There's one thing we hear quite a lot about living in Northern Ireland and that's if you don't like the weather just wait a few moments.... the shoot was planned for later in the evening but the forecast was bad so we moved it to earlier in a hope of avoiding some of the showers that was forecast.
Sophie, Hannah & Bethany were great little models for the day you would nearly think they had been bribed ? (hope you got the ice creams on the way home girls) even mum & dad got in on the posing for a couple of shots. The girls loved to play on the beach and were even hard to convince to take shelter in the caves when the showers did start, we managed to avoid them rightly until the last shots of the evening and the heavens just opened and cleared the beach as everybody made a dash for the car.
One of the hardest parts about family pictures is picking outfits that not only look good together, but look good for the location you will be having them taken. Here are my top tips for choosing clothes that you will love for your family portraits!
#1. Consider The Location.
You may not have ever thought of this before. It actually took me several hours of studying family photos that I liked one day to notice that the backdrop totally makes or breaks the outfit! And this is step #1 because most of the time this is the first thing that is planned. We usually are picking the location before anything else because the blossoms are in full bloom or fall for the colorful leaves, or this specific grove of trees looks amazing right after it snows. My clients usually have a specific location in mind when they call so I know I’m not alone when I see a beautiful place and think, “that would be a great place for our family photos!”. “I need to set up a time to get our photos taken!”
When considering your backdrop when picking your outfits you will want to find colors, shades and tones that contrast the location. For example, light solid colors will really stand out against a forested mountain location. The clothing we wear can can compete with the backdrop if not considered. Bright and bold pattern clothing will look best in a neutral location like the Sand Dunes, Salt Flats, or a studio with solid neutral walls.
With busy locations such as the mountains, orchards, or colorful city backdrops you will want to stick with neutral colors and soft patterns to create some contrast between you and the background.
When in doubt, solid or subtle patterns in neutral colors and tones are a safe choice if you just aren’t sure! I totally recommend looking at lots of family photos to see what you like and don’t like. Pinterest is a great resource for this!
This cute family below loves bright colors. They knew we would be taking these photos in an apple orchard where green and the bright sky would be the dominate colors. So they wore colors that would pop against the green and white. There was also a red shed in the orchard and even though red was worn it still worked for the look they were hoping for!
#2. Pick a color palette.
You will want to consider your location like step one, neutral / soft colors and tones for bold locations. Saving the bold color for neutral locations. Neutral locations are easy, really whatever works, but whatever you choose will determine the look and feel of your photos.
If you don’t know where to begin then go online to find what you like and don’t like. Pinterest is a great resource for this as well. You can even find color palette examples to find tones that look good together.
#3. Pick moms first
A lot of moms dread picking their outfit because it’s the hardest! They pick something darling for their kids and then can’t find anything for themselves that coordinates. You can even choose your outfit before the location and color palette if needed! Go to your closet or shopping and find something that makes you feel confident and pretty. If you feel good in what you wear that will shine through your expressions in your photos and visa vera! Husbands and kids are usually more adaptable so make sure you focus on YOU first! Trust me, avoid the urge to start with the kids clothes that are always so cute! Start with mom. It will be worth it!
#4. Don’t force your family to wear something they hate.
Just like you, you want the whole family to feel confident, comfortable, and looking good in their outfit. When someone is uncomfortable in their clothes they are constantly tucking and adjusting which results in stiff smiles and poses. When one feels confident and comfortable they will not be focusing on their clothes, their attention will be turned to the family and genuine smiles and reactions will be captured. That’s what truly makes a beautiful photograph.
Photographing a family has to be the finest way to spend an evening especially in a location like Ballintoy Harbor. Ballintoy has to be my favorite place on the north coast of Northern Ireland you’ll see what we mean when you look at the photos! .
The session was originally planned for the previous weekend, but we were met with a questionable weather forecast which turned out to be completely wrong. We decided to cancel and go for the following Saturday, and let me tell you, we’re so happy we switched because this time we had nearly 20 degree heat! It was the most beautiful June evening for a family session.
I hope you enjoy some of our favorites from your family session!
What can I say about the beautiful countryside around the village of Stranocum.... only that its made better with wonderful company and thats what these pair are. The photo session just flew in and the conversation and crack flowed like the River Bush we were next too.
During this lockdown I think we've all got to spend more time closer to home than we had planned but it also made me realise just how gorgeous a country we call home. Laura and Joe suggested an area known to the locals around the Armoy / Stranocum area as "The Metal Bridge" to us locals, a foot bridge over the River Bush. The area is a wonderful walk along the banks of the river frequented by dog walkers and fishers alike and the scenery is as stunning, its well worth a visit if you've never been.
The best part of photographing families is getting to watch how they grow & now that lockdown is gradually easing and were allowed to venture into parks and gardens even with social distancing I couldn't wait to capture some of those treasured memories again for Kenza, Chrisy & the boys.
Antrim castle makes for a great photoshoot opportunity, there's loads of choice for backgrounds and lots of room to explore, especially for kids. Spring has to be one of the best times to visit with all the new growth on the plants and trees, daisies through the grass and the sounds of the birds all around.
Vickie & Danny's engagement session at Dunseverick Harbour was so much fun. As Vickie is a photographer as well there an added nervousness to the shoot on my part but as a couple they were absolute naturals in the front of the camera and not to mention, they looked amazing! Those outfits paired so well with the stony seascape of the Dunseverick Harbour & Vickie even dared to brave the cold to show off your new tattoo with the coordinates of where Danny popped the question.
TO Vickie & Danny:
Thanks for trusting us with your photos and for being 100% on board with everything I asked ya’ll to do, especially that weird spinning Vickie around prompt! Yous are so sweet and exude so much happiness together. Even though your wedding plan sounds like such a long way off, we’re sure it’ll be here before you know it. Hope you love some of our favourites from your Dunseverick engagement!
Sometimes, even though your photographer isn’t in the photo, there can be all of this evidence of them in the making of it – stiff fingers and frozen grins – and it pulls you out of the pictured moment and into the process of making the image.
When I make pictures, my goal is always to take myself out of the equation. I want to draw you into the moment instead of pulling you out. I love a oversized grin or a strand of hair blowing in the wind. I love all the parts of you that beg not to be contained.
That’s why these photos bring me so much joy. As we explored the beach, the White Rocks outside Portrush, and I ended up soaked to the ankles, we captured the family taking some time out the everyday routine to make memories, I became a witness to record forever the family's energy and vibrance. Megan, Alan & the two girls were an amazing family to work with and full of fun, it made capturing their family time photography easy, even the weather was good if a wee bit cold.
My biggest goal when capturing family lifestyle photos is to make them real, just spend time with people and have a laugh while exploring around the area were in. I love to just go for a dander and capture those special moments as people interact, hopefully they forget I'm even there with my camera thats when the best photographs are made.
And for the 1000th time while taking pictures, I fell completely in love with photography, this beach, and this wild and wonderful life.
When you’re trying to create a beautiful and timeless family portrait it is important that you choose the right clothing. Just Google bad family portraits to see why. There are lots of hilarious outfits and concepts which make great Facebook profile photos and future blackmail material. But when it’s time to tell your family story you really want to get it right, and you want it to resist looking dated!
Not too long ago it was popular for the whole family to wear white shirts and blue jeans. In fact, your Google search will probably return lots of matching outfits in family portraits. These days, however, the trend is to coordinate, not match for a couple of reasons. First, this is the best way to show off each family member’s unique personality. And second, not every outfit looks good on every person. Those white shirts will wash out most skin tones, and not every cut works on every body.
So when my clients ask me, “What should we wear,” I feel their pain. It can be difficult enough picking something out for yourself, let alone making a small brood coordinate and look fashionable while taking into consideration the weather, the backdrop, and whether or not the young ones’ outfits will show grass stains. But don’t worry! I’ve outlined some simple instructions below to help you narrow down your wardrobe choices for your next family portrait.
WHAT TO WEAR
Neutral, coordinating colours. Do not match! Like I said above, not every colour or fit works for every person. Mix colours that go well together but are not exactly the same. This is easiest done using neutral colours, which will also weather the years better than bright, bold colours.
Patterns like plaids, stripes, and florals. You can even mix-and-match them, and don’t be afraid to layer them with solid colours and denims.
Fitted clothes. Tailored outfits will always look better than loose-fitting clothing. If you feel the need, wear Spanx to smooth rolls (evrybody has them). Also, you should choose a cut that works best on each family member’s body type.
Closed-toe shoes. There are few instances when you should go barefoot or wear sandals, but in general most people should wear closed-toed shoes. This can include fashionable boots, dress shoes, and sneakers.
Jeans. It is not an absolute, but don’t be afraid of them, including torn jeans if that’s your style.
Sleeves. Of course take the season into account when choosing the cut of your top, but most people should wear sleeves.
Layers. Often my clients like to get a little bit of wardrobe variety in their portrait session, but let me tell you that with kids you won’t have time to change! Family sessions usually move along rather quickly as we try to fit in as many shots as possible while children are cooperating. So by layering rather than bringing a change of clothes you can quickly and easily change up your look.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR
Unfitted t-shirts. This includes any kind of loose t-shirt or sport top.
Anything with logos or graphics. In my experience the only acceptation to this rule is children who cannot yet walk (because they literally cannot object to being dressed in hilariously ironic and adorable clothing).
Ball caps or practically any other kind of hat. Though you’ll see fashionable hats on Pinterest, that fashionable hat will leave a shadow over your eyes and a red ring around your forehead.
Sleeveless shirts, strapless tops, or halter tops. This is not a hard rule, but I recommend that people wear sleeves. The brightest part of your photographs will be the most noticeable. Because our faces are generally always exposed to the sun and our arms often aren’t, the skin on our arms is usually lighter than our faces. This can be exaggerated in photographs, and result in a very distracting arm situation.
Anything that shows your bra straps or under pants.
All white or all black.
Velcro sandals, any kind of running shoe or skate shoe, or crocks.
Short dresses. A short dress can significantly limit your ability to pose comfortably for your photos. Test out your favourite dress to see if it’s appropriate for your session by sitting on the ground. If you cannot comfortably sit in it, it will be best to choose a dress that is longer or opt for pants.
NOW FOR THE KIDS
Avoid dressing your little ones in short dresses as they have a tendency to ride up. You will spend most of your session playing! Be sure that the outfit you’ve chosen to dress your little one in is play-time appropriate.
Try your best to hide diapers. Bloomer pants are a great choice, and a longer shirt (tucked in or not) will help as well. It is not absolutely imperative that diapers are covered up. I recommend that you do a wardrobe test-run and if you find yourself fiddling with your child’s clothing to cover up their mid-section, diaper, or underpants, choose a different outfit.
Be careful with accessories. Often children don’t want to wear hats or scarves and will remove them. In other cases they’ll use them to hide from the camera. Remember that the important part is not the outfit, but the moments that are captured of your family. Just go with the flow if your child removes accessories to avoid crying.
You’re looking fabulous now! It’s easier to dress for family portraits than you might think. Practically any pattern and texture is great, and you can feel free to mix and match styles to show off your personalities. By focusing on cuts that look best on each individual family member, everyone will arrive at your session feeling confident. And when you mix neutral colours you’ll be sure that your family portrait will still look great 20 years from now.
I thought it time to write a quick post about how my family sessions work & to answer some of your questions ?
So, here we go..
Before your session, we have a consultation (a chat on the phone to discuss details, the perfect location, day and time, what to wear, ideas for your session and also for us to get to know each other a little bit ? ).
A few days before, I'll send you a wee reminder (to make sure you put your favorite outfit in the washing machine and that it is ready for our session)!
While we're at the location (or your home if you chose) you do the things you love to do as a family and I photograph everything that is going on! I'm always looking for candid moments and interactions, but sometimes I ask you to do certain poses, smile and look at the camera too ? .
Once I get home, I download your precious photos first thing & save a copy of the raw files to my cloud storage (I'm always really anxious to see them on the big screen ? Then I start editing your photos, I get rid of all the ones you blinked, and make sure only the fabulous ones make it to your proofing gallery! I give your photos a special Photoshop TLC and get them ready to print (I love to see them on paper ?)
I will send you a private link & password to your proofing gallery.
You choose the ones you LOVE!
If you order an album, I will design it then and send you a link for you to approve it!
Finally, I post your photos or album to you ?
A year later we do it all over again!
That's it pretty much ?
Ready to book you session?
Need more info? Check my family photos. Check my pricing.