What to wear for a photo session

Deciding what to wear in family photos can be challenging but you shouldn’t stress out over it. (Suddenly I’m reliving all the pressure I felt as a kid picking out the perfect outfit for the dreaded school pictures!) Here are some tips to help you prepare for your photo session.


Neutral colors blend beautifully with the natural setting of sand and surf

  • Your choices should compliment the natural setting where we are shooting but most importantly, choose clothing that is comfortable and authentic to you and your family.
  • Select 1-3 colors for your group session, similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that color palette. Keep in mind that your eye will go immediately to the lightest thing in the image (asuming your 5 year old didn’t decide to make his favorite “silly face” right when the shutter is pressed. Then that will definately draw your attention first!). So, if someone is wearing white, then everyone should. You don’t all need to match exactly, just stay in a similar color scheme. Use different textures and materials to give uniqueness to each outfit. Whites, tans, khakis, jeans, and pastels are my favs.


    Terrific combination of similar colors but variation in pattern and texture make it all work together

  • Did someone say pink? Bold colors like pink, teal, lime green, yellow and tangerine or July colors of red, white and blue make a great statement in family photos. Bold colors scream summer fun, sunshine and fireworks. Still, it’s best to avoid neons.


    This is how bright pops of color really work! White paired with these vibrant patterns and bold colors in the dresses (and the bows…I LOVE the bows!) really captured this family’s energy

  • Solid colored clothing or small patterns usually work best but by all means, avoid logos or cartoon characters. Yes, your little one may love their Toy Story shirt but you may want to skip it for the family photo session. Just like patterns, characters and logos on shirts can be really distracting.
  • Bring a prop or two. On the beach, beach balls, buckets, bubbles—all help keep kids active and the photos will look more natural than the canned “CHEESE” smile they learn early on.
  • For adults, my personal preference is tops with sleeves because your arms show more skin than your face and will draw attention. Consider long pants for men/ladies or a skirt at least to the knee for ladies. Just be sure you will be able to sit and bend without showing too much (um…) skin.
  • That said, if you want to keep this more casual and just let your families’ personalities shine, well then go for it!  Shorts, T-shirts, kids in superhero costumes…It’s your session so let’s be sure you enjoy it!
  • Wear clothes that hide tan lines and try to avoid getting sunburned before your photo session. Those lobster-red faces are hard to fix even in photoshop!
  • Expect Wind! Keep in mind that WIND is a constant near the beach. Expect your clothes and hair to blow. By all means, avoid ruffles or large collars that will fly up and cover your face in the wind. Also, give some thought to wind-friendly hair styling.
  • Apply any lotion early so that it is absorbed into skin, and sand doesn’t stick to it.
  • If you wear nail polish, be sure it’s fresh and use colors you do not mind being seen in pictures.
  • Feed the kids beforehand so no one is starving five minutes into our session and bring water and simple snacks to keep everyone satisfied until it is over.
  • Keep in mind that the best time to shoot on the beach is about 30mins before sunset. Otherwise shadows are strong and everyone is squinting. If there is a gazebo or structure with some shade, even a stand of trees, we can start earlier. Sometimes even an overcast day is the perfect light.

    Don’t be afraid to let loose and have fun!

    Just remember to have fun and let your personalties shine! That’s when the magic really happens in front of the camera!

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