What to wear and other tips:

choosing your wardrobe
  1. Matching is out dated, coordinating outfits is in, and anything goes these days. Coordinating outfits gives you a chance to express yours and your family's personality. Choose 2-3 main colours of the wardrobe and add one colour as a pop.
  2. Fluorescent colours tend to be harsh and cast colour cast on faces, necks and hair. I always recommend versions of primary colours.
  3. Wear colours that will make you stand out from your background, for example if the photoshoot is in a green leafy forest, don't wear greens or you will blend into the background.
  4. To help you get started on selecting the wardrobe for yourself or your family, start with your favourite outfit and build from there for everyone else. 
  5. Wear an item that you feel good in, if you aren't comfortable in what you are wearing it will show in the photos. If you aren't comfortable in heels where a pair of pretty sandals or a pair of wedges.
  6. Layers always add dimension, depth and interest to an outfit. Accessorize your dress with a cute belt and pendant necklace. In the colder months try adding jerseys, belts, statement necklaces, scarves, hats, jackets etc.
  7. Make sure clothes fit properly, especially for children. Clothes that don't fit well tend to look sloppy. 
  8. The only time to keep your wardrobe super simple is when you are having photos with your newborn as you won't want to overshadow your newborn with your wardrobe. Keep this wardrobe choice super simple, I recommend grey, black and or white for these shoots. 
  9. Always dress for the weather and be prepared to be flexible with your wardrobe just in case the weather turns at the last minute. If you have planned a cute dress for your daughter and the day turns out colder than you anticipated, have a jersey, tights, boots, slouchy hat and or scarf on hand. If children are sweating or too cold in their outfits they won't be too happy and it will reflect in their photos.

Tips for Different Body Shapes (for women)

  1. Maxi dresses are the go to dress, they are so versatile and look flattering on every body type. Add a statement necklace, some strappy sandals and belt for summer shoots, or a jacket and scarf in the cooler months.
  2. Skinny jeans are flattering on most women, even curvy ones. Pairing them with some cute heels or wedges will make your legs appear longer. 
  3. Friends are good to take shopping with you, they will be able to see you better than you see your self, we are our own worst critics.
  4. Show off your best asset. If you like your upper body but not your legs, then wear a strappy top to direct the eye towards your upper body and hide your legs under a long skirt or jeans.
  5. Did you know that if you have shorter legs (like me) that any bunching of your pants at the ankle will make your legs look even shorter? Here is an awesome article by VeeBee Couture on the subject and a diy solution fix  or this nifty diy solution where you shorten the hem and keep the original.

Child Wardrobe Tips

little white dress
  1. Select outfits that are timeless. A plain white lace dress with a simple headband for girls, a plain nappy cover, a naked baby, choose timeless outfits and your photos will stand the test of time. For girls, you can’t go wrong with cute dresses, rompers, and dainty hats or headbands. For boys, jeans and a buttonup shirt, or a Tshirt with a buttonup over it can be very cute. For siblings, the children don’t have to match perfectly, just coordinate. You can’t go wrong with dark, rich monotones, which drive the attention in photos to sweet faces.
  2. Large prints, patterns and bright colours will reflect colour casts onto your child's face and the large prints will become the focus of the image instead of your child. Rather choose plain t-shirts
  3. Don't dress your kids in clothes that they still need to grow into. Make sure their clothes fit properly, jerseys and jackets that are too big will not compliment their body shape and they will look sloppy.
  4. Make sure their shoes compliment the outfit, if your son is wearing a cute pair of pants and a button up shirt with character shoes the look will not be cohesive. Try to stay away from slops, crocs and character shoes. Barefoot is an adorable option, especially with babies. 
  5. Remember to coordinate your children's outfits not matching them.
  6. Layers are important, don't forget to bring hats, glasses, bow ties, jerseys, tights or leggings under a skirt.
  7. Always keep hair accessories simple, when they are too big it distracts from their faces, simple and dainty is always pretty.
  8. Remember to keep your child's personality in mind when you are selecting their wardrobe. If your son has a favourite pair of boots let him wear them (even if it's only for some of the photos). If your daughter loves to wear hats and sunglasses, bring them along. Whatever shows off your child's adorable self, focus on those. Allow them to have a little input in choosing their wardrobe.
  9. Please bring extra tissues & wet wipes for wiping faces and hands to your child's portrait session.  

Styling Do’s and Don’ts

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  1. I would recommend choosing 3 main colours to work with when choosing your colour scheme as it will give you more flexibility when dressing the entire family and make your images stand out. Remember to coordinate don't match. Find clothes that incorporate one or more of the colours that you have chosen, not every person has to be wearing every colour. 
  2. When you begin your wardrobe selection, find a focal point. A focal point is that must have piece, it could be an adorable dress that you love for your daughter, or a button up shirt for your son that melts your heart, or a top that you always feel fabulous in. Commit to the piece you have chosen as your focal point and work from there selecting everybody's outfits.
  3. Your prints and textures don't have to come from your focal piece, don't be afraid to mix prints, textures and styles. 
  4. Remember to layer, layers always make outfits look polished and complete. Add waistcoats, hats, bowties, scarves, belts and jewelry.
  5. Work with your strengths, cover up areas of your body that you are uncomfortable with or insecure about. If you don't like your arms, wear a long sleeved jacket. Find out your body type and wear something that will flatter your figure. 

General Advice

grooming
  1. Hair – If you’re getting a haircut for your shoot, do so about two weeks beforehand, just incase it goes wrong – you just never know. For men, a fresh cut a couple of days before the shoot is fine. Men - have a fresh shave or trim, and use aftershave moisturizer to limit bumps and redness. 
  2. Hair accessories – If you’re shooting outdoors, be ready to put your hair up and make it look nice in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories.

  3. Glasses - If people won't recognize you without glasses, you will want to wear them in your shoot. However the reflection on your glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. You can have your lenses removed from their frames for your shoot (it's a trick practised in Hollywood). 

  4. Red eyes - they never look good in photos, use some eye drops

  5. Lips - Bring fresh lip gloss, lip balm or lipstick to touch up your lips. Men make sure your lips aren't dry. 

  6. Teeth - If you are planning to brighten your smile, start your treatment about 2 weeks before your shoot

  7. Pimples / blemishes - If you are planning on having a facial have it done at least a week before the portrait session to give your skin time to calm. Don't try to hide blemishes / pimples by caking on foundation or concealer. It is easier to remove blemishes in Photoshop than it is to fix overdone makeup. Try to avoid getting fever blisters, if you do, again, don't try to cover them up with makeup.

  8. Makeup - a subtle application can really soften your skin and accent your facial features, make sure that you are not overdoing it though. Make especially sure that your foundation matches your skin tone. Alternatively, make a booking with a beautician to have your makeup done.

  9. Facial hair – Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and a moisturizing aftershave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your beard, sideburns, moustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing a couple of days before your shoot – even barely there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Men and women both, pluck and clean up those eyebrows to open up and emphasis your eyes.

  10. Moisturizer – Dry skin can really detract from a great photo shoot so start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. The best time to moisturize is when you have dried yourself after a shower. Moisturize any areas that will be exposed to the camera. For dry skin on your face use an exfoliator before moisturizing.

  11. Nails - A fresh coat of nail polish, tidy and clean nails makes the world of difference in a portrait session. Pick a neutral colour that won't distract or clash with your outfit. 

  12. Undergarments - Exposed bra straps can take away from your outfit. Make sure your bra matches your outfit and that it is well hidden.

  13. Sunburns and tan lines – If you plan to tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, hat tan lines, etc.

  14. Ironing – Iron your clothes the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot, rather change at the location.

  15. Shoes – Ladies, can’t go wrong in heels or wedges. Men, make sure they're clean! Dress shoes are best, but as with most things, let your mother or your wife decide ;)

Here are some specific suggestions for certain types of shoots:

Maternity

  1. Moisturize that belly!
  2. Gather your props to bring along – ultrasound printout, alphabet blocks that spell your baby’s name, baby shoes, stuffed animals, flowers, whatever you’ve seen in other maternity photos that you like.
  3. Wear whatever you feel comfortable and pretty in – long, flowy skirts, especially solids are nice and strapless bras that coordinate with them. Tube dresses are great for showing off your shape. Bring a pair of regular jeans. A button up shirt also makes it easy to transition into showing your belly.
  4. If you’re doing seminude / implied nude photos, bras and underwear will create noticeable lines on your skin, so wear loosefitting clothing to the shoot. You can add undergarments as necessary for photos later in the shoot.
  5. Do bring your significant other! They’ll make a great prop for your photos, and greatly expand on the number of different photos you can make during your shoot. They should bring outfits that coordinate with what you’ll be wearing, or a dark longsleeved shirt or sweater and dark pants. The focus should always be on you, your expressions, your emotions, your personality, your joy and your connection.

Newborns and Babies

newborn
  1. Use a facecloth to clean away flaky skin and sleep.
  2. Moisturize your baby’s skin
  3. Trim those tiny fingernails and toenails with appropriate baby nail clippers / scissors.
  4. Book your shoot around your baby’s feeding and nap times, work with the natural rhythm of your baby. The perfect time to shoot is right when the baby would be laying down for a nap. If your baby normally falls asleep after a feeding, wait to feed the baby until you’re at the shoot. I allot plenty of time for this sort of thing to set up the best situation for great photos.
  5. Dress up disposable nappies. If you have bring a nappy cover, solid colours are preferred.
  6. Naked is often the best wardrobe for a newborn, however I do have a few outfits in my studio.  Accessories are good, though – little hats or dainty headbands.  Bring sentimental items like the quilt that Grandma made for the baby, a baby blanket from your own childhood – they’re great for the baby to lie on.
  7. If your baby takes a dummy, bring it – if they’re bottle fed, bring an extra bottle to help put the baby to sleep.

Children

children
  1. Clean, clean, clean – clean nails, clean hair, wipe away eye boogers, clean feet (sandals on kid = black feet!), wipe snotty noses, freshly scrub teeth. The cleaner the kid, the better their photos will turn out.
  2. If your child is still in nappies or pullups, tuck them in or wear a nappy cover.
  3. If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot.
  4. It is perfectly okay to bring bribes to a photo shoot – given a stage and being the center of attention, it’s like our kids know exactly when to act their worst. Some cereal, jelly babies or other sweets that won’t stain teeth can help a short photo shoot go by smoothly.
  5. Avoid colourful drinks, suckers or sweets within 24 hours of your shoot, don’t let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths.
  6. I have found that leaving children to be at the portrait session will give you happier children and better results. They are often on their worst behaviour when they feel under too much pressure to perform. I will attempt to engage children in games and keep the photos as natural as possible and will not ask for cheesy smiles. In speaking with your children about the photoshoot focus on the fun we will have and resist the temptation to insist on their best behaviour. 

I hope these tips and advice have taken some of the anxiety out of choosing your outfits for your photoshoot. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Abigail