Probably the most popular question a photographer receives is, “what do I wear?” Since I’ve realized that your style and wardrobe will be different for different session types, I figured I would write a bit about what I recommend wearing, especially for my style of photography. This post is for Tree Farm Mini Sessions in particular, but a lot of the guidance is applicable to almost every session I shoot. (If you haven’t booked your Tree Farm Family Mini Session for 2021, click here to book before they fill up!)
Be True to Yourself (and the Location)
When thinking about your family photography, drop the expectations of what other people wear to photo sessions, or a family you’ve seen on Instagram who looked amazing. If you never, ever wear jeans, don’t wear them to a photo session. If you don’t own a dress, don’t buy one for your session. Above all, I recommend planning your wardrobe around clothes you already own, or clothes that would blend in with your wardrobe that you would wear again.
My family photos tell a story about your family, and for your story to be true, you need to be yourself. This doesn’t mean dress in pajamas (there’s a session for that though), but you can dress in something you feel comfortable in that you’ll relate to when you see your photos.
Also consider what you would realistically wear to a tree farm to purchase a tree. The ground is very uneven and may have sticks or bumps, so you want sturdy footwear (more on that later). You may be most comfortable in jeans or leggings and a great tunic, and if that’s what you would choose to wear to a tree farm, it makes sense to wear to your session. All that being said, stick to items that are clean with no rips or tears (unless you’re absolutely committed to that look), and avoid cargo pants or anything with unusual pockets or loops.
Dress for the Weather
Tree farm sessions are usually held in late fall, and it can get cold quickly. I remember having my photos done during a tree farm session. My hands were tucked into my sleeves for almost all the photos because it was so cold. I recommend checking the weather the day of your session and making sure your planned outfit is warm enough, perhaps even having a two decided outfits for the day depending on predicted temperatures. A warm sweater, a vest, or even a warm dress with thick tights can be enough.
Choose your Patterns & Colors Wisely
If you have a patterned clothing piece that you like (say, a dress or button-down shirt), plan that person’s outfit first, and plan coordinating solids around that person. While Buffalo plaid is very cute, it doesn’t photograph well, especially not if the whole family is wearing it.
Grays and muted solids photograph very well, as well as deep, rich colors like scarlet or plum. Wearing black can make your photos feel darker, but if it is true to who you are, don’t shy away from it.
Putting It All Together
Because mini sessions at the tree farm are a limited duration on a strict schedule, you may not have time to remove and shoot without accessories like scarves or hats. If you want to include a scarf or hat, you’re more than welcome to, but it may end up being included in most or all of your photos.
Lastly, SHOES! Shoes are the ONE thing I buy extra for my son for holiday sessions. I always make sure I have clean boots or solid shoes for him, not gym or tennis shoes, that will compete an outfit. Dads usually have a pair of boots that can look good with a pair of jeans. Moms look wonderful in boots, booties, or flats.
That being said, my goal as a lifestyle family photographer is to photograph your family how you are so you can remember this time for years to come. If your youngest only wears unicorn ballet flats, then let it be. You’ll look back at this in 5 years and smile.