What to Wear for Your Family, Maternity, or Couples Photo Session

Updated: Jan 17

What you wear for your photo session has a huge impact on how your images will look, so it's really important to consider. Taking some time to coordinate outfits will ensure that your images will be timeless and beautiful, with a pleasing color palette. Follow the simple tips below to make sure you look your very best!


Colors

You want to coordinate and compliment one another without being too "matchy." Muted/soft or rich/deep colors tend to work really well in photos. Avoid bright/neon colors at all costs. Avoid all white or all black clothing. (Go with cream rather than bright white. Choose grey or brown rather than black.) One way to coordinate is to pick 2-3 colors that look nice together, and have everyone put together outfits within that color palette. Not sure about color? Putting everyone in neutral colors (creams, browns, and tans) works just fine.



Limit Patterns

Avoid busy patterns, logos, characters, and text. Solid colors work great. If you'd like, you can mix in one or two articles of clothing or accessories with simple, timeless patterns.



Comfort

Of course, it is important for you all to be comfortable and warm enough. One way to stay warm without bundling up in a jacket is to layer with undershirts and long undies. If ladies wear a skirt, be sure it is long enough to comfortably sit on the ground. Consider the location you are using for your photo session. For example, if you are going to the beach, it might make more sense to go barefoot than to wear high heels.



Accessories and Layers

A hat, scarf, or piece of jewelry can be a great way to complete a look. Accessories can also be a way to add interesting textures to your photos. I love it when clients show up with a little boy in suspenders or a baby with a sweet little hat. Layers can be an easy way to achieve a variety of looks without doing a complete outfit change.



Movement

One way to add impact and emotion to an image is to capture movement. Long, flowing dresses are wonderful for this. Natalie (pictured below) chose to wear this lovely gold dress from my client wardrobe. If you have long hair, consider wearing it down. If the wind catches it just right, it can be gorgeous.



Maternity

Pregnant mamas are among my favorite subjects to photograph. For these sessions, it is super important to choose an outfit that shows off the lovely curve of the belly. Long, flowing dresses work great, but a more casual look can work as well, as long as the outfit hugs your curves. If you have your heart set on wearing a shirt rather than a dress, try this test. Stand in front of a mirror and turn to the side. Now, look at the very bottom of the shirt. Is it snug against your body, creating a lovely/smooth silhouette? Or is it sticking out, creating a "break" in the curve? If it's sticking out, you may want to choose something else.



I hope this has given you some ideas as you put your outfits together. Don't hesitate to ask your photographer for help if you have any questions. You can even lay out all the outfits on a bed and snap a picture to send to your photographer for feedback. Keep in mind that these are more guidelines than rules. If you have a unique sense of style, don't be afraid to be be you!













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Julie is an Arcata photographer capturing authentic emotion, meaningful connections, and beautiful moments for families and couples in Humboldt County, California.

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Arcata, California

707.502.4089