These are the sessions I open in post-processing with a sigh of anticipation, wide eyes and a giggle or two of pure delight. And, more often than not, these are the sessions I find parents doing the very same thing when viewing their images later. The truth is, clothing can make or break a session. It can bring out true character, promote fun and laughter, bring color and light, or it can distract, overwhelm, or turn what could be a beautiful image into a flat, dull reflection. I didn’t understand this when I first started out. I thought by telling people to dress by a set of standard rules, I was obeying one of the basic principles of portrait photography which is: the subject is/should be the focus. While that’s true, what I didn’t realize is that clothing is as important to bringing out the character of the subject as the subject themselves. Therefore, in my opinion, clothing should be looked at as an extension of the person.
Again, with large groups, coordinated color or the old solid-colored shirts with jeans or khakis is a good rule of thumb to follow…unless you enjoy going cross-eyed while viewing a family photo of fourteen who all choose different patterned shirts to wear. But with babies, children, seniors, individuals or even small families – toss it out! Have fun! Be bold! Find out who your client is – what colors they love, what outfits they adore, what funky accessories they harbor in their closet. Have a list of recommended stores for shopping or for collecting outfit ideas. Encourage them to have fun too and help you create images that will color their world for years to come!
Below are a few photos from a recent session in which I think mom totally rocked the outfits and accessories.
Written and posted by Laura Stetser of Laura Lynne Photography.