Summer Family Photoshoot
What To Wear
Dress To Impress in Summer
Dressing yourself in the morning is hard enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. Choosing what to wear for a photoshoot can trigger even the most confident fashionista to pull their entire wardrobe out onto the floor in search of the perfect outfit. So if your nerves start to fizz when you think about what to wear, don’t worry. This is so very normal! Before you lose sleep to late nights spent online shopping for the whole family, let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t. The number one thing I want you to remember? Being comfortable is EVERYTHING. You should look and feel like yourself, first and foremost.
It’s not uncommon to want to shop for new, sparkly, fabulous clothes for a photoshoot. And that’s fine if that’s your jam. But let’s talk about comfort. Do you think you’d be more comfy in your favourite t-shirt and jeans or a new clingy little black dress? The best route is usually to go with something that’s tried and true. Something you know moves with you and hugs you in all the right places. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn't have to be jeans and a t-shirt. You can glam it up a bit more if that’s what you fancy. What matters is that you show up as yourself. And if you want your images to be authentic, then it’s all about the feeling of being in your own skin.
In this case, that means dressing for great outdoors in the summertime! Plan your outfits around what you know about the conditions at the location we’ll be shooting at. You’ll want pain-free feet and to look relatively native to your environment. The idea is to authentically capture you wherever you are. So think through your clothing choices logically based on location, vibe and comfort level.
Colour Theory in Action
Remember the colour wheel from school? Well it's a great reference point when trying to figure out what colours look a bit weird together and what colours are a match made in heaven. There are two aspects to this. Complementing your surroundings, and complementing each other. It's not as hard as it sounds, I promise!
These colours, the ones that look amazing together, are called complementary colours. And that's because, well, they complement each other. They’re salt and pepper, William and Kate, fish and chips. Complementary colours sit across from one another on the colour wheel and do special things for the big picture. On the colour wheel, see how those lovely greens sit bang opposite the purples? They'll look great together. As will blues and peachy shades. You get the drift...
But it’s not all about contrast. For those less taken by the ‘pop,’ analogous colours could be the way to go. These colours are next to each other on the colour wheel, rather than opposite, and can be quite soothing to the eye. Think light blues and pale pinks. Or pinks and purples.
Add in Some Neutrals
So once you've picked your colours, add in some co-ordinating neutrals. You will typically find that grey, navy and cream all work beautifully.
Aim for neutrals, earthy tones, or light and airy hues. These colours compliment the outdoor environment almost anywhere you go. I’m not advocating for a beige world of quiet and inoffensive colours. By neutrals, I just mean softer tones. Primary colours are incredibly striking, but can sometimes have the effect of detracting from the main subject (which is you and your family). So instead of electric blue, go for something closer to sky blue. Instead of bright orange, opt for ochre or apricot. Sticking with neutral tones and soft, pale hues is always a winner. A good rule of thumb is to choose three colours which complement your surroundings and build your outfits around that palette.
Now, here's the science bit...
Complement - Don't Match
Aim to complement, not match. For the aesthetics of your photos to really sing, you want the whole family to complement each other as well as your surroundings. Use what you've just learnt about colour theory to choose outfits that showcase a variety of colours, textures, accessories, patterns and tones. The idea is to have everything look good together without everything looking the same.
The Fine Art of Accessorising
In the summer, hats and jewellery are a great way to jazz up your accessory game. Maybe a pretty fan? Throw some fun extras into your bag if you want to but avoid large distracting pieces. Leave the shades at home - the eyes are the window to the soul, as they say...
You can’t have come this far, painstakingly planning your outfit, only to stop at your ankles. Shoes are a key part of a look and ideally complement the rest of the outfit. Remember how we talked about looking native to your environment, being authentic and being comfortable? Well, do yourself a favour and ditch the heels! Select the right shoes based on the location, and consider what you’d normally wear if I wasn’t following you around with a camera. Sandals trump flip flips every time. Always consider context when choosing footwear for both aesthetic appeal and practicality.
Hair & Makeup
So this is totally your call but if I may… I would suggest cultivating a bit of the French je ne sais quoi that balances elegance and ease so well. I want you to look like you. So do whatever you need to do to feel confident and beautiful. And don't forget your hands. Treat yourself to a little subtle manicure or make sure your nails are neat and tidy before the shoot. As for hair… I do love the way a wild mane blows in the breeze. Up-dos are alright, but when it comes to capturing a moment, hair down is the way to go. With your hair down you get movement, you get interest, you get some perfect slices of imperfection in the best possible way.
What Not to Wear
Avoid large, bold patterns as they often dominate the photograph and detract attention from your beautiful faces. Subtle, smaller patterns like a light floral print are great when they complement the location. But less is definitely more with this one, try to limit yourself to one pattern at a time. Matching patterns is a tricky task, and it’s super difficult to do well. Whilst we're at it, you should also avoid logos and bright colours, as well as black.
Dress for the season and the location
Complement, don’t match
Wear something comfortable that you feel like you in
Pale muted colours tend to work well
Add in some neutrals such as cream, grey or navy
Avoid large prints, logos and patterns
Throw in some accessories like a hat, scarf or denim jacket
Need Some Inspiration?
If you're looking for a little more inspiration, check out my for some ideas on what to wear for you bluebell mini session.