Sunday, October 16, 2011

What to Wear - Fall/Winter Family Portraits | Helena, Montana Family Photographer

I've got a lot of mini sessions coming up with families who keep asking me what they should wear! We face a bit more of a challenge here in Montana dressing for outdoor fall and winter photos than someone in, say, Texas or Georgia, that's for sure. But then again, given that we ARE Montanans, I am convinced that we can accept the challenge and make it awesome.

What this means to you as you sit there staring into your kids' closets wondering if you're going to have to drop a small fortune on clothing before you even get to your session (quick answer: no, you're not): You're going to have to work a little, but the effort will be totally worth it years from now when you look at these photos on the wall, a tear comes to your eye and you think to yourself "Wow, fall and winter in Montana are so gorgeous, and I'm so glad we got out there and took that picture. I can't believe the kids were ever really that little. Look how they're holding hands. Look how my hubby is holding *my* hand. Look how we're all laughing and smiling and loving life. That was a memory worth making."

Just a couple rules:

-You will not show up in your ski and/or hunting gear bundled so that only your nose and eyes are showing (unless, of course, I'm going on location with you and the whole point is to capture you and your family doing what you love to do....)

-You will not all show up matching. Please, for goodness sakes, do not match. There's a fine line between matching and coordinating. We're aiming for coordinating. (If you haven't heard me say it before, do NOT and I mean DO NOT show up to our session wearing all jeans or khakis and matching white collared [or any color for that matter] shirt. I'll tell you to go home and try again. For real.)

-You will not spend an arm and a leg on brand new clothes just to look good for your family pictures.

-You will accessorize (that means heels for you, mamas!) are awesome. Jewelry, scarves, hats, shoes... Go for it! This is your chance to dig out all that stuff you bought before you had kids then stuffed into a drawer somewhere.

So how's it work? Start small. Choose one person's outfit first, then everyone else's based on that choice using a palate of two or three colors (you can always use black and white as *free* choices).

Make sense?

Some samples from my fashion-savvy family clients:

Love these choices for winter pictures. Very festive, but they don't *scream* MERRY CHRISTMAS at you. Red, blue and gray.


More from the red/blue/gray families (dad took off the sweater for most of the shots, but I love the extra splash it adds here)


OK, so this doesn't help with what to wear in the winter, but it's a great example of taking the jeans/white shirts up a notch. Or twelve. You could totally do this with sweaters and tights added in, hats and chunky scarves.... Seeing it yet??


Remember when we started I said to choose one person's outfit first, then everyone else's based on that? (It's OK, you can go back and re-read it.....) Three guesses who this family chose first. And this also proves that you don't need to be afraid of patterns. Just put the pattern on one person and pull colors from it for everyone else.


OK, again, this isn't necessarly helping with what to wear to be warm, but those colors are AWESEOME.


Blues and purples! Love it!


Oh, yay, more blues and purples!!! (Little brag here - these aren't my photos, but they're my family. I actually hired a photographer (special thanks again to Jeffrey Foote Photography) to take my own family photos last year when my grammie turned 90. We surprised her with a birthday party and all her grandkids in one place at one time. I told everyone to wear blues, purples and grays. It worked - even from long distance).


And just check out those peacoats (from Old Navy) and tights and boots on my babies! They totally stayed warm and looked adodrable all at the same time. Anything is possible!



OK, so to recap.

1. Don't match, coordinate.
2. Choose an outfit that you love for one person first, and base everything else on that.
3. Use a palate of 2 or 3 colors to start with, and fill in with black/white.
4. Accessorize.
5. Do not wear your ski or hunting gear. Unless it's ONLY for warming up inbetween. That's TOTALLY fine (as is hot chocolate. For me or your kids. Whatever).

Phew. I think we did it. Please don't hesitate to call if you have questions on anything! And if all else fails, google "what to wear for family portraits in fall". Be prepared. There's a whole lotta info out there.

See you soon!


Anonymous February 8, 2014 at 5:38 AM  

My husband is from Bozeman. We're having our pictures taken today and I'm struggling to figure out our attire. Thanks for the tips. It's tough when he wants to go sledding right before the pictures, but around here you play in the precipitation when you can, it's so rare!

Suzie Mauro February 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM  

I'm so glad this helped you out! (And I hope you had a wonderful sledding and photography experience!)

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Originally from upstate NY, then transplanted to Alaska where I found my husband and started the family chapter...  Moved to Montana after 8 years in AK -- lived in Bozeman for 4 years and settled in the mountains south of Helena for the rest of the story...

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Zo-Mak Photography is an on-location custom portrait studio based in Helena Montana. I specialize in people - all people; the people who are special to you. Bringing a fresh perspective to custom photography, Zo-Mak Photography loves vreating images of your family, children, newborn baby, roly poly baby, high school senior and wedding that will be cherished for generations.

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