What’s the cause of one of mom’s biggest stresses before a Family Portrait Session?
If you answered “What do I/we wear?” – then you’re right! More than half of my clients like to run clothing ideas by me or get my clothing suggestions before a session. And you know what, I LOVE that part! I’ve even received texts from dressing rooms.
But you know what, it makes sense. In color photography, one of the first things our eyes are drawn to are the clothes.
There are 3 Big Trends (we’ll call them the Big 3 from now on) in family portrait clothing coordination, especially for beach pictures. I’m sure you’ve seen them: white shirts and jeans, white shirts and khakis, or all white. Don’t get me wrong, I get it; these are clothes that everyone has. No one needs to go shopping, mom doesn’t need to stress, etc. I’ve shot these pictures. I’ve actually been IN these pictures.
These pictures are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them (outfit-wise) – everyone looks happy and coordinated. But there’s no wow factor either – nothing to set you apart from the hundreds of other “family beach pictures”. Consider adding some color to your portrait session! This doesn’t have to involve a family wide shopping trip – if you want to go with one of the Big 3, add a funky belt or shoes, colorful jewelry, or a scarf.
Another idea is to put the adults in one of the Big 3 options and have the kids be the pops of color.
If you’ve decided to add color for the whole family, don’t be scared! I’m here to help! An easy idea is to find an patterned item of clothing that you love and then use the colors in that item to pick outfits for everyone else. And don’t hesitate to ask your photographer for suggestions – he or she knows the area where you’re shooting as well as the time of day. I even have a Pinterest board specifically to help with color combination ideas here.
The second biggest decision to make when booking is where to have your portrait session. My coverage area extends from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach through Pensacola to Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach as well as north to Cantonment and Milton.
I have my favorite locations in every area. But, there are plenty of times a client comes to me with a specific location already in mind.
Where we take your pictures has a lot to do with determining HOW your portraits will look in the end. Is it in an open field or beach (bright, open), urban/ warehouse area (dim, grungy, edgy), or in your home (personal)? I want the location of your session to be about you which I why I really like your input on where we shoot. As I said, I have my favorite locations and can definitely make suggestions, but at the end of the day, this is your session and YOU need to be happy with the look of your pictures.
Now let’s talk about the two most requested location types as well as thoughts on what kind of clothing to consider and the best times of day to shoot based on each location.
What to wear for a beach session?
Think about the colors that are already there – blues like the sky, greens and yellows of the sea oats and sea grasses, and teals like the Gulf itself. Another fun way to go for a sunset session would be to wear warm colors – reds, orange, pink as compliment to the beautiful sunset colors.
Best time of day for beach portrait sessions – Beach portrait sessions have the most beautiful light in the hour after sunrise or within an hour of sunset. The combination of our beautiful, sandy WHITE beaches and the glaring sun can lead to harsh (read: unflattering) shadows and squinting during daytime sessions. Overcast days are another great option for beach portrait sessions.
Parks – If we’re being honest, parks are MY favorite session location. There are so many great parks in Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and surrounding areas! Every area photog has their favorites. Park setting suggestions are great for the area forts as well!
My only “what-not-to-wear” suggestion is red. Unless we’re shooting for Christmas pictures, you want to avoid red when in a primarily green location. I’m sure you can figure that one out. If you’re into neutrals, that’s beautiful, play with blacks, browns, blues, whites. Parks are also a great place to really play with some color: purples, yellow, pinks, bright teals – they all look great in a park situation.
Park sessions can offer us a little wiggle room as far as session time also. Depending on the amount of available shade, we can make many times of day work.
Most importantly – be comfortable. Make sure your kids are wearing something comfortable. And pick a location that you love!
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, mom-bun rocking, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.