Spring & Summer Sessions | Wardrobe Inspiration

“So, what should we wear to our session?” I am often asked this question when a family or couple books and hey, I GET IT. Photo sessions can be (and often are) super stressful to prepare for! You’re investing in these images, so naturally you’re praying that you have a good hair day and your children (if you have them) behave and maybe, just maybe, your outfits will give you an end result that’s Pinterest-worthy. Us photographers? We completely understand, and we want to make our time together enjoyable! So, as we head into warmer weather (and more outdoor sessions - YAY!) I’ve put together a post with different outfit options that photograph well… along with some direct links, in the case you don’t have the time or feel like shopping yourself.

CONCEPT: NEUTRAL & TIMELESS.  I know, I know. SO PREDICTABLE. If you’ve spoken with me prior or seen my work, you know that I’ll always advocate for neutrals when it comes to your photo session. Neutrals just  work , regardless of the season or occasion. If you’re wearing soft, earthy tones, you’re going to have images that you can display all year around, and even more so if you choose a classic style (like the ones pictured below). From ruffles to lace to subtle pops of color, there is just enough detail and texture to add interest without taking the focus away from  you  and your loved ones. Neutrals are especially beautiful when you’re going to be surrounded by greenery or a colorful background, and you can find an abundance of dresses like these at  Free People ,  ASOS , and  Nordstrom  .  I’ve placed direct links to the outfits below each “Inspo Image” for easy exploration!

CONCEPT: NEUTRAL & TIMELESS. I know, I know. SO PREDICTABLE. If you’ve spoken with me prior or seen my work, you know that I’ll always advocate for neutrals when it comes to your photo session. Neutrals just work, regardless of the season or occasion. If you’re wearing soft, earthy tones, you’re going to have images that you can display all year around, and even more so if you choose a classic style (like the ones pictured below). From ruffles to lace to subtle pops of color, there is just enough detail and texture to add interest without taking the focus away from you and your loved ones. Neutrals are especially beautiful when you’re going to be surrounded by greenery or a colorful background, and you can find an abundance of dresses like these at Free People, ASOS, and Nordstrom. I’ve placed direct links to the outfits below each “Inspo Image” for easy exploration!

CONCEPT: BRIGHT & BOLD.  Who doesn’t love a good pastel or floral print this time of year? You’d better believe no photographer on this earth is going to be complaining if you show up in one of these numbers (okay, that might be an exaggeration - but still). The key to making this look successful in photographs is in the color and size of the pattern. As a  guideline , stick to more muted tones, and don’t choose patterns that have too many colors (the colors need to be complimentary, not (too) contrasty). Otherwise, your look goes from soft and feminine to loud and busy… which takes away from YOU! Another thought here - if you’re going to be in a bolder pattern/print, try to keep the rest of the outfits minimal. Think solid, neutral tones for your loved ones (beige, grey, tan, white, denim - keep scrolling for hubby/kid options!)

CONCEPT: BRIGHT & BOLD. Who doesn’t love a good pastel or floral print this time of year? You’d better believe no photographer on this earth is going to be complaining if you show up in one of these numbers (okay, that might be an exaggeration - but still). The key to making this look successful in photographs is in the color and size of the pattern. As a guideline, stick to more muted tones, and don’t choose patterns that have too many colors (the colors need to be complimentary, not (too) contrasty). Otherwise, your look goes from soft and feminine to loud and busy… which takes away from YOU! Another thought here - if you’re going to be in a bolder pattern/print, try to keep the rest of the outfits minimal. Think solid, neutral tones for your loved ones (beige, grey, tan, white, denim - keep scrolling for hubby/kid options!)

FEELIN’ FANCY? I GOT YOU.  Some people want a more elevated vibe (ahem, me, because I totally wore an embellished tulle maxi for my own e-sesh) and that’s more than fine. Dressier options can look amazing in a variety of settings, whether you’re at a beautiful park or in the city. Plus, these outfits photograph BEAUTIFULLY (who doesn’t love the texture of a flowy gown?) Just be sure to stick to the color/pattern rules I spoke of (above). The best part? You can stick your hubby in a white button up and black dress pants, which are probably already in his wardrobe. (Jacket optional).

FEELIN’ FANCY? I GOT YOU. Some people want a more elevated vibe (ahem, me, because I totally wore an embellished tulle maxi for my own e-sesh) and that’s more than fine. Dressier options can look amazing in a variety of settings, whether you’re at a beautiful park or in the city. Plus, these outfits photograph BEAUTIFULLY (who doesn’t love the texture of a flowy gown?) Just be sure to stick to the color/pattern rules I spoke of (above). The best part? You can stick your hubby in a white button up and black dress pants, which are probably already in his wardrobe. (Jacket optional).

YOU’RE PREGGERS? NO PROBLEM.  There are so many gorgeous options for maternity gowns… I’m over here 11 weeks postpartum and STILL TRYING TO ROCK MY MATERNITY DRESSES. Neutral, floral, flowy, chic… these options  do  exist in the realm of maternity. Also, some food for thought: while Free People isn’t a maternity brand, their dresses often fit so don’t rule them out completely if you want to invest in something you might be able to wear later. Online boutiques like  Roolee ,  Piper & Scoot , and  Wren & Ivory  also carry quite a few maternity options. If you’re looking for something really unique,  ASOS  and  Hatch  are good go-tos.

YOU’RE PREGGERS? NO PROBLEM. There are so many gorgeous options for maternity gowns… I’m over here 11 weeks postpartum and STILL TRYING TO ROCK MY MATERNITY DRESSES. Neutral, floral, flowy, chic… these options do exist in the realm of maternity. Also, some food for thought: while Free People isn’t a maternity brand, their dresses often fit so don’t rule them out completely if you want to invest in something you might be able to wear later. Online boutiques like Roolee, Piper & Scoot, and Wren & Ivory also carry quite a few maternity options. If you’re looking for something really unique, ASOS and Hatch are good go-tos.

BUT JUSTINE, WHAT SHOULD MY KIDS WEAR?!  I’ve got news for you, folks. Kids clothes have never been cuter (I mean, Zara just came out with an infant line and if my husband doesn’t cut up my credit card, I might buy it all). When it comes to dressing your child(ren)… simple remains best. Remember when our parents used to dress us exactly like our siblings and/or we’d all rock white shirts and khaki shorts on the beach? NO MORE. Although I’ve seen it done a few times successfully, I’ve found that matching your kids too closely tends to feel fussy and overthought, whereas choosing outfits in similar styles and color palettes gives each child a chance to stand out.  Rylee & Cru ,  Fin & Vince , and  Zara  all have super fashionable options for children that go beyond the usual scope.  Old Navy  &  Gap  have their fair share of good options, as well! (And parents, I DARE you to try not to buy every single outfit below.)

BUT JUSTINE, WHAT SHOULD MY KIDS WEAR?! I’ve got news for you, folks. Kids clothes have never been cuter (I mean, Zara just came out with an infant line and if my husband doesn’t cut up my credit card, I might buy it all). When it comes to dressing your child(ren)… simple remains best. Remember when our parents used to dress us exactly like our siblings and/or we’d all rock white shirts and khaki shorts on the beach? NO MORE. Although I’ve seen it done a few times successfully, I’ve found that matching your kids too closely tends to feel fussy and overthought, whereas choosing outfits in similar styles and color palettes gives each child a chance to stand out. Rylee & Cru, Fin & Vince, and Zara all have super fashionable options for children that go beyond the usual scope. Old Navy & Gap have their fair share of good options, as well! (And parents, I DARE you to try not to buy every single outfit below.)

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST - I’m here to tell you EXACTLY what to tell yo’ man to wear. Unless, of course, your hubs is a photographer and he knows better.  It’s so easy for us ladies to (unintentionally) get so caught up in what  we  are going to wear, that choosing husband’s outfit usually doesn’t happen until late the night before (and believe me, I’M NOT SHAMING YOU). I typically recommend that your partner’s outfit be the most simple/neutral of all (so it compliments whatever you’ve chosen) and this means that they usually have some of these staples already in their wardrobe (white button up, a good pair of khakis or slim fit jeans, tan dress pants). But ladies… DON’T LET HIM FORGET ABOUT THE SHOES. You’d be amazed at how noticeable it is when a guy wears a nice outfit paired with old tennis shoes in photos. Remind him to wear something nice - A classic loafer, good pair of chukka boots - these photograph beautifully and again, are likely something your hubs already has in his closet. If not - INVEST IN SOME. He will wear them time and time again!

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST - I’m here to tell you EXACTLY what to tell yo’ man to wear. Unless, of course, your hubs is a photographer and he knows better. It’s so easy for us ladies to (unintentionally) get so caught up in what we are going to wear, that choosing husband’s outfit usually doesn’t happen until late the night before (and believe me, I’M NOT SHAMING YOU). I typically recommend that your partner’s outfit be the most simple/neutral of all (so it compliments whatever you’ve chosen) and this means that they usually have some of these staples already in their wardrobe (white button up, a good pair of khakis or slim fit jeans, tan dress pants). But ladies… DON’T LET HIM FORGET ABOUT THE SHOES. You’d be amazed at how noticeable it is when a guy wears a nice outfit paired with old tennis shoes in photos. Remind him to wear something nice - A classic loafer, good pair of chukka boots - these photograph beautifully and again, are likely something your hubs already has in his closet. If not - INVEST IN SOME. He will wear them time and time again!

Ahhhh, feel better? Me too. So, some last considerations before you start preparing…

  • Choose your outfit first, and style your loved ones around that. If you’re still stuck, remember my “simple is best” rule.

  • If you’re a dress lover, keep in mind that maxi and midi dresses are preferable,, as you’re able to actually move around in these and can typically be posed while sitting down. Mini dresses can limit poses, and from an aesthetic standpoint, they lack the texture that longer dresses do.

  • If you absolutely love color, be mindful of what you choose. Super bold, neon colors (against colorful backgrounds, like greenery) can lead to unflattering casts on your skin. This is why I recommend more muted tones and natural patterns.

  • We can fix a lot of things in post, like that pimple that arose from all the stress leading up to this (HA!) - but super wrinkly clothes are not one of them. Your outfits don’t have to be perfectly kept, but do yourself a favor and make sure they are in decent shape before you walk out the door.

  • If after all of this, you’re still stuck, or you just want a second opinion… MESSAGE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER. Seriously. I will never be mad when you send me your outfit ideas or want a second opinion. You’re not a bother. Ask for help!