What to Wear

Coordinate outfits

This does not mean everyone 100% match!  You want to complement each other’s outfits by choosing colors that work well together.  When everyone is wearing matching clothing, people tend to blend in together and there won’t a draw to each individual as there needs to be.  Coordinate VS. Matchy Matchy!


Use colors & patterns

Colors are all around us and bring everything to life.  Why not bring your images to life as well?  Again, be sure the colors you chose coordinate with each other so you don’t end up being too mismatched!  When picking patterns, choose smaller ones that won’t distract attention away from the main subjects.  Use patterns sparingly…. if one person is wearing a print, try to avoid putting someone else in a competing pattern.  When thinking about texture, choose different ones that will give photos some interest such as lace, denim, etc.  Avoid large logo’s, emblems and graphics because these will distract attention away from the subject.  We want your faces and emotion to be the focus here, not the clothing company you purchase from.


Be timeless

For some fashionista’s, this may be a difficult concept, however you are going to want these images to stand the test of time.   Pick outfits that aren’t t considered trendy, but will be able to be enjoyed and displayed for many years to come.  One example of something that is timeless is jeans… classic look and style yet you can still incorporate your own flair into the outfit with your tops and accessories.  At the same time though, make sure that the look is YOU!


Let your personalities SHINE

Perhaps the most important rule in my book.  The purpose of these photos is to capture each individual as they truly are, to capture the family, the relationships, and people in the photos just as THEY are.  Forcing children to wear outfits that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them may cause anxiety and stress which in turn will hinder capturing their true personalities during the session.  Same goes for adults.  Wear clothing that YOU feel good in and the pictures will emanate those feelings.  Remember, you want to capture everyone as they are NOW.  Capture these moments as they are!


Dress for the season & location

Obviously you want your images to make sense.  Typically you wouldn’t be wearing jeans, boots, and a jacket to the beach in the Summer, so why would you for pictures?  Dress the part and be aware of your location.  For example, if you are shooting at the beach in Summer, ladies wear a pretty dress or shorts and sandals, put dad in a short sleeve shirt and shorts or pants, put your little girl in a sweet Spring or Summer dress, etc.  You will want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and coordinates in both colors AND styles.



One of my favorite “tips” for clothing choices!  In the Summer months, this may be more difficult to pull off but during all of the other seasons, definitely layer your outfits.  Not only will it provide more visual interest in each photo but it will also allow a lot more variety in your shots and poses.  Have a ton of images of yourself in just your dress or cute top and jeans?  Throw on a little  sweater or jacket and a hat and you have entirely different look.


Remember where you came from

Typically, not something everyone will keep in mind before their session.  However, I always encourage clients to think about their home, their decor, colors, and style of their homes.  Chances are you are having these photos captured to put on your walls at home, in your office, etc.  Why not keep your decor in mind and ensure that it all blends into where you are hoping to display these?  This will ensure that any large portraits will coordinate beautifully.


Plan ahead

Make sure you have given yourself enough time to think about all of the details of your session.  Plan ahead so that #1 you can truly think about your photos and everything you want out of the session, #2 you aren’t rushing and stressed right before your session, and #3 if you have decided to go for a new look for your session or someone gets a bad haircut, you still have time to fix things (if needed).


Keep make-up more natural

You will want to avoid using very dark and heavy makeup as it doesn’t photograph well, but a bit of color on your lips, eyes, and cheeks will help bring you to life in photos.  Be sure to bring some lip gloss with you as well.

Outfit changes

If we have already discussed outfit changes, bring a couple different items to swap out.  You will get a lot more variety in your shots as we swap out outfits so why not take advantage of the opportunity!

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

I’m all for a great pair of shoes, however they may make for a very long and painful session.  If you plan on wearing heels, be sure to bring a pair of flats or flip flops that can help you get from point A to point B without any pain.  We’ll have you swap them out when needed.

If I were building a look for my family, this is what I would do:

  1. Keeping my location and season in mind, I would start with one person.  Don’t try and think of everyone at the same time.  I find that myself or my daughter makes the most sense since we would typically be the ones to wear a print.  So let’s say my daughter will be wearing a floral print dress.
  2. Now moving on to the next person.  I would be pulling colors from my daughter’s dress so I’d begin to think about who in the family would look good in those colors.  Dad doesn’t look so good in XYZ since it tends to drown out the tone in his skin.  Let’s pick ABC for him instead.  And so on.
  3. Then I would start to come up with ideas to personalize the session.  My son may have a security blanket or teddy bear he never parts with…. I’d be sure to bring that with me.  I love tulips so on our way to the session I may pick some up to include in a couple photos.  Make thoughtful choices and be sure to discuss your ideas with your photographer!  Believe me, most of us are full of ideas however, it’s always nice when the family helps and truly ensures a “custom” session to capture them perfectly.

For more ideas, please visit my what to wear Pinterest board for inspiration:  Brooke Taylor Studios | What to Wear
Inspiration for Senior Shoots can be found here: Brooke Taylor Studios | What to Wear | Seniors