‘What should I have my child wear for the photo session?’
I hear this question a lot from clients and I have to confess that is the first thing I think about when I plan a photo session with my kids. For me, as an artist, the vision of the portrait as a whole means more than just the subject- the location, the light, and the clothes all make or break an image [today I will discuss clothing; I will talk about location and time of day at another time]. Custom photography is an investment on all counts- taking the time to plan the details will be more rewarding and worth the hassle of finding the perfect outfit.
Here are some general considerations:
- Clothing is very important as it sets the mood and style of your photos- do you want classic, or modern? Trendy or timeless? My goal is to turn your photos into timeless pieces of art, and clothing is a medium that will help achieve the desired effect. I may ask to go in your child’s closet to see what outfits will work better for your photo session. Upon request, I will do a clothing/styling consultation at no charge or recommend a clothing store for the particular style you wish to achieve. In fact, if you visit this page here on What to Wear, you can see a list of clothing outfitters for children that you can browse and get ideas for your session. I guarantee you that you can’t go wrong with any of these, there is something for every occasion, taste and even wallet!
First, let’s think of the little ones. Newborns and young babies are best photographed in their birthday suit or with a diaper cover. I think you will agree with me that the innocence and beauty of a new baby is best portrayed without clothing:
Sometimes, a favorite blanket or special toy will add personal touch and make your photo more unique, like this one where the blanket was made by this baby’s grandmother:
-For older babies and children, I recommend simple clothes with classic style, with solid colors and natural textures. Accessories, like hats and scarves, add dimension and interest to any outfit. I also prefer babies down to a diaper cover and I have an assortment of those to choose from:
- Think of comfort- if your child doesn’t like the outfit and isn’t comfortable in it, it’s better to choose something else. Try to choose something that represents the child, but no ripped and tattered clothing, please, that never works well.
- A good rule is to avoid screaming colors, busy patterns and logos as these detract from the subject. Character clothing is also not recommended unless it is for a particular theme (your little boy likes to be a superhero? Bring on the SuperMan cape, it will work for a few images after an outfit change).
- I also have available a small collection of tutus and petti skirts for little girls, along with some fun accessories, like hats, flowers and headbands:
- for little boys, I love the timeless look of denim overalls, as you already saw from another blog post this week :
- A word about hair styles for girls- simple and natural are always more flattering, especially for babies and younger girls. It’s usually better to avoid complicated pony tails and other up-dos. For older girls, hats and headbands are always fun.
And here’s an example from last year, when I took my daughter for a very quick mini session:
This was at the end of the day, and the light was soft and warm. I knew I wanted her to wear something that would convey that same sense, and I didn’t want the pieces of clothing to compete with each other or with her for attention.
After looking through her closet, we found some things that worked- her skirt is actually a dress from Old Navy, we just pulled it down and hid the straps; her pink top is a leotard, leftover from her ballet lessons days; the cropped jacket is a soft knit, a find from Target, almost in the same cream tone as the skirt. All of which she already owned, we just had to think out of the box for a new look. We finished the outfit with a few beaded necklaces in white and pink tones (always have a few of those around anyways), a soft headband and a pink flower to hold her hair back. All in all, mission accomplished for an impromptu mini session on a saturday evening at the end of Summer.
And don’t forget the chap stick or lip gloss- dry lips are very unattractive and quite impossible to fix in Photoshop!