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DRESSING FOR YOUR PORTRAITS

What to wear, what to wear?? Sometimes we have a very specific idea of how we want a photograph to look, but other times all we know is that we want the kids to look their adorable best! Clothing obviously plays a significant role in this, but it is important to understand that outfits which are cute and flattering in “real life” may not always work well in a photograph. While we rely a great deal on clothing to set the mood of an image, the goal is actually not to draw attention to what the child is wearing but rather to allow the viewer’s eye to go directly to those beautiful faces! To help you accomplish this, please refer to the following list of “Fashion Do’s and Don’ts” when preparing for your portrait session:

• Choose solid colors whenever possible – keep in mind: simplicity is key!

• When photographing 2 or more people together, choose a single color theme. They don’t have to be completely “matching” outfits but colors and textures should harmonize, not compete. Also, pay attention to the “tone” or shade of the outfits – choose light, medium or dark and keep this tone similar between all the subjects. If your group shot will include multiple families, one idea is to choose a different color for each family: for example, one family in white tops & khaki pants, another family in yellow tops & khaki pants, and a third family in light blue tops & khaki pants.

• Any patterns on clothing should be soft and delicate (for example: a small soft floral print, or a piping design along the neck and cuffs). If photographing 2 or more children together, patterned clothing can be tricky – either go with matching outfits for all, or choose a patterned outfit for one child with color-coordinated solids for the others (example: a little girl in a cream dress sprinkled with small blue flowers, and her 2 brothers in jeans with cream-colored sweaters).

• Avoid loud or busy patterns such as plaids, checks, stripes, large floral designs, etc. (The one exception to this rule is polka dots -- for some mysterious reason little girls do photograph great in polka dots!). Keep in mind that In a group photo, clothing with competing patterns and colors will dominate your portrait! Remember: in a successful portrait, you notice the people, not the clothes.

• Avoid logos, emblems, insignia, or words written on the clothing. Not only are these things distracting to the eye, but also they compromise the artistic quality of your portrait. Senior portraits do, however, get a little latitude in this area: if you want some shots in a T-shirt or sweatshirt with your school (or University) logo.... or if your fave shirt this year happens to be the one with Aeropostale across the front, by all means bring it along!

• Avoid cartoon characters. If your child simply loves a certain character, then bring along a small toy associated with the show that we could use in the picture. This allows more flexibility and works much better than an outfit that displays the character.

• For portraits with a more informal feel, or for a timeless black & white image, you can’t beat denim: jeans, denim dresses, or overalls paired with solid T’s, Henleys, turtlenecks or sweaters always work great.

• For more formal (or holiday) portraits, again try to stay with solid colors. Either fluffy or flowing dresses, velvet, and lace all work well for girls; dress-shirts with vests or sweaters, and khaki or corduroy pants are good choices for boys. Try to avoid stiff or constricting clothes, as this may cause your child to be uncomfortable (and therefore unhappy!) during the photo session.

• Playing “dress-up”: what toddler or preschooler doesn’t love to dress up in Mom or Dad’s duds? Bring along Mom’s dress and a pair of pumps, or one of Dad’s dress-shirts, a tie and some loafers. Your child will have a blast, and you’ll love the photographs!

If you are not sure about a particular outfit (or if your child REALLY insists on wearing the shirt with the big Mickey Mouse emblazoned on the front), just bring it with you in addition to some outfit(s) that you are more certain about. We can decide together what will work best – and we can always do a few shots in that Mickey Mouse shirt just to keep everyone happy!

2011 Creative Kids Portraiture