. I am happy to brainstorm with you in order to achieve the exact look and feel you are hoping for.

Outfit Selection:


º I discourage the “matchy matchy” highly coordinated look for my portrait sessions and instead encourage each member of the shoot to display their unique personality and style through their outfit choices.   Do not be afraid to play with different colors and patterns. This will help to create more personalized photos that truly stand out. I recommend selecting clothing that creates a balance between patterns and solids. For example, each member of the family wearing a different pattern may be too distracting whereas mixing equal portions of unique patterns with basic solids will look fantastic. It is also important to stay within the same general color scheme.  When selecting colors, consider which hues most compliment your skin tone(s) first, and coordinate from there. Pinterest is an absolutely fantastic resource for this. Simply search for “Outfit ideas, family portraits” and you will find an endless assortment of options to draw inspiration from.


º Do not forget to keep your location in mind when making outfit selections. First pick your scene, and then choose your outfits. You want to be comfortable in your surroundings, so appropriate footwear is an absolute must! Stilettos, for example, will not work well for photographs in the middle of a potentially soggy field, or on a beach. In addition to this, do not forget about major colors that might be present at your location. For example, if your dream location features a bright red barn, avoid wearing bright pink, an identical red hue, or other colors that may clash with the surroundings.

IMG_0373º Remember that white is not the only neutral. Although white clothing may create a fabulous outfit for individual portraits, it is often not the best choice for a group photography wardrobe. Depending on the lighting and time of day, white clothing can create a harsh glare that does not translate well against other colors in an image and makes it hard to achieve a great cohesive look. Stark white also attracts the eye, and will make whatever (or in this case, whomever) is wearing it appear larger. To achieve that same chic neutral look consider alternatives such as black, tan, blush, light blues, nudes, navy, gray, or ivory.
º Have fun playing with layers and accessories to create visual interest! Wear your favorite statement jewelry, a fun embellished cardigan, boots over jeans, belts, scarves, hats, and any sort of texture that will add dimension to the photographs. Layers and accessories can instantly elevate a simple outfit from ordinary to extraordinary. The most important thing is to display your unique personality, and the right outfit will help ensure that “you” shines through in each image.

If your session will include children:

º Timing is extremely important! Even though outdoor lighting is generally best around sunrise or sunset, it will not do any good to schedule your session at that time if your child is generally unhappy during that time of day. I am happy to work around your schedule, and find the best location based on the time of day you need to ensure that children are well rested and ready to say “cheese!’ when we meet.
IMG_6060º Please do not feel limited in the selection of props that you choose to include in your session. Even if you are not doing a themed session, bringing favorite books, bubbles, loved stuffed animals, toys, wagons, kites, a football to play catch with, or anything else you think displays your families personality will add a fun element to your final pictures. Having these extra items on hand can also help to extend important shooting time if children are getting restless. A small break to blow bubbles, read a book or play a game goes a long way in keeping everyone refreshed and happy, and can also create some fantastic candid images.

º I strongly suggest bringing a small cooler to your session. Having drinks and some no-mess snacks on hand can be a real “shoot saver” when a quick break is needed. It also does not hurt to have a few special treats on hand for little bribes if needed! When selecting items for your cooler, please avoid drinks that will stain lips and clothes as well as very messy or runny snacks. Also, do not forget to include some wet wipes for easy clean up.


Hair and Makeup:
IMG_0433º If you are scheduling a full-length session, and planning several outfit changes, be sure to pack hairbrushes, hairspray, makeup for touchups, and a towel or wipes to freshen up with. This is especially important for toasty outdoor summer sessions!

º Makeup should be applied a bit heavier than you normally would for everyday wear. Brightening under-eye circles and using basic contouring techniques will make a huge difference in your final images. Always apply makeup in natural light, and remember that if you feel like you are wearing a bit too much, it is probably just right for photographs.

º I work with several local hair and makeup artists that do wonderful work, and I am happy to pass along some referrals if needed! This is a great area to splurge, and will be money well spent on your final results.


Final Stress-Relieving Tip:

Try to have as much packed and ready the day before your session as you possibly can. Having your outfits ironed, and accessories organized in the order they will be used will save a lot of valuable time on the big day. This especially applies to larger groups when we will be more pressed for time.  I also do not recommend bringing young children to the session while wearing their portrait outfits, as car seats can wrinkle outfits quickly, and accidents always happen at the most inconvenient times

I hope that today’s post helped inspire you for future portrait sessions! I know it can be so hard to decide what to wear, but with these tips, and a photographer that is happy to help when needed, you are well on your way to creating beautiful portraits to enjoy for years to come.  Be sure to follow Avenue D on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more helpful hints!

Talk soon,