Natural Madison Family Photography by Gina Bower » Natural, Genuine, Warm, Playful

Dressing the family Beyond the 1st Year

If you feel good about what you are wearing, no need to read on! If you’re feeling stressed or just looking for inspiration read on for some considerations…​ 

Be your natural selves:​

Since you chose a more ​natural and laid-back lifestyle session, taking a more relaxed approach to outfits will compliment the feel of your images. Going with clothing options that you like, feeling comfortable in what you’re wearing and simply being yourself are the most important factors in selecting outfits for your family photography session. These photos are about where your family is at right now so when in doubt, look in your closet and pick your go-to outfit. It will naturally represent you and your family and will be reflective of outfits you wear at this stage. When you wear something that makes you feel happy and comfortable, it shows thru in pictures (for adults and children!).

Let your kids’ personalities shine:

If you’d like for the kids to fully express themselves, everything is fair game. Bold works well and children tend to pull it off effortlessly. However, avoid neons, character shirts or outfits with lots of text or name brands. If your little one always wears the same rain boots, then it only makes sense she wear those boots for the pictures too.​ If he always has his favorite toy with him, bring that along for companionship and because it’s probably already a part of the family.

Be guided by the season and location:

Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons naturally have different color palettes​ that may inspire your clothing choices. They also bring some practicality so be sure to always dress appropriately for the weather and in a way that makes sense for where we are. Layers typically photograph well, which is convenient because it’s often necessitated in Wisconsin. Different fabric textures like denim, corduroy, lace, etc. add some nice visual variety. During the fall, the warm tones of the changing leaf colors and boots work well. If it’s winter, choose clothes that keep you bundled up and warm including hats and scarves. For a summer day at the beach, go barefoot with light weight dresses and rolled up pants. For spring, be inspired by the freshness and blooming flowers. ​No matter what the season is, make sure your children’s movement isn’t inhibited in any of the clothing they wear.

Envision your home: 

Reflect on where you want the pictures from the session to hang in your home. Think about your style, colors and decor of your home to get inspiration for your outfits. For instance, if you know you want a photograph to hang in the family room that is rich with reds and browns, use that for some outfit inspiration. Lean more towards classic fashions rather than passing “fad-like” trends that your will grow tired of, for the sake of your home and your pictures (unless you know you won’t get sick of it!).

Consider coordination: 

The “pulled together” look of coordination is NOT the same as the “matchy-matchy” outfit approach (that many of us have in our old family photos). Coordinating is definitely not necessary, but it’s a popular option to get that cohesive look while allowing each person gets to show some personality and description. One method that typically works well is to pick 2-3 colors (and a small accent color if you’re up for it!). Then, approach one outfit at a time to build your family’s look. Women’s and girl’s clothing typically have more patterns and prints so that can be a convenient starting place and color guide to begin. For instance, if mom’s striped shirt has a few colors, pick the pants and other layers that would look good together, then move on to the next family member by selecting a color from mom’s patterned shirt.To get more variety, add layers to outfits (even if it’s a little undershirt) and mix in varying patterns (small and subtle patterns look best). If you want to include one large bold pattern, incorporate more solid colors to tone it down and bring the balance back in. Adding different fabric textures can make the same solid colors more interesting as well. When you’re done, don’t forget to check out the whole look together. I’m happy to consult with you if you’re looking for advice. Don’t stress and keep things in perspective because the most important part of your family session is your family together!

Incorporate other custom touches:

Family sessions are about the love, laughter and playfulness that you all share so that will be the emphasis no matter what. As you’re getting ready for the session, think about things that might be a fun bonus that your kids love– for instance: capes, tutus, their favorite toy, quirky accessories, bubbles or some other interactive game. Maybe it’s something the parents love– for instance, a family quilt or blanket, a certain type of flower, or even a concept like a picnic. If there’s anything at all you’re considering, bring it along or let’s chat about it.

Other notes:

Pinterest is a helpful tool but don’t let it overwhelm you. I appreciate how this midwest photographer frames her styling tips for clients (and photographers).