Styling Your Portrait Session:: What To Wear | Long Island Children’s Photographer

I know this isn’t a new topic to most, but in this blog post I wanted to discuss the importance of styling for your child’s portrait session. It’s not surprising that this task poses difficulty for some, I personally love discussing clothing choices with my clients, I would even take them shopping if they were having a hard time deciding on what outfits to put their children in for their session! While clothing won’t make or break a session, it is a huge element in expressing an artistic vision in photographs, just like choosing a location or what props to incorporate. If you are investing in custom portraiture, please ask your photographer for tips on clothing choices. Trust me when I say, we love this aspect of helping our clients!

Depending on the type of photos you would like, pulling inspiration from your location is an essential step, as well as incorporating accessories to bring your look together. It can be as elaborate or as casual as you wish. In the below example, I wanted the photo to have a fairytale inspiration, with warm tones and a vintage feel. I incorporated accessories (and even, lack thereof) and a strategic prop to bring together what I wanted to express.

I chose the woods for my location, simply because of it’s rustic beauty. Having a location set in the woods offers many possibilities for your photo shoot, it’s a very versatile setting, with rich colors. I chose a tulle dress that was long in length, a perfect outfit for a princess. This dress is made by US Angels, and can be found through Nordstrom. As an interesting side note that I did also order a matching jacket, which ended up never arriving, so I had to go through my daughter’s closet to find another item and came across this fur bolero that I bought from The Gap last year! Sometimes things will go wrong, but remember that it usually turns out for the best, because I love how this photo turned out and I don’t think a matching jacket would have done it justice. For accessories, I opted not to have shoes for her, I simply love bare feet with children, and I felt that this photo wouldn’t have much of an impact if she was wearing shoes. Her headband was handmade by Baby’s Breath Handmade on Etsy, whose items I adore and should really buy stock in! It was the perfect touch to complete her outfit. I chose my antique Renaissance chair from the late 1800’s, Elizabeth {to those who don’t know me, yes, I actually name my props!}, to bring home the vintage feel.

Does your photo session have to be this elaborate? Absolutely not, but with some creative planning, you can express anything you want in your portrait session. The below photo was a rather impromptu session, we had a remarkable 60 degree weather day in January that I wanted to take advantage of, as well as break in my new 135mm lens! 😉 Despite the lack of time to really prepare for a shoot, I still took into account the location and what I wanted the feel of the photo to have. This photo was taken at a park near my home at sunset, and I chose a casual outfit with a spring color palette and pattern.

Outfit shown in the Vest Dress and Pretty Cardigan by Mini Boden, boots are Circo Jorja in Brown by Target. Headband again was made by Baby’s Breath Handmade on Etsy.

Choosing your outfits for your photo session, should be a fun task, not a daunting one! Below are some of my tried and true brands that never fail me for the perfect outfit for a session:

Crewcuts by J.Crew:: Crewcuts has a great assortment of kids clothing to fit any style from classic, to fun and colorful.

Tea Collection:: I love Tea Collections destination style wear with rich color palette and beautiful patterns.

Mini Boden:: A UK brand {the sizing may take a little getting used to} that has a lot of spunk, fun colors and nostalgic prints. For older kids and teens, check out the Johnnie B line.

77Kids:: A division of American Eagle, another great choice for classic pieces with pops of color and funky prints.

GapKids:: What can I say? When all else fails, hit up the Gap! Definitely a staple, the Gap gives great examples of what us photographers mean by “coordinated but not matching” looks.

What NOT to Wear::

No Logos, Words, or Distinguishing Patterns. This is pretty much across the board but I can tell you how many times I see this happen. Logos and words are distracting and will date your photos, please avoid them at all costs. Something like the little itty bitty Polo dude on the left side of shirts I do not mind personally, but another photographer might, so be sure to go over it with your chosen photographer. In regards to distinguishing patterns, and this is another personal preference, but if I can tell that Burberry made the skirt or that you are wearing Coach boots because of the interlocking “C” pattern then that’s no bueno to me as well.

No Athletic Shoes or Big Puffy Jackets. Again, IMPO {in my personal opinion}, Converse are the only exception to the rule, I rather like them for certain shoots, but let’s please leave the Nike Shox at home. In regards to big puffy jackets, if we are doing a cold weather shoot, obviously wear your jackets to the location, but we will take them off when we are ready to shoot and put them back on during down time, otherwise you have nothing but pictures of Stay Puft Marshmallow children. Again, some photographers might lump those down vests into this category, but I have no problems with those if it fits the theme and feel of the session.

Avoid Clashing Colors and Patterns. This is where we get into the “coordinated but not matching look”, we don’t want everyone in the same thing, just be coordinated and try to avoid any clashing colors/patterns. In regards to patterns, try to also avoid very small stripes, plaids or checks, it tends to look wonky in photographs.

No Silly Bands, Friendship Bracelets, Hair Ties, Beads, etc etc etc. You know you’re going to forget to take them off, just make sure you do a once over before you leave for your session and just leave them home to ensure they don’t get lost. The only accessories should be the ones we coordinated for the session.

Avoid Haircuts. You wear your hair so it’s valid to stick this in here, but please try not get your children’s haircuts right before your session. Give at least one month to two weeks before in case of any “misunderstandings” at the salon.

This is pretty much my list of what not to wear, again, please check with your chosen photographer. In addition, if you are having family photos done as well, Mom please consider getting your hair and makeup done for the session if you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I had clients tell me they wish they took the time to get their hair blown out or had someone put a little more makeup on them for photos. It can make a world of difference.

Stay tuned for another blog post about incorporating strategic props for your session! As always, I love to hear your thoughts, feel free to post or contact me!



showandtellphotographyStacey -

Great post with a ton of fab info! Thanks for posting…

lori lerner -

Great post! Will be sharing :)

Amanda -

Love this!! and beautiful pictures as always!!

justduckymediaGina -

Great post! And the photos are breathtaking!

Opal Powell -

Great post Jenn. Some people show up so sloppy and then expect the photographer to work magic so they can look like a supermodel.