Today I wanted to share a quick tip I use when I’m taking pictures of my kids (both just for fun photos documenting our day to day and when I want to take nicer pictures). It is a bit of a “secret” that I don’t think most moms think about when they go to take photos of their kids but that makes a huge difference in the outcome, and comes can be that one thing you just feel like is “off” in your photos until you plan for it! That secret is their outfits. It honestly makes a huge difference in my motivation to get out my camera and take great memory saving photos of my kids! Everyone thinks about it for formal photo sessions…but what about day to day in our homes? Mama, don’t panic at the thought of coordinating outfits…keep reading!
We all love a good graphic tee with their favorite characters on it, or bright loud colors– and our kids certainly do too. But time after time, when I would take pictures of my kids in clothing like this, I would find myself frustrated! Either the colors were so bright that they distracted from my kids, or the lighting got strange and actually made the color show up lightly on their faces (this can happen with REALLY brightly colored shirts), or everyone looked so mismatched that it just did not feel cohesive and nice. As a photographer who loves taking photos of her kids, a long time ago, I decided that for the most part, I was going to buy my kids clothing that I liked for photos and that could sort of coordinate. Now don’t get me wrong– they definitely have and love “play clothes” and LOTS of things that are louder in color/graphic tees. So on most days, I put them in the clothes that I chose that mostly work well for photos- and it isn’t a super hard decision, because the bulk of what I buy fits my specifications for that. That DOESN’T mean that all their clothes are “fancy” in any way (though my daughter still wants to wear dresses every day!). It just means that the colors are colors that coordinate a bit together and that I enjoy seeing in my photos! I am going to go into much more detail later about the specifics of that for me, but for me that means lots of grays, creams, soft blues, soft pinks, and tans.
So what if that isn’t how you have shopped, or isn’t how you want to shop for kids clothings?? That’s totally fine!!! My secret tip? Each season (or new size change for your kids), just buy ONE outfit for each kid that could work in this way. For me, I tend to go towards light blues/light pinks/grays (though in fall/winter I would choose something more like maroon and navy), and I just make sure that in every size of clothing, everyone has 1 outfit that I would be happy with them in for pictures (that usually doubles well as Sunday church clothing!). That way I don’t have to spend any time thinking about it when it’s beautiful outside and I know I want to try to grab a few nice pictures of them (because if I forget, my oldest will have lost a few more teeth and my youngest will look even LESS like a baby by the time I remember!)! But I am always thankful for taking the extra 10 minutes to get them into non distracting, coordinating clothing that I love (and if they just start the day in those clothes, it makes me much more likely to get out my camera)! If you only have one kid, then it’s more just about colors that don’t distract from the rest of your photos – so maybe slightly more neutral colors that allow your subject and their activity to be clearly seen instead of colors that pull the attention away!
For multiple kids, a lot of this comes down to personal preference…but my answer tends to be a big large no to the matchy matchy look! For me, it’s all about coordination and interest! I want their outfits to look nice together but to also represent each of their styles a bit…and to not all be the same! I do love a set of brothers or sisters in matching outfits here and there but for this purpose, I tend to find outfits in a similar color family that go together- but aren’t all the same. So I would pick a couple of colors that work together (using my earlier example: gray, light blue, and light pink), and everyone would have clothing that mostly contained those colors. My daughter might have a floral printed pink dress. Then my oldest might be in a blue striped shirt of some sort, with easy neutral pants (maybe the stripes would be navy, gray, or even tie in that pink a bit). And then if both my older kids had patterns of some sort, I would go more neutral for our baby boy– all one color, maybe a cute little pair of overalls and suspenders, nice and simple.
You CAN mix patterns- the key is for the colors to still go together (not to be the same but to coordinate!), and for all the patterns to be relatively simple (vs loud and big). If you fall in love with something that has a LARGE or LOUD pattern, then I would stick to just one patterned piece, and get solid colors or just simple textures for the rest.
Here are some examples of every day type clothing my kids wear that coordinate pretty well. Some are more formal and less formal, but this will give you an idea of the types of outfits I will put them in semi-regularly that might give you some ideas! I am going to share another post actually showing you what is in their closets and how they easily to together on any given day for photos where things look a little more cohesive and less distracting! Please note: I really enjoy shopping for their clothing like this, and my kids aren’t particularly picky about what they wear…so this is easy for me! If it feels stressful- go with the one outfit each size/season plan and use it every few weeks when you want to take some nicer photos– that works REALLY well too!
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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!).
As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids. I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!
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You're in the right place! As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business! I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).
I'm so glad you are here! Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business! I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).