What to wear for Spring and Summer Sessions

Wardrobe panic looming between you and your portrait session?

For a lot of families, the what-to-wear question is the most stressful part of the whole experience, and it can become quite the ordeal when working with more than one person!

My what to wear for fall guide was a huge hit and my most requested link last year! So here’s for all my spring and summer clients!

Tip 1: choose a color scheme

You can see some of my favorite palettes on my Pinterest board for spring sessions Here and my favorite palettes for summer tones Here.
Sometimes it’s helpful to choose one outfit (usually mom/wife/family goddess) and then choose a coordinating color palette for everyone else around that one. When we do our family portraits, I almost always choose my outfit first, and then build off of it with everyone else’s outfits. When we book your session and choose a location, I can give you a good idea of what colors will be flattering for your session, too! Some locations are soft and neutral, others are dark and moody and earthy, and others are vibrant and colorful. You don’t want to compete with your location for attention, so I can also direct you in a color scheme for the location we choose!

Tip 2: Patterns and prints
Normally I caution against prints 100%. But with all these florals, animal prints, and geometric patterns in style right now, I can’t honestly say they’re all heinous to photograph. Just use caution. Look for more subtle patterns and do NOT put everyone in a pattern or print. Try choosing one outfit (like a floral dress) and then putting others in coordinating solids!

Tip 3: beware of the brights!

I LOVE bright colors in photographs. But I love it within boundaries. By all means, wear a pop of color. Go vibrant, be bold, ESPECIALLY in summer! This is the BEST time of year to go a little louder with your color scheme! Just don’t make it a BIG, solitary piece. Bright blues, greens, yellows, reds, etc all cast that weird cast to your skin tone. Everything reacts to light. White reflects, black absorbs. Colors tend to bounce and the last thing you want is to feel like your neck and chin got extra sunburned in the spring because your cherry blouse was too close to your face. Still wear the blouse, but try throwing a denim jacket or sweater over top and just have part of it showing. YOU need to wear your outfits, don’t have them wear you.

Tip 4: Layer and accessorize
The BEST way to balance both patterns and bright colors is with layers. Layers are really the icing on the cake, with everything else being just another part of a great dessert. Almost every single wardrobe woe can be solved with accessories and layers. Vests, sweaters, jackets, scarves, jewelry, etc are all great ways to adding visual interest without distracting from you. A simple pastel dress can look a million times better with a soft cotton floral scarf and a wide brimmed hat! Your son will look extra dashing with a little khaki vest overtop his button down shirt and blue jeans.

Tip 5: Be consistent
Everyone has their own opinions on what they want to wear, but at least agree on how formal/casual you are wanting your photos. It looks really mismatched when Dad shows up in a button down shirt and khaki dress pants, but mom is wearing Adidas workout leggings and a tank top and tennis shoes.

Tips 6: Don’t overmatch
I can’t stress this enough: DO NOT WEAR THE SAME THING! The era of matching outfits is OVER (and thank GOODNESS). Solid white shirts or solid black shirts and jeans are a NO GO, GUYS. ONE of you can pull that off (with a jacket and some accessories, of course!), but unless you want to look like the staff at a local restaurant, do not bring the same outfits to your session. Mix it up. Coordinate outfits, don’t match them. Put one daughter in a little light pink sundress with a scarf, your middle daughter in a denim skirt, cream fuzzy vest, and long sleeve navy shirt, and your oldest in a pair of dark wash jeans, a light pink tee lace blouse, and a navy belt or sweater. Use the same color palette, but don’t put everyone in the same thing.

Final note: be comfortable
It all really boils down to this. Your kids are going to be upset and angry if we do a session in sundresses and shorts in March in Utah. Your husband will look stiff if his button up shirt feels like it is choking him. You’ll not connect with your photos at all if you choose a wardrobe you’d never actually wear any other time. Choose styles and outfits that YOU genuinely love, not just what you think will photograph well. This is about YOU and your relationships, not what you’re wearing.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed about this, please reach out to me! I’ve gone on so many shopping trips with my clients, including shopping trips to their own closets. I LOVE knowing what my clients are showing up in beforehand anyway, so send me photos, give me a call, shoot me a Marco Polo! I’m here to help and not one single part of your family portrait experience should be overwhelming or stressful. 🙂



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