Go to your wardrobe and pick out one or two base pieces you really like. Dress in the style you're most comfortable in. Avoid anything too stiff and formal that will hinder your movement when playing with the kids.
Choose soft knits, cottons, or flannels. Soft fabric photographs better than stiff fabric. Clothing with textures (chunky knits, tulle, lace, fur, etc.) photograph particularly well because they add interest to your photographs.
For women, well-fitted clothing that accentuate the waistline tends to be more flattering. Loose clothing sometimes adds bulk to the waistline. (Style and Select is a website with some good resource on what looks flattering for women in photographs.)
For men, wear what you're most comfortable in. For photographs, I prefer t-shirts & jumpers because they're softer and don't bunch up. But if you're more comfortable in shirts, then wear a shirt. Shirts look better when they're not tucked in at the waist.
For your children, please choose clothing that is well-fitted (not one or more sizes too big) so that they look comfortable. Please avoid clothing made from stiff fabric, as they tend to bunch up when your child is sitting down. A good test is to ask your child to sit on the floor with her legs crossed (kinder-legs) and see if her clothing bunches up in an unflattering way and whether the collar rides up to cover your child’s neck & shoulders area.
Make sure your children have worn the clothing you planned to photograph them in at least a few times before our session, to make sure they’re well fitted and comfortable. Children can sometimes be upset by tags or stiff fabric rubbing against their skin when they wear new clothes for the first time.
Tip #3 Coordinate, Don't Copy
Identical matching colours for the whole family rarely look good or natural. (Think school uniform...only you don't attend the same school together.)
Pick two to three colours that are flattering for everyone, then go through your wardrobes to find clothes that have those colours in varying degrees. A mix of solid colours, patterns and stripes are great.
Lay everyone's clothing next to each other's on the bed and have a look to see if anything clash. It is good to have a pop of colour somewhere.
Tip #4 No Big Words, Big Faces, Or Neon Colours
Avoid big words like 'Gap' or 'Nike' splashed in huge letters across a shirt. Your eye will go straight to these words.
Avoid big cartoon characters faces on your children's clothing, they will draw attention and dominate your photograph.
Avoid super bright neon orange/green/yellow (the type of neon colours on high-vis or sports clothing), these super strong neon colours will clash with just about everything.
Tip #5 What About Patterns?
Patterns are great! But please make sure no more than two people in the family are wearing patterns.
Start with your favourite patterned dress, what are some colours in the patterns? Use those colours to co-ordinate the clothing for other members of your family.
Tip #6 An Easy Cheat
An easy cheat to make sure everyone's clothing look good together is to buy them from the same collection.
Most department store's seasonal collection includes clothing for men, women, and children. Shopping from the same collection is an easy way to make sure everyone's clothing coordinate well.
Tip #7 Accessories
Cute hats, scarves, headbands, etc. can add a bit of flair to your images.
But please don't force your children to wear something they're not comfortable in. For example, a loose hairband that slips off constantly will become quite annoying for your child; a baby who isn't used to wearing beanies will try to take it off.
Please keep in mind that we will be moving and playing, running and spinning, so please be willing to remove any accessories that impair movement.
Tip #8 Glasses
If you wear glasses that turn dark outdoors, please bring a pair that is non-transition, or be willing to take them off for photos. Many of the transition glasses have a light tint on them even indoors.
If you have multiple pair of glasses to choose from, please choose the pair that has anti-glare coating. The AR Coating reduces the reflection on your glasses and makes them look more attractive. If you're not sure which pair has anti-glare coating, simply face them towards a window and choose the pair that is less reflective.
Tip #9 Shoes & Socks
There is no need to worry about shoes & socks, all studio sessions are bare-feet (so when the children sit down we see their cute little toes rather than shoe soles).
For little girls who love their pretty sparkly shoes, it may be prudent to put them in their less-favourite shoes so that they won’t get upset when asked to remove them. (If they REALLY want to have photos with their pretty shoes we can accommodate.)
You can put little girls in stockings to 'complete the look' if you really want, just keep in mind stocking feet don't look as cute as bare feet, and might get slippery when your little girl is playing active games such as spinning.
Tip #10 Getting Ready
Lay all the clothes out the day before, including accessories.
Most of my clients find it easier to be dressed and ready before leaving home. That way, they're less likely to forget something critical. Also, chasing after an unwilling wriggling toddler with pants and hairbrush in the studio might not set the best mood for a 'playful happy relaxed' photo session. (Having said that, some children don't mind getting changed at all. You know your kids best.)
A good tip for keeping 'photo-clothes' clean for the car journey is to put an oversize top over the clothes that act as a big bib to catch any snack crumbs along the way. :-D