So you have booked your photo session with me – Hester Barnes; Guildford & Surrey based family photographer and film maker. I should imagine you desperately want some beautiful photographs but are worried that you and your family just aren’t ‘photoshoot ready’. You may see lumps, bumps, chins and other things, but what you will see in my pictures is just a whole lot of love and connection. That’s not just connection physically – think little smiles, looks, holding hands, twiddling fingers, curling hair. It is about the connection of how you look too. Getting your clothes right for a photoshoot is huge part of creating a beautiful photograph. I am going to give you some top tips of how to rock your style. I am by no means a style guru, but I do know what looks good in a photograph so please read on!
Styling you first
More often than not, it is the mummas that book the session and organise what everyone is wearing. So decide what you are going to wear first and then dress your family around you (if I have got this totally wrong I apologise but from experience everyone else in the family just gets told what they are going to wear!).
OK let’s get the ‘don’t wear’ stuff out the way first.
What not to wear
Don’t wear something brand new that you haven’ t tried on properly. Think bagging cleavage or slippy straps. It’s lovely to treat yourself to something – just make sure it fits.
Don’t dress everyone the same. If that is how you live as a family then that’s great but it really isn’t my style of photography. Think everyone in jeans and a white t shirt. No no no no no!
If you are a little self conscious about part of your body then dress it / cover it / hide it. I do not like my upper arms and would never have a photo taken in a strapless or strappy dress as I know when I looked at the pictures all I would see is arm – I wouldn’t see the looks of love that the photographer helped capture. Use cardigans, sleeved dresses or open shirts to layer and create flattering silhouettes.
Dress for the location. This is so important. Woodland, beaches, fields of poppies – shorts, t shirts, floaty dresses and flip-flops. Fab cafes and city scapes – smart dresses and heals. Make sure you are all dressed for the same occasion – if one of you is very smart and the rest casual you won’t look like you belong together.
No big logos, badges, words across chests, large motifs. This can really date the photographs and we are aiming for timeless beautiful images.
Go easy on the patterns. I love stripes, polka dots, checks, floral prints – however – not all in the same photograph. It can make it too busy and confusing for the eyes. That is not to say don’t use patterns, flowers and textures just make sure they complement each other.
No neon colours or sparkly tops, sequin colour change tops – you know the ones. One minute they are a heart and then you rub them the other way and they are a unicorn. The camera will pick up the reflection and the light from the sequins will bounce around the photo.
As we are outdoors at the moment steer clear of wearing green or a lot of yellow as you can blend into the background! However if we are shooting in poppies red can look good and wearing white in a daisy field or on the beach can be stunning.
Steer clear of long scarves, polo and turtle necks. Although these can be used to shape your figure they don’t photograph that well. If you live in scarves don’t worry. Just make sure it is secure and the ends fall in line with your body.
Don’t try to be too trendy! Stick with a style you know and love. No dodgy / comedy socks. Bare feet, sandals or beautiful shoes only. Be careful applying fake tan or loads of sun cream before the shoot too.
So that’s the DO NOT section out of the way. Here are some tips on how to dress your family.
How to dress your family for the shoot
Pick a colour palette. This is tricky but I can help you with this. Summer colour mixes look great – think rose pinks (light not bright), light blues, grey and white. Be careful of putting everyone in white – unless you are on the beach. This looks stunning!
Here are some examples of colour palettes from Pinterest
I am not going to tell you exactly what to wear or send you list of links of what to buy – otherwise all my clients would look the same. It is very much down to you and me to chat through your style and what you might think works for your individual family. Get your favourite things out the wardrobe and lay them out of the bed. This is a great starting point.
Here are some ideas from Pinterest. All similar colour palette but different looks. These might help you put together your outfits.
Pick an outfit that makes you feel good
Think about what you like wearing. What makes you feel good? Floaty dresses help create movement in the photographs. At some point you and the kids will be dancing or swaying – so long beautiful dresses, skirts or soft floaty trousers can look beautiful.
Pick things you know your partner and children will wear. There is no point picking something that your little ones are going to be uncomfortable in and spending the first five minutes of the session shoe horning them into it. They will have a face like thunder. As much as I love a scowling pic we do need to encourage giggles and smiles.
But what should my baby wear?
We obviously want your baby to be snug and warm but not wearing so many clothes that I can’t capture their little face and beautiful features. Make sure I can see hands and feet without too much clothes removal. Newborn babies look beautiful in a simple white vest or romper. Just make sure you aren’t wearing the same colour top as your baby otherwise you all blend into one.
What else should I bring?
Please bring a change of clothes for the children. Just in case something happens. Make sure they are wearing the clothes you want them to be photographed in when you meet me, as in this first few minutes I tend to capture the most stunning individual portraits of your children. Newborn babies can be wrapped in a light blanket for the shoot. Sometimes this helps keep them bundled up and they are easier to hold for sibling portraits.
Do send me some pictures of what you are wearing prior to your shoot and let me know if you need some help.