Last week we kicked off our blog post series on summer photo tips by talking about my favorite iPhone apps for Photosanity.
This week I'm going to talk about another favorite topic that has been on my mind with the start of summer and that is... summer outfits!
Of course, there are cute kid outfits for any season, but there's something about summer where you can really have fun with bright colors, fun accessories and adorable swimwear.
And one of the benefits of photography is that you can immortalize your favorite outfits... and maybe even justify a bit of a splurge on outfits that, through your photos, can be thought of as not just for a season but for a lifetime!
Here are my top 5 tips on photo friendly clothing:
1) Be deliberate.
Don't just throw "whatever" on your kids when you know you are planning on taking photos. That doesn't mean they have to dress fancy, but think ahead a little and make sure you put them in one of your favorite outfits (we all have not-so-favorites that they can wear on days when nothing special is planned, right?)
And if your kids like to dress themselves, that's great! Just let them know they should pick their favorite outfit and maybe some of your least favorites just so happen to be in the laundry that day...
2) Pick what looks good to you, has meaning, expresses personality and tells the story.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: don't worry about what looks good objectively, or to an "artistic eye". This is not about becoming a stylist, this is about how to best capture the moment.
If you are photographing your kids together, they don't have to match but try and make sure they don't, in your eyes clash.
I always suggest to my portrait clients that they lay the family's outfits out on a sofa or bed and if they look good together to them, that's all that counts. That may be overkill for informal photos that you are taking but it's something to keep in mind if you have more than one child/person you are photographing.
3) Avoid anything too distracting.
Some photographers are sticklers for avoiding graphics, logos and patterns in clothing for photos. I'm less extreme, but the only things I suggest avoiding are wide, contrasting stripes as they can be very distracting. Certainly large graphics, words and logos can be distracting also - you'll have to decide, but if it reflects the child's personality and/or is a favorite shirt with special meaning, then go for it!
Liam and Jack mostly wear graphic tees and there are many that I love and have no problem photographing them in. I do also look out for solids but I find quality is more important with solids and they are harder to find. Tea Collection is one of my favorites though, for both graphics and solids!
4) Comfort is key.
You want your kids to feel comfortable and natural, so don't torture them by dressing them up in outfits that make them look and feel uncomfortable just for photos. Of course, if you have to for another reason (eg a wedding or other special event) then by all means take advantage of that opportunity and take some photos too. And of course, if they love to dress up, then great.
Otherwise, no cute outfit is worth ruining the experience of your child... because it will ruin your memory of the moments you capture in photos too.
Cute hats, sunglasses, sandals, even swim accessories like goggles, armbands, beach towels and floaties can all feature in your photos to help tell the story and capture the moment.
Again, don't use "props" just for photos because it will look and feel unnatural, but look for the extra items that will add meaning.
Of course, your kids could be in the perfect outfits but if you can't get them to cooperate for your photos, you are going to be frustrated.
Stop missing the moment
A lot of parents tell me one of their biggest problems is that they are always missing the moment. In my new online self-guided workshop, Stop Missing the Moment: an Introduction to Photosanity, based on the popular workshop I have been giving on person, I give you simple high impact strategies in a series of six videos, each 10 minutes or so, plus a PDF reference guide.
You'll learn the biggest mistake parents make that has them missing the moment, how to start experimenting with getting out of auto on your DSLR (included is my "get out of auto cheat sheet"), how to create a simple organization system if you don't have anything in place, and the critical step to getting photos successfully off your hard drive and onto the walls of your home.
Included with all my online workshops now is membership in the newly created Photosanity Peer-to-Peer Facebook group. The online Photosanity community has always been something special that I could never have predicted, and I'm enjoying hearing from long time alumni as well as those more recent to Photosanity. Everyone has been introducing themselves and sharing wonderful thoughts and photos and this week's photo theme is "down low". I can't wait to see what the group comes up with.
Come and join us!
And if you have already purchased a Photosanity workshop or service in the past, check your email for details on joining the group for free, or get in touch for more info!