I don’t know if you’ve been out and about in any retail stores in the days since Halloween, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there! It seems like every year the holiday decorations go up a little earlier and we all feel the pressure to start our holiday planning the day after the Halloween decorations come down.
For photographers, this time of the year is one of the busiest (besides the summer wedding season for all of those wedding photographers out there!) Many families like to take advantage of the cooler weather and beautiful fall colours to have photos taken for Christmas gifts and those annual holiday cards. While there are many services out there for people to create their own cards using an online template, I still feel that nothing compares to custom cards created specifically with your family in mind.
One of the most common questions that I get when consulting with a client on their holiday card photo shoot is regarding what type of clothing style and colours I recommend. Obviously the way you dress for your family photo should reflect your personal style, and that of your family. I tend to prefer coordinating outfits in a complimentary colour scheme over outfits that are too “matchy”, and I also always recommend keeping colours in a similar tonal range. Patterns are fine as long as you don’t have competing patterns and as long as you mix the scale of the pattern (eg. one small print, another larger scale print). You can add interest to the photo by adding fabrics that have texture, and adding accessories can spice things up a bit. Try layering outfits so that you can change the look of your photos by adding or subtracting a jacket, a scarf, etc.
You can see from the three looks above that great style for holiday photos doesn’t have to be boring!
Another thing to keep in mind is where you would like your finished photos to hang in your house. Consider the decor and style of that area, and choose colours in your clothing that will compliment your decor rather than compete with it. Try to keep your style timeless by avoiding strong fashion trends and select pieces that are classic and simple.
In the hectic moments of preparing your family for their holiday photos, try to remember to pay attention to the details. Make sure that socks match pants, select footwear appropriate for the outfits, iron wrinkles out of button-up shirts, etc. Nothing is more frustrating than to look at a photo after the fact and realize that little Sammy has orange socks on with his jeans and runners. Also try to avoid large logos and emblems on clothing, which can be distracting and draw the eye away from the subject.
One additional thing to remember when dressing for your holiday photos is to dress to suit the location and weather conditions. It is hard to look great in a photo when you are cold and uncomfortable, so try to select clothing that looks great and will be practical as well. If you want to wear high heels for your photos, take along a comfortable pair of shoes for walking in and out of locations. If you are shooting outdoors in the snow, wear hats and mittens; on the beach, rolled up pants and bare feet or open shoes can be great (if the weather allows!); in the woods, wear boots and sweaters… you get the idea!
My final word of advice is to wear an outfit that you feel great in. We all know how confident we feel when we put on something that makes us look our very best, and that attitude will shine through in your photos as well.
Big thanks to Corina Nielsen for the What to Wear looks above!