Erin Kelly Photography
Food, Interiors, Editorial Photographer in Pittsburgh, PA

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What to wear for a family or portrait photography session

One of the most-asked questions after I've booked an individual or family photography session is, "What should we wear?" 

Here are a few styling tips I've gleaned from photographing people, families and my own kids. 

  1. Let me just begin by saying there are NO RULES. The below suggestions are styles I gravitate towards that reflect my own personal vibe. I love nothing more than when someone shows up to a shoot in an eccentric colorful pattern-heavy power outfit. People expressing their own unique personalities, styles and creativity is dope. And one of my all-time favorite headshots is of a guy wearing a bright pink Hawaiian tshirt. 
  2. Be comfortable and covered. When you're trying on outfits, practice sitting on the ground/floor and moving around naturally to see if your clothes keep you covered. There's nothing worse than feeling self conscious or unable to move easily. Can you pick up your kid and play without worrying your dress is riding up? Can you squat down and pretend you're a slimy swamp monster without your jeans riding too low? Same goes for the kiddos. Leggings or bicycle shorts are such a great thing to throw under little gal's dresses during a shoot. My girls both love to roll around and play and I never have to worry about the dreaded diaper shot. 
  3. Neutral colors are always a safe bet. Think ivory, blush, oatmeal, sage green and grey. I would definitely throw denim into the mix of this palette as well. All of those colors compliment lush greenery, warm autumn leaves and whited-out winter snow. Also, as my stud husband would tell you, never underestimate the power of a quality white tee. 
  4. Use kids' hair accessories but be flexible. I can't tell you the number of times my own girls have pulled headbands out of their hair/heads 2 minutes into a shoot, leaving unruly hair flying in their faces or imprinted headband marks on their bald baby heads. I always bring backup hair ties or clips along to do a quick pony tail or side swipe bangs out of their faces. Boys are normally much easier in this regard, but plan hair cuts a few days in advance of a photoshoot so it can grow out to that perfect sweet spot. 
Erin Kelly