Want to make your family sesh run smooth without feeling stressed?! Look no further! We’ve got a quick and easy prep guideline for you to check out! Filled with tips and helpful ideas on how to dress and prep your entire family. Take the advice from a Nebraska Family Photographer who has seen ample outfits come in front of our camera!
Your session is going to begin at a predetermined location based on what we have communicated before your sesh. We will meet there approximately 15 minutes before we plan to start shooting. That way we can get all the jitters out and get to know each other! Please try your absolute best to arrive on time, if not a few minutes early. As a natural light photographer, your family session is scheduled around the time that the sun sets. Once the sun is set, we can no longer shoot. If you arrive to your session late, it will affect the amount of time that we can shoot and the length of your session! If you are more than 30 minutes late to your session, we will have to cut your session short. Unfortunately, that might mean not getting to all of your ideas you had in mind.
Choose a location that best represents your family. The first step in the planning of your session process is to start thinking about a location for the sesh. We want you to put some thought into this to help us out! Here in Nebraska, we’ve learned a lot as a Family Photographer, and we recommend some of the following locations;
Uban // Vineyard // Boho // Nature // Garden // Farm // Downtown
Whatever you’re wanting, it’s great to start thinking about it now. So you can base the outfits and other props you might have included in your sesh.
If you have a place in mind that is special to your family, that is great too! Just insure that you have plenty of full shaded areas. This helps to avoid harsh lighting so we can ensure we get a soft glow for your photos.
Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars, benches, tractors. Or smaller ones like blankets, baskets, flowers, or hats, even planning those extra’s can be a fun way to make your session unique.
Stuck on what to wear? We’re here to help! Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your family portrait session! I know that sounds dramatic… but, if you accidentally wear something that isn’t flattering on camera or something that you don’t feel confident in…it can ruin the experience for you and you of course won’t want to order any of those pictures! So, here are some of the best ways to choose what to wear.
BE UNIQUE + THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX: On camera, black + white or bright neon colors can make skin tones look very washed out and unflattering. Rather than wearing one single color, or having everyone in matching shirts, a much more pleasing arrangement is an assortment of coordinating colors. We recommend going with softer, lighter tones, and more muted shades. We’re really digging those muted earthy tones currently! So, when choosing outfits, try to choose colors that are more neutral and that compliment your hair + skin colors! Also, consider the location you’re shooting at. If we’re doing a more nature geared session, you might want to steer away from green tones that would blend in with grass tones and opt for color choices opposite of that on the color wheel.
BE COMFORTABLE: If you do not like fitted clothing (super tight dresses or pieces that fit awkwardly) then leave them at home! So, if there are pieces you’re considering that make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them! Additionally, we will most likely be sitting on the ground, laying down, walking and doing other things that could be difficult if your clothing is uncomfortable! The last thing you want to be doing is tugging on your clothes the whole time.
ADD LAYERS: In the cold months (fall + winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks STUNNING in portraits! A sweater with a flannel underneath paired with a vest + necklace or scarf adds so much dimension to your images and makes for super fun posing options! There’s plenty of ways to layer up kids/parents just by adding cardigans, vests, jewlery, hats, boots, etc. Try to mix and match so not everyone is wearing the exact same. Even in the warmer months (spring + summer) you can add these layers + dimension by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a denim vest over a dress! We’re big into flowy layers so we have something that creates movement within images and also gives you a built in “prop” to work with!
PLAY WITH PATTERNS/TEXTURES: When picking out your outfits consider choosing one or two patterns and try to keep everything else fairly basic. Think less patterns more textures. What that means is choose maybe one “bold” piece for one person in the family and then start building from there. Pick one floral dress for mom, then pull colors/textures from that dress for the whole fam.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACCESSORIZE: During a family sesh, or any photo shoot, the more the merrier is our concept!! 😉 When planning your outfits, don’t forget to plan accessories!! Stacks of bangles, long necklaces, scarves, hats, cute heels/shoes and other add-ons can make or break an outfit! Guys can get creative too, ties, colored socks, belts, suspenders, vests, watches. There are so many ways to style up those outfits with accessories.
MIX IT UP: When planning your crews outfit’s, make sure that you have a VARIETY of layers and styles! Maybe go out of your comfort zone and put mom in a dress, dad in kahki slacks with a nice button up shirt, little sis in a fun patterned romper, big sis in colored jeggings with tall boots, little brother in a simple shirt with a vest. There’s plenty of ways to layer from there!
TOSS IT ALL TOGETHER: What I typically do is purchase 2-3 options for each person. I then bring it all home and lay it out. I pick my favorite outfit for each person and lay them all together to see what they look like. If something looks off, I go to the second option that I purchased for them. Sometimes that means swapping out dad’s shirt so we don’t have two button up shirts or maybe switching the babies vest so we aren’t all wearing vests. Then I pull accessories and shoes. Boys are fairly easy but us girls always have too many options. 😉 Once you’ve got what you think finalized, put them aside for a few days and then pull it out to look again. You’ll have a fresh eye for them and really it’ll help you decide for sure that you love it.
You can also get some “what to wear” inspiration on our Amazon Style Inspo Boards.
*Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links, which means I do get a small commission if you purchase from that link (with no added cost to you!)
Need some color palette inspo? We’ve got you covered! Here are some simple ideas to get your mind rolling. If you want even more guidance then this, just reach out and email us, we’d love to get a few more deets and even curate a board of outfits to inspire you specifically for your family! We’re all about using what you already might have so you don’t need to purchase all new outfits either of course! Now you can stop stressing about outfits! Focus instead of then fun you’ll have during your session. As a Nebraska Family Photographer, we see lots of green grasses, so we always recommend staying away from the green palette unless you’ve got a location in mind specifically not geared towards greens.
*Some of the links provided above do include referral links which means we receive a tiny portion of credit for those who purchase using the links provided.