As a photographer and as a client, I have a few years of experience in selecting a wardrobe for a photo session. I’ve learned from my mistakes as a client – like waiting until the last minute and then feeling self conscious because my jean jacket didn’t fit right. Or picking one of the kid’s outfits first and then having a devil of a time finding something even remotely coordinating for me.
Because if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Or something like that.
Now that I know better, I start thinking about it a month in advance and I start with my own outfit first. Last year’s wardrobe (featured above) came together with no tears and I was really happy with it. I still get so many complements on our photos by Melissa Soto Photography!
So, before you sprint off to the mall or hit up your favorite online shopping hangout, please ask yourself a few questions:
-What feel do I want my photos to have?
-Where will my photos be taken?
-Where will I display and use these photos?
-What do I already own that I love to wear?
-What do I know I want to buy for myself?
-Is our photo session going to have a theme? (i.e. Mommy and Me, beach session, tree farm session)
Let your answers to these questions guide your approach to picking out your clothes, accessories and makeup. I include a presession consultation for all my full sessions. Use that time to ask me for suggestions or share whatever plans you’ve made so far. I also encourage my clients to text me photos of their choices if they are unsure or want some feedback. Most take me up on that and share that they are happy that they took a few minutes to do that. And of all the times clients have done that, they have been right on with their choices.
So, that said here are my favorite 7 quick tips to picking a great wardrobe for your next family photo session.
DO – Start with Mama’s outfit first. If Mama feels beautiful and confident, she will be more relaxed and allow her inner beauty to shine through in the photos. Kids are usually the easiest, so that’s why I say to save picking their outfits for last. Pick things that are your style that you would usually wear. Don’t be afraid to pick a dress – something with a swishy skirt always photographs well. Pull together some light layers and you can have a couple different looks by adding/removing a layer.
DO – Shop your closets at home. There’s usually no need to buy brand new outfits for every family member. Start with some basics or accessories you already have and love. Then make a quick trip to your favorite store to round out what you don’t already have or to buy a piece of clothing you love.
DO – Coordinate your color palette, but DON’T be too matchy-matchy. Think neutrals as a base with a bright accent color. For our family photos 2 years ago, I went with blues and oranges. Last year, my family went with red, white and blue with solids for me and mixed plaids for my husband and sons. Also, avoid clothes that are too trendy. Opting for classic pieces will make your photos timeless. Add a statement necklace or earrings or scarf for a little pop.
DO – Take a little time with hair and makeup. Style it how you like it and be sure to wear a little lipstick to give your lips some definition. I like to go a little bit heavier on eye makeup myself to make them pop, but that’s just me. Since family photos are not an everyday occurrence and are a luxury item, give yourself permission to splurge on your hair and makeup.
DON’T – Wear any large logos. Again, you want to strive for timeless. Logos are a very distracting element in photos and it’s best to select clothes without them. Unless you want to give John Deere or Nike free advertising in your heirloom photos. Or you want to add extra retouching fees to your budget.
DON’T – Be afraid to mix patterns. Florals and plaids marry well when they include the same colors and scale. Just be careful that the pattern isn’t overpowering.
DON’T – Be afraid to go barefoot. After all, it’s summer in MN! Going barefoot adds a casual and natural vibe to your photos. Just be careful where you are. You don’t want to step on glass.
Whatever you select for yourself and your family, make sure that you feel great and are comfortable wearing your picks. If something doesn’t feel quite right, swap it out! You want to be able to look at your photos years from now and still love them and be happy you made the investment in them.
To you, it may look like a gross bucket of worms.
To me, it’s something completely different.
To me, it’s a precious gift from a sweet, blue eyed four year old boy who calls me mama.
I never want to forget his ever present curiosity.
His innate tenderness towards tiny creatures.
His love of playing in the dirt for hours on end.
His big imagination casting him as the hero saving the day.
When I look at this photo years from now, I want to remember the spring of 2017 with a smile.
All those days and early evenings playing in the backyard together.
The excited little voice giving a play by play of each new find.
The inch think layer of mud in the bathtub afterwards.
And yes, even the muddy footprints on the wood floors.
So look further. See past the tangle of earthworms.
The best gifts don’t come in big packages. Sometimes they aren’t even wrapped. They sing to our souls and lighten our hearts.
Julie Scanlon! Please join me in congratulating Julie on being the winner of the 2017 Rince na Chroi / Jamie Cramble Photography photo session giveaway! Julie was in the audience the night of the From the Stage to Your Heart performance and saw the contest QR code in the program.
Congratulations, Julie! I’m looking forward to planning your photo session!
Spectrum Inspired is a project from the heart that sets out to capture the incredible spirit of children with autism.
It is a community of professional photographers with passion and heart for serving others. Spectrum Inspired is doing amazing things to make photography accessible to families with children on the spectrum. The vision is to shine a light on children who deserve to be celebrated, accepted and understood. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, the time is right!
I’m so very happy to share that my application to join this project was approved! I am serving as the representative in Minnesota. To be accepted to serve in this capacity is indeed an honor and I am so humbled to be part of this incredible collaboration. But even more than that, it makes my heart so incredibly happy to be able to work with families who might not otherwise have access to or feel comfortable booking a professional session. Continue reading Spectrum Inspired – capturing the spirit of children with autism
One thing I do to continue to keep learning and growing as a photographer is a Project 52. It’s also a way for me to document my family, see my environment in a new way and try new techniques before client sessions. The premise is simple – a moderator selects a prompt for the week and members of our group post their best photos from the week. At the end of the week, the moderator selects the best of the best for feature in a blog post. One of the things I love most about the project is seeing how others interpret and execute the theme. Each week I continue to be blown away and inspired by the artistry and creativity that is shared. Continue reading Life in 52 – Project 52 – Week 14 – Grow
Since I got knocked out of commission by the flu this week, I’m extending the Mama & Me Flash Sale another week. I’ve already booked a couple of sessions, but I do have room for 3-4 more at the max. A $100 retainer locks in your package and you have all of the rest of 2016 to schedule your session.
Custom gift certificates are available and would be a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift. Too often mamas are behind the camera documenting family moments. Here’s your chance to gift her a session to get her IN those family moments.
Here’s a little peek at the necklace that’s included with all the sessions in the flash sale running now until April 8, 2016.
It’s a wooden scrabble tile with a clear finish and beads to match the photo on a silver ball chain. I also include a keychain adapter so you can choose between wearing it close to your heart or dangling it from your favorite purse/clutch.
full session + gift collection
up to 1 hour on location
25-30 professionally edited images
archival quality prints: one 8×10, two 5×7, four 4×6
custom convertible photo necklace/keychain for mama
lifestyle newborn OR Fresh 48 hospital session + mini maternity session
2 hour Fresh 48 or 3 hour lifestyle newborn session on location
40-45 professionally edited images
custom convertible photo necklace/keychain for mama
up to 30 minute mini maternity session on location
10-15 professionally edited images
Terms: MN state sales tax of 7.125% will be added to each session. A retainer of $100 is required to secure the sale price. Sessions can be booked anytime during 2016. Custom gift certificates are available!
Only a limited number of sessions are available during this FLASH SALE.
Email me to get yours – firstname.lastname@example.org!
I believe that one of the most important things to consider when choosing a photographer is connection. When you ask me to take your photos, you are inviting me into your personal space, your heart and your family so I can do my job to document a point in time of your life. I take this invitation seriously and want to share a little bit of myself here to help grow that connection with you.
I’m currently 12 weeks into a Project 52. I focus on personal work there – each week there’s a new prompt. Being a mother and being a photographer are two very important pieces of my life. These roles influence each other in countless ways – as well as the other roles I live out on a daily basis. Last week’s prompt was reality.
The reality is that life with three young boys is: never dull, never 100% safe from accidents, and never predictable. It’s also likely to include trips to the emergency room from time to time. This past week, it was our time. Our youngest tripped at daycare and ended up with 5 stitches. Considering that we made it 9 boy years without a broken bone or stitches up to this point is a blessing! (9 boy years = oldest is 5, middle is 3, baby is 19 months)
While I’m a bit sad that his sweet, perfect little face will now have a scar; I hope that he learns to see his scar as beautiful proof that he is loved – loved by his sweet teachers who took such good care of him when he got hurt, loved by his tender hearted daddy who cradled him at the ER and loved by his mama who has kissed his sweet cheeks a million times since then as a measure of comfort.
Amazingly, kids are so resilient. He is healing really well. The stitches were removed yesterday and already the cut starting to quickly fade.