Home » Baby Photography » Tips on choosing outfits for Professional Photoshoots

I am always asked prior to photoshoots on ideas on what to wear. These are very loose guidelines just to give you some ideas. It is most important for you and your partner or family to feel comfortable but it’s worth making that extra effort which will make all the difference to the images. Always try and make an effort with your hair and keep nails neat. As all my photography packages include at least one professional make-up application you can be assured that mum will look fab.

Timeless Style

Your images will be on display for many years to come  and that you will still love after decades. Therefore choose outfits that aren’t too trendy,  but that you still love and feel gorgeous in.  Denims always work well and can be dressed up or down. You can still have a classic chic look but accent with your own fashion flair with cute tops and accessories.  You need to feel comfortable but still feel gorgeous.

Coordinate outfits

This is always a tough one, as you don’t want to look like a line of penguins or game rangers. Therefore not everyone has to 100% match with khaki pants or denims and a white shirt, you need to break it up a bit. You want to complement each other’s outfits by choosing colors that work well together.  It always tends to look a bit bland if everyone is wearing the same clothing, and there won’t be too much pop to the images. However coordinating outfits can work well with very large group shots.



This particular family chose champagnes and cream tones to dress in which was very elegant and timeless


Use colors & patterns

Most people are often scared to wear a lot of colour and it really can bring images to life.  Again, be sure the colors you use coordinate with each other and you don’t just end up looking like a circus. When picking patterns, choose smaller ones that won’t distract attention away from the main subject/s. I always recommend avoiding tiny pinstripes that often can get lost in a larger shoot and your top can therefore just look washed out. Patterns are great and especially florals are very on trend right now but use patterns sparingly. If one person is wearing a print, try to avoid putting someone else in a clashing pattern. Think about texture too, choose different ones that will give photos some interest such as lace, corduroy, denim, cable knits etc.  Avoid large logo’s, emblems and graphics especially cartoon characters because again, these will typically distract attention away from the subject (ie you).

Incorporate your personalities

One of my key objectives is to capture each individual as they truly are, to capture the family dynamics and energy, and people in the photos just as they are.  Don’t force children to wear outfits that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them as this will cause stress and could cause them to be difficult at the session and we won’t be able to as easily capture their personalities during the session.  Ditto for dads, fiancés and family. Wear clothing that you feel fabulous and it will shine through in the pictures.  If your child wears a pair of gum boots everywhere he goes, it makes the most sense to have him wear them for pictures as well. Remember, you also want to capture everyone as they are at that specific time.

Dress for the season & location

Dress for the season, one typically wouldn’t be wearing denims, boots, and a jacket to the beach in summer so why would you for pictures?  Dress the part and be aware of your location. Ensure that everyone is on the same page and coordinates in both colors and styles.


Layering can always make a shoot interesting and is one of my favourite “tips” for clothing choices.  In most months of the year you can definitely layer your outfits.  Not only will it provide more visual interest in each photo but it will also allow a lot more variety in your shots and poses.  To break up a shoot of you in your dress or cute top and jeans add interest with a little jersey or jacket and a hat and you have entirely different look.

Reflect your personality

These are YOUR images and of course you want them to speak volumes about you and your family.  Discuss things your family enjoy doing together and you may bring “props” and accessories that will help compliment who you are. Bring along items that will represent who each individual is AND who your family is collectively.

Bear your home in mind

Bear in mind where your family photos are going to be placed in your home. This is typically not something everyone will keep in mind before their session.  However, I always encourage clients to think about their home, their decor, colors, and style of their homes.  This will ensure that any large portraits will coordinate beautifully. I will always advise on canvass layouts and give interesting ideas on placement.

Plan ahead

Make sure you have given yourself enough time to think about all of the details of your session.  Plan ahead so that #1 you can truly think about your photos and everything you want out of the session, #2 you aren’t rushing and stressing out right before your session or stressing your kids out before the session, and #3 if you have decided to go for a new look for your session or someone gets a bad haircut, you still have time to fix things if you need to. I will always consider a rain plan so I usually have that covered. Also make sure you haven’t organised maintenance on your home or in your garden during your session  as this can be very disruptive as well as make for very messy background (landscaping). Please also don’t organise important meetings/appointments straight after your session. Small children take time to work with and we work at their pace often distracting them and playing with them to make them feel more comfortable. Hence we don’t want to rush them and stress them out. Please ensure that your childrens daily routine has not been hugely interrupted before the session that they have their bellies full and have had a sleep if necessary. This will make the shoot that much easier for you and for me. I will try and accommodate your needs as much as possible bearing the light and location in mind.

Keep make up natural, but still have some on

As I always include professional make-up for mums or ladies in my shoots I always ask a few questions before I go ahead to ensure the look we create  a look that is still in keeping with your personality and that you are comfortable with it.

Ladies & their shoes

I’m all for a cute shoes, however they may make for a very long and painful session.  If you plan on wearing heels, be sure to bring a pair of flats or flip flops that can help you get from point A to point B without any pain especially if we are in a park.  You can just swap them out as you need to.

If  I were building outfits for my family this is how I would go about it:

  1. Keeping your location in mind, start with one person.  Don’t try and think of everyone at the same time.  I find that mom or a little girl makes the most sense since they would typically be the ones wearing a print.  So little girl will be wearing a floral print dress.
  2. Now move on to the next person.  You will be pulling colors from mom’s/little girls dress so begin to think about who in the family would look good in what colors.  Dad doesn’t look so good in XYZ since it tends to drown out the tone in his skin.  Let’s pick ABC for him instead.  And so on….

Wrapping it all up

Photo sessions are not easy, keeping Dad (who never wants to be there) and kiddies happy can be challenging. To make it worthwhile for you plan ahead and go with the flow…As I have three very small children myself (6,4 and 2 years) – trust me I am in the “zone”  and I photograph  children all the time… we go at their pace distracting them. If we have planned carefully it can be a very smooth experience. If you think your child is coming down with a temperature or is miserable try and phone me the day before and we can reschedule the shoot as conveniently as possible for everyone.




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  • About Sinéad Brook

    Sinéad has a photography studio located in Parktown West, Johannesburg. As a personal branding headshot photographer and visual marketing expert Sinead will help you visually create a polished brand that authentically shows your brand story. Professional Photography packages services range from capturing precious family memories, cutting edge authentic corporate headshots to creating a brand story for entrepreneurial start ups. All shoots are inclusive or professional organic make up.

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