Your session is unique to you, and your clothing & styling should represent you as a person and as a family. This is a guide only, and is of course coming from my standpoint as a professional photographer. It's not an exact science - with that in mind, here's some recommendations as to how to style your clothing, makeup and hair for your session...
If you are having an extended family session please forward this page on to the other members of your group
Spring & Summer
Comfortable, cool clothing with a light cover-up in case of a cool day is ideal.
Clothing recommendations: Floaty Summer dresses, lacey dresses, dressy dresses, gowns, sari's, cultural or traditional dress Pretty lacey dresses, Flower Girl dresses or bridesmaid dresses for girls Jeans & tops / skirts and tops Dungarees for boys, over bare skin or a plain t-shirt Bare feet, sandals or summer shoes - don't be afraid to bring a pair of heels! Light textured knits Men - casual jeans/shorts or smart trousers with either a shirt, plain fabric t-shirt or polo neck, light knits, boots, shoes or sandals.
From the start of Spring in late March, right up until the end of Summer, there are a lot of greens in the scenery. In order not to clash with the surrounding greens (or purples for bluebell & lavender sessions), try to keep clothing colours natural and neutral, with some fresh, airy, muted shades if you would like to include some colour. Denim is also pretty universal and will go with just about anything.
Autumn & Winter
Layer up your clothing, so that you can be comfortable in all temperatures.
Warmth is paramount for babies & children in the cooler seasons. On cold / frosty winter days it is imperative that your children have on lots of layers, a coat, gloves and a hat if necessary. These can be removed during the session if the children are comfortable to do so. Painfully cold little hands are distressing for young children and will effectively put an end to the session - please bring gloves.
Clothing recommendations: Dresses over tights Jeans & tops Boots or wellies, don't be afraid to bring a pair of heels! Chunky textured knits Furs Hats & scarves Stylish winter coats Men - casual jeans or smart trousers with classic jumpers / knits, stylish coats and boots, wellies or shoes is great. For babies in Winter - an extra layer of clothing under Baby's normal clothing is always a good idea - babies will feel the cold more due to them not moving around as much as children & adults. A long sleeved vest and leggings is ideal, under Baby's normal clothing. Please also bring gloves for babies.
Our backdrop colours in Autumn are greens, oranges and yellows. As we progress into Winter, the scenery becomes almost entirely brown. In Winter, the lack of colour in the scenery means that we can work with richer, deeper colours, and these will sit well with the warm, chocolatey tones of the surroundings.
Autumn: Neutral, chunky textured knits look wonderful in Autumn and Winter. During the Autumn season there is a lot of colour in the surroundings, so please try to keep clothing fairly neutral. It can be tempting to include red and orange clothing in Autumn - however, I find that with there being so much colour in the surroundings, strong reds and oranges are distracting and not very pleasing to the eye - it can feel like too much colour in one image. If you'd like to include some reds or oranges, try to choose deep, rich maroon or rusty shades rather than bright shades.
Winter: We have beautiful chocolate brown surroundings. Now we can work with a range of deep, rich colours as shown below.
Clothing & Styling to avoid for all sessions As a general rule...
- Children's character clothing (for example, Peppa Pig t-shirt, Spider-Man coat) - Sports clothing, and clothing with very big or prominent logos - Clothing that becomes see-through in revealing light - Visible panty lines - Visible bra straps - Hair bands on your wrists - Horizontal stripes (these can give the impression of you being bigger than you actually are) - Any clothes that you don't feel comfortable in - Visible nappies (always use a nappy cover with skirts and dresses) - Very strong bold designs (these may clash with the surroundings and the clothing of your family) - Phones, wallets, keys and other items in pockets - they will show in photographs - Trainers (sandals, shoes, boots or wellies always look nicer) - Chipped nail polish - Visible hair roots - Stick on / transfer tattoos on children - Visible, deep tan lines, or uneven / patchy fake tan - Dummies & pacifiers, please wean little one off their dummy in time for your session if they are very dependant on having one. (Newborns with dummies are not an issue however, as they can help with settling baby and be removed when baby is asleep). - Socks without shoes on babies (your images will look more finished if baby either has bare feet, or baby shoes to cover socks) - Clothing, particularly dark colours, which has lint or fluff; please run a lint/fluff roller or remover over your clothes before your session as it will show in your images. - Very bright colours and neon's - these can not only clash with the surrounding colours, but reflect back onto your skin giving a colour-cast that can be very difficult to correct in post-processing. Having said that, rules are there to be broken, and sometimes one key item in a bright colour can work well, such as a pair of hot pink wellies. Indian Sari's in bright colours also look beautiful, providing the colour sits well with the surroundings. Sari's with neutral colours around the neck/chest area, and brighter colours lower down are preferable, to reduce colour-casts onto your face. - Go easy on black clothing - a little is ok, but too much can look quite oppressive and doesn't sit well with the soft look that we are generally going for.
Please remember that what you have on in your images, will be in your images. If you don't want your watch showing, or you don't want a bracelet showing, please take them off before your session.
Try to avoid brights & neons
I personally love the look of hair down, especially for little girls. Styling the hair with natural loose waves or curls is beautiful, as is straight hair. If you prefer to clip hair back away from the face for young children, I recommend a stylish slide rather than a metal flip-clip. I have a selection of headbands if you'd like to use them, or you are welcome to use your own.
For hair up, I recommend leaving a few front sections down to frame the face.
Hair extensions are ideal if your hair tends to look thin in photos, but the seams should be well concealed under your natural hair. If your hair is prone to frizz outside, please style with anti-frizz products, particularly in Autumn, Winter & Spring.
If you dye your hair, please make sure your roots are touched up for your session.
As you'll want to look your very best for your session, I advise styling your makeup as you would for a sophisticated night out or a first date.
Take special care if using false eyelashes, as these can ping up at the corners if not adhered properly - this is often not fixable in Photoshop as they are so close to the eyes.
Try to stay well hydrated and rested in the few days leading up to your session for healthy skin. Please don't worry about acne, melasma, dark circles or other skin conditions! No one is flawless, feel comfortable in your skin and remember that whatever can't be covered with makeup can be corrected in post-processing. Skin re-touching is included in your package fee.
Nails should be either natural and clean, or freshly polished/manicured.
We all know that getting yourself and your children all dressed up at the same time isn't the easiest thing in the world! Perhaps the best advice I could give is to be prepared; plan your outfits in advance and allow plenty of time for getting ready. Make everything as easy as you can for yourself, and try to relax and enjoy the process.
I recommend packing a spare set of comfy clothes for your children for the journey home, in case they get muddy or wet during your session (particularly for Autumn, Winter & Spring sessions as the ground is not always dry). These can be left in your car.
In the Summer months, I recommend applying bug spray, particularly if you will have bare limbs.
Some examples of great, complimentary colour / clothing choices...