What to wear? Tips and tricks

Ever wondered what you should dress your children in for their photo session?
I often get clients ask me what type of clothing their children should wear for their photo sessions, so I thought I would come up with some handy ideas and post them on my blog.  I am hoping this will help you out if you have a session booked with me in the near future 🙂



Coordinate but don’t match.  You can do this with a neutral and a few colourful brights, or try a softer palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shades. Pick out a few colour pops to coordinate between subjects when working with a palette of softer tones or neutrals


Accessorise – 

Accessorise …add interest and colour and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewellery, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I believe that especially with sweet babies and toddlers that they don’t need much in the way of “accessories” … they are beautiful in their simple purity. It is important not to go overboard. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first … the accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be centre stage.
Choose your accent colours and fill in outfits with those punches of colour in accessories … for instance, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and grey, have mum wear a coral headband and little brother in an aqua pair of Converse and bow tie. Show off the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories!
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with … a sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices.

Subtle Props…

Think about subtle props that blend with the vibe of the session as well, but keep them simple and meaningful. A handful of flowers that are a natural, neutral colour or that coordinate with colour pops in the subjects’ clothing … a vintage camera … a basket of apples … or the absolute best type of prop is something that is meaningful to the subject (grandpa’s vintage camera, their favourite stuffed animal or toy, the family’s beloved pet). But don’t let the prop be an odd distraction – make sure it “makes sense” being in the photo and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot. This will help make the children relax in front of the camera also.



Have the children wear clothes that make their eyes “pop.”






The feet…..

Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers … unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colourful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colourful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of colour or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.





Think about your location and make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. For example, at a location in a field with a rustic barn in the background would be perfect for a little girl dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with gumboots, pig tails and carrying a little vintage tin pail full of wildflowers … that same look might be out of place in an urban setting with a graffiti wall in the background. Also, consider how well the colours and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location … a field of blue flowers might not be complemented by an outfit with a floral pattern or the same blues and greens in it, but would look beautiful with a solid coral coloured dress to pop off of the colours of the flowers and grass. Think about the location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision you see.

Finally  ….
Things to avoid…

Many of them are obvious no-no’s but important to include again as a refresher.

• Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly.

• If anyone is needing a trip to the salon, be sure to let the hair cut grow out a week or so in order to look most natural.

• Don’t make everyone wear all the same colour … matching is boring and dated. Coordinate colours and looks, letting everyone have their own spin on the colour palette (and every person does not – should not – have every colour used in the colour palette). And please no families all dressed in khaki pants, or all in denim and white shirts.

• While trying to stay current and fashionable, do avoid obvious trends that will be dated soon. You can do fashion forward while still remaining timeless.

• No bright white socks and no sneakers unless we’re talking about something fashion forward and simple like Converse or Vans. And also be sure to remove watches or jewellery not complementary to the session’s look.

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