One of the questions I get asked the most is “Can you help me figure out what to wear for my photos??” And the answer is YES! I love weighing in on styling questions because I know what looks amazing behind the camera and what looks only so-so. I will totally help you choose outfits for your spring and summer photos! Now, get excited because you’re about to be treated to some more vintage Viernes family photos and hoo, boy! these are not to be missed. As you’re mentally preparing yourself for the visual treat that is about to be displayed before your eyes, keep this forefront in your mind: prior to becoming a photographer, I was not well-versed in the importance of styling for a photo session and, for that reason, here is a parade of what NOT to do for family photos…You’re Welcome.
Let’s set aside the drastic color differences (different locations, different photographers, different styles, different lighting – lots of things that can’t be helped here) and focus on the white t-shirts and jeans, the black t-shirts and khakis, and the smorgasbord of vests (and the sideways hair from gale-force winds). Just….no. I think these things were the style at some point in time but that brings me back to the point of wanting images that are timeless and classic. You’re not getting timeless and classic from these pictures, are you???? These are NOT good examples of outfits for spring and summer photos.
Ok, moving on to Faith’s first birthday photos taken by my talented friend Jill Springer of Jill Christine Designs (http://jillchristinedesigns.com/blog/). This wasn’t AS bad because at least we weren’t all in khaki and white – mostly because I was a frazzled mother of 3 young kids at this point and they were lucky they were in actual clothing – but then again most of us were naked by the end so it’s almost like why bother? But, again, not my favorite outfits for spring and summer photos.
And, oh my goodness, we’re coming right along because, by the time we got around to these next photos, I had actually taken my own advice (see below), and planned some coordinating outfits!! I broke my rule about dressing mom first because I saw the shirt that Taryn is in and decided to match the rest of us around her outfit. Ok, look, people, this still isn’t Style 101 let’s be honest but if you knew me at that point (ok, me at ANY point as I’m not ever going to be personally featured on the cover of Chadwicks of Boston) you’d be applauding my effort. These photos were also done by Jill.
So…those were better than what I showed you in the first photos (I mean, right??) – but there’s still better options when choosing outfits for spring and summer photos. And, hey, no disrespect to our various photographers (they shot beautiful images) – all of what is wrong with our pictures came down to the choices we made in our wardrobe selection. If I can help my clients avoid that particular pitfall, I promise the results will be frame-worthy images that you will want to display for years to come! So, here’s where I stop making fun of myself and actually get down to the point of this blog post (the walk down memory lane was a little bit fun, though, right??).
When it comes to dressing for photos, I always suggest that mom (or the leading lady, if it’s an engagement session) choose her outfit first. Once mom has her outfit picked out, it’s much easier to coordinate everyone else’s clothing options around her. Notice I said coordinate, not match. No one should look exactly the same – it’s my goal to make sure that each family member has his or her own individual style while still looking cohesive as a unit. As an example, for one of our family photo sessions (the one where I used Taryn’s shirt as the base to coordinate everyone else around), I needed some outfit inspiration so I headed to Kohls to get some ideas. Once I was there, I started by looking at the big picture: what colors popped out at me the most? These were the ones that I could see around me as I walked the store. I found that what was prominent, color-wise, in the Women’s section also could be found in Men’s and Children which made it a lot easier to coordinate the styles that appealed to me. Because of some simple reconnaissance, it was so much easier for me to choose a look and know that I could go to the other sections and find coordinating pieces that would be great for our photos. (Thank you, Kohls, for making it way easy to find outfits for spring and summer photos.)
Color choice is really important. My biggest piece of advice is to go neutral whenever possible. Styles and trends come and go but light neutrals will always be a classic, timeless choice. That said (and this is ironic), try to stay away from pure white – my style is light, bright and airy and usually that means that pure white (with no other color to break it up) can get blown out and lose all detail = no bueno. Your safest bet is to stick with cream, light blue, light gray, light pink – you get the point. If it’s light and neutral, you’re on the right track. If you really feel led to wear white, try to pick a fabric that has some sort of texture (like lace) so help break up the pure white and then it will totally work (I had a momma do a white lace dress in studio recently for her baby’s newborn photos and choirs of angels were singing, it was that beautiful…so it can be done!). If you want to put someone in a pattern, only have ONE person in the pattern and have every other family member in a coordinating, solid light color. Lots of times guys will want to wear a darker color on top (because masculine) and I try to discourage that as much as possible because the darker colors really fight against my light and airy style. Your man can look totally masculine in a light blue or gray or cream – I PROMISE! – and, chances are, if you’ve hired me, it’s because you love the look of the images I produce so let’s work together to achieve that for your photos!
When you hear me ask in our pre-session consultation phone call “have you thought about what you’d like to wear?”, one of my main reasons for inquiring is to find out whether you’re planning to go casual with jeans and tops (which is fine and what a lot of people do) OR if you’re planning to jazz things up and go with a dressier style (insert photographer heart eyes here). For those instances when the goal is to go dressier, I have you covered with a list of spring styles for the ladies that would look GORGEOUS in photos and set the tone for your family or couple’s session 😍 I love these dresses because they have a lot of sway and movement – your photos are instantly glammed up and there’s lots of visual interest with the styles/colors/fabric. I personally have my eye on one of these as a cute, everyday summer dress.
(Click each image for information on where to purchase. And, not included in these images, but www.pinkblushmaternity.com is great for expectant momma selections.)
And, to close out this post with with a hint of credibility after the debacle I displayed above, here’s a shot from our most recent family photos last spring by my friend Melissa of Photography by Melissa Green. No jeans anywhere!!
And here’s one from last year’s mommy and me cherry blossom session done by my good friend, Christina, of C. Tundo Photography. I love everything she does and these photos are in frames on my bedroom wall – that’s how much I love them. The dress I’m wearing came from Amazon and my girls dresses are from Abby Apples Boutique.
Liz Viernes Photography is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.