Georgia Lilley Photography

Launceston, Tasmania

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What to Wear to Your Portrait Session

Check out my top 5 tips that'll help you prepare for your family portrait photography session.

Often deciding what to wear to your portrait session can be the biggest hurdle. It can be very easy to overthink. Have no fear – I’m here to simplify the entire process for you. Follow these five tips to have the whole family feeling relaxed and looking terrific.

1. Keep it Simple

One of the reasons I choose a minimalist approach in my photography is because I want the focus of the photo to be on my subject – you! I don’t use props or decorations, because I believe a timeless portrait needs no adornment, and the same goes for your outfits. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, I’ll bet you have something perfect in your closet right now. Remember, if in doubt, simplify.

2. Avoid Loud Patterns, Text and Logos

I love a good band shirt or designer label as much as the next cool and sophisticated person (is it obvious yet that I am not that person?) but again, we don’t want the clothes pulling focus. Besides, brands and logos can date very quickly these days. For a timeless, elegant look, avoid bold patterns, loud or clashing colours, letters and images. If possible, I would also recommend avoiding blue jeans – dress pants will be better at providing that timeless quality.

3. Neutral and Light Toned Colours Are Best

A maternity portrait on film of a couple in a clean, minimalist studio. The pregnant woman has red hair and wears a pink dress. They are both smiling. Shot on Portra 400 by Georgia Lilley in Launceston, Tasmania.

White, cream, grey, brown and other shades of soft neutrals are all fantastic. But a pop of colour can also breathe life into a photograph! My favourite film for family sessions is Portra 800 – a professional grade Kodak film stock which captures colour with stunning warmth and vibrancy. Opt for lighter tones like pastels where possible, and try to make sure the kid’s clothes are complimentary colours. I also recommend avoiding black where possible.

4. Less is More

Yes, you could wear every piece of jewellery you own and your most glam make-up, and that hat that you love and your favourite jacket – but what would it really be adding? This one goes back to the first step: keep it simple, and don’t be tempted to over-accessorise. The same goes for the kids. Their gorgeous little faces will be all you need to see in thirty years time!

5. Wear Something You Feel Great In!

Portrait on film of a girl dressed like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. She is jumping on a white bed in a minimalist studio. Photo by Georgia Lilley on Portra 800 in Launceston, Tasmania

This is the most important step of all. If you take nothing else away today, let it be this! The aim is to feel your most confident and comfortable during your session. This can best be achieved by wearing an old favourite, something you KNOW is comfy and makes you feel great, as opposed to an outfit you’ve never worn before.

What to wear to your portrait session?

One final piece of advice: these are YOUR photos, they’re going to sit on YOUR mantle. So if your family loves loud patterns and glam makeup, feel free to ignore any and all of these tips! I never want you to pretend to be someone you’re not.

These tips are intended as a guide to get you started, but the key ingredient to a great photo is your authenticity; that’s where the magic happens.

As long as you have that down, you’re onto a winner in my book!

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