Our family has scheduled a photography session in October and I am so excited! It has been almost exactly 6 years since our last professional session (looooong overdue) and our first family photos since little Miss Maisie was born! However, since scheduling our session I have developed an obsession. An obsession with finding the *perfect* outfits. The way I see it, we are investing in these photos and I want them to look as nice as possible. These are the photographs that will be framed up on our walls for years to come, the photographs that will grace our 2014 Christmas cards and the photographs that will be prominent in our family albums, and the last thing I want is to be bugged for years afterwards that the outfits we wore look too funky or clashed. As amazing as the scenery, the pose and the emotion of a photograph is…I don’t know if it can be a truly great photograph if the clothing is a distraction.

Am I over thinking this? No doubt about it, but maybe my neurosis might help you in finding your own *perfect* family outfits?!

So, here is Part One of what I believe are ” The DO’s”:

What to Wear: The DO's {Snoqualmie Valley Family Photography by Rusted Van Photography}

Loved the combination of red and blue ginghams with a “pop” of pink!

1. Coordinate! You have likely heard it over and over again – make sure your outfits coordinate nicely with one another! On date night would you wear a bright, springy fuscia blouse with a cozy, orange and brown scarf? Probably not…so don’t dress your daughter in bright fuscia and your son in dark, fall colors! Think about how the color families, patterns and textures work with, or against, one another. Here is an easy formula to help: Pick 2 colors that carry throughout the family outfits + a neutral or two (jeans, kahkis, gray/black, cream/white, and even brown or navy blue can be a “neutral”) + a color “pop” (such as an accessory or two in this accent color). Don’t feel obligated to dress every family member in every one of these colors…mix it up. An easy way to tie it all together is to pick just one person to wear a pattern that incorporates all of the colors selected and everyone else has different color combinations based off of that.

2. Seek Out Inspiration! We live in a time when resources are overwhelmingly available. The internet offers blogs, websites, and social media all to specifically help us with the giant task of finding a nice outfit for photographs. My favorite is Pinterest, and did you know Rusted Van Photography has a pinterest board with more ideas and tips – check it out here! Don’t limit yourself to just looking up outfit ideas though, even researching color palettes can help get you thinking in a different way. A website worth checking out is Design-Seeds, lots of pretty color combinations that could easily translate into beautiful outfit ideas.

What to Wear: The DO's {Snoqualmie Valley Area Family Photography by Rusted Van Photography}

The Martinell family picked outfits that felt natural to the season, without blending in too much!

3. Consider Photography Location and Season! Where will your photos be taken and what will the surrounding area look like? Are you going for a more urban location? Consider more casual, trendy and modern outfits. Will you be out in the country during the fall? Consider boots and country chic, with lots of creamy, warm colors. A park like setting during the Spring? Think pastels and brights! I also love to do opposites – a formal dress atop a rusted, old tractor screams fun to me! And please, at least for the children, consider the weather and temperature. I can tell you from experience, nothing kills the fun and potential for genuine smiles like a too cold (or too hot) child.

What to Wear: THe DO's  {Snoqualmie Valley Photography by Rusted Van Photography}

The Rasmussen family has pretty blues in their home, so they incorporated it into their family photos!

4. Look around at your Home Decor! Is that totally weird? I don’t mean “match” with your home decor…don’t go making dresses out of the curtains ala The Sound of Music, but look around at your home and consider your “style”. Do you decorate with lots of warm, neutrals – stick with a color palette that is harmonious with that style. Is your home bright and eclectic? Go fun and funky! Is your decor light and white and airy? Stick with soft, ethereal outfits! For most of us, at least a few of these photographs will be framed and up on the walls of our homes (I hope!) and the last thing you want is for them to look out of place!

5. Look at them all together! I have been carrying a little bag with my son’s shirt with me whenever I go shopping so I can use it as a guide… Not that I want everything to look the exact same, but having it with me helps me to “see” them together. Once you have all of your outfits, accessories, etc. all picked out lay them all out together – how do they look together? Does something jump out at you, and not in a good way? Dump it. You may want to keep tags and receipts for newly purchased items until this point, just in case!

Some other quick tips:
– Don’t wait to the last minute
– Don’t hesitate to ask your photographer for help or advice
– Start with the most difficult to dress (usually mom) and work from there
– Be good to yourself mom! Don’t dress everyone else up to the nines and not give yourself the attention you deserve too!

So there are what I feel are the most important “DO’s” to consider when preparing outfits for a family photo session. Stay tuned for more in this “What to Wear” blog series! Next week I will cover THE DON’T’s! 

Update: Check out Part Two and Part Three!



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