What to wear for our family photoshoot

I think the number one question clients ask me is 'what should we wear'. The answer is very individual to the family, so I thought I would take you through my thought processes on how to select outfits and how to shop for the missing pieces. For Christmas, my mother in law asked for a wallet sized picture of her five grandsons. So my mission was to create some beautiful images of all of them, and individual ones, so that I could make up a small brag book for her handbag.

The first thing I wanted to think of was what will I be using the images for? Given it was a brag book, matching colours to decor wasn't going to be important. If you are doing your photoshoot so that you can put artwork on your wall, it's really important to ask yourself what type of images will suit the space. If your decor is loud and colourful, pastels won't be a good match. Neutral spaces are pretty safe, and most colours will be fine, but you might want to think about a splash of colour. You can also pay attention to the environment you want to shoot in. Personally, I adore beach photography, so I wanted to take the boys to the beach. I knew I would be shooting in the golden hour, and so the colours would be soft and light and airy. This formed the basis of my colour palette.

For boys, I love the gentleman look. I love linens, and button up shirts. I never recommend matching outfits, as they tend to look like 'uniforms'. You want to select pieces that compliment one another and are representative of each individual. I went through their wardrobes looking for pieces to match my vision. I also asked my sister in law to bring around what she had for her little one. We laid them all out on the dining table and discussed what we liked about all the pieces. We took photos, so we would know what we had and what we needed and we did a little inventory for each boy. I will attach a couple of pictures. They are just iPhone shots, but it will give you an idea of what we were aiming for.

Family photoshoot what to wear1

Sometimes, I will create colour boards, mood boards or pinterest boards for clients, particularly for extended family sessions. For this shoot, I had the following vision for the colours:

Family photoshoot what to wear2

We then went off to the shops to find the missing pieces. We were heading to H&M as they have beautiful pieces that are very affordable. (I am not sponsored by them!) Luckily, we found everything we wanted in a relatively short period of time. We took over the shop, laying out all of the clothes beside each other, working out what we thought would work together. Some were obvious and we kept, others were obvious and we put them back, and a few we couldn't decide on, so we decided to buy extra pieces and return any we didn't want.

We ended up with this clothes rack, ready for our photoshoot.

Family photoshoot what to wear3

One last word of warning, as we were about to head out, I realised that I would be shooting at the little one's dinner time - fail! So I fed him some weetbix to fill his belly before we went out. Never have a hungry child at a photoshoot.

When we arrived at Coogee beach, heads turned. These handsome, well dressed men looked so beautiful and were a stark contrast to the sun-drenched beach goers at the end of their Sydney day out at the beach! The following images are some of my favourites from the shoot, and I think you can see how my vision of "linens, button-up shirts, gentlemen and soft, light and airy" came to fruition. I hope this can help you when you are considering what to wear for your family photoshoot.

Top 10 tips: How to prepare for your photoshoot

When I am booking in a photography session, two of the main questions are; how do I prepare and what do I wear? I will send you a guide, specific to the type of shoot you are having. If you are booking in a newborn shoot, I will give you a guide on what to expect and how to prepare. Maternity mammas also get an in depth guide. This post will focus more on general family photos, to give you tips on how to prepare for your photoshoot. 1. Schedule in haircuts at least one week out. This applies for the whole family. Do the boys need a tidy up? Do the girls need a trim? Do you need your roots retouched? Generally, haircuts take a couple of washes to settle down, which is why I recommend scheduling them a week before. You will know your hair best, so schedule that appointment so that on the day of the shoot, you will be really happy with your hair.

2. Make an appointment with the beautician. Waxing eyebrows, legs, manicures and pedicures is really important for your shoot. Of course, only focus on this if it is something that you ordinarily do. Your hands and feet may be visible in the photos and your face definitely will, so schedule any appointments that make you feel your best. As an aside note: I get asked the question, 'should I get a fake tan'? My answer is, if it is something you normally do, then please do so. But please do yourself a favour, and have it done professionally. A la naturale is much better than cheap fake tan. Trust me!

3. Choose Mum's outfit first. Mums tend to put their children first. We will give up something for ourselves in a heartbeat if it means our child is happier or more comfortable. When it comes to the photoshoot, I always tell the Mum to look out for herself first, and design the family around her. Look in your wardrobe, or go shopping. Pick something that you feel fabulous in. The print shouldn't be too busy or patterned, as it will overwhelm the image. Your outfit should be well fitting and flatter you. Baggy clothes don't make women look smaller, in fact, they have the opposite effect. So please choose something that fits well and flatters your body. Once you have found the perfect outfit, it's time to dress the rest of the family.

4. The rest of the family should wear clothes that compliment yours. I am not a fan of matching clothes, or denim and white. Rather, I prefer complimentary colours. If you are wearing pastels, your family should be too. If you are in bright colours, your family should be too. Remember, I am happy to help if you want to email me some ideas or bring along some options to your shoot.

5. On the night before the shoot, everyone should go to bed on time, so everyone is happy and refreshed in the morning.

6. We should schedule the shoot around nap times. If the session runs into normal nap times, we are likely to have tired, cranky children that won't photograph well. The only sleepy clients should be newborns!

7. If the children are sick, we should reschedule. I know it's tempting to push ahead, but the images will be much better if your child is feeling well.

8. On the morning of the shoot, try not to make the event a big deal. Don't worry about coaching your child or telling them that they need to behave or smile. We want them to have fun, with natural smiles and laughter. So please leave this up to me.

9. Bring along anything that is important to your child. A photo with their beloved teddy bear or trusted blankie will be priceless in years to come.

10. Relax and have fun. Your photoshoot should be an enjoyable experience, and will result in gorgeous images of your family, that you can enjoy for years to come. I want you to relax and enjoy the experience.

Sydney Family Photographer, Newborn Sibling shot, western sydney newborn photographer, how to prepare for your photoshoot, what to wear to your photoshoot