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Wardrobe Suggestions
by Melissa Darst

 

Use my “style guide” below for ideas and inspiration as you prepare for your upcoming photography session. I hope you will find these simple suggestions to be helpful. While photos are all about the subjects, the wardrobe can be that finishing touch that will take your portrait to another level!


What Photographs Well?

  • Bold colors. Keep your location in mind and choose colors that contrast nicely. For example, a green shirt may not be the best choice if taking your pictures on grass.
  • Patterns. Tradition may advise steering clear of patterns and items that may date your photos, but I practice the very opposite! While solids are strong and classic, basic patterns like stripes, plaids, argyle and polka dots can add a little fun to your pictures.
  • Layers. Layering is a great way to add texture to your photos and pull in some other colors or fabrics. Even in spring and summer, you can layer with tank tops and polos.
  • Texture. Fabrics like corduroy, velvet and tweed, details like ruffles, buttons or flowers, or items like tutus or pettiskirts all add dimension and detail to your photos.
  • Accessories. Items such as hats, jewelry, scarves, rain boots and sassy shoes are easy and quick ways to achieve multiple looks without changing your clothes. They also add fun pops of color and texture to your images.
  • Coordinate. For group shots, go for “coordinating” and complimentary patterns rather than “matching.” Pick a color scheme (black, white and red) and start mixing it up!

Melissa Darst

 
Pulling It All Together
Here is a great example of a family whose style aligns with my wardrobe suggestions.
  • Bold colors and consistent color scheme – purple, black and gray.
  • Complimentary patterns – striped shirt on boy, varying solids on middle girl and pinstripe vest and plaid skirt on tallest girl.
  • Layers – the tallest girl’s vest and the girls’ tights with boots.
  • Texture – embroidery on boy’s shirt, tiered layers on middle girl’s skirt and a tulle layered skirt on tallest girl.
  • Accessories – the girls threw on a hat for a quick alternate look!

Melissa Darst

Remember, you don’t have to go out and buy new things for your session. My advice is to look at how places like GAP dress their models and pair outfits together, and then go raid your kids’ closets to achieve a similar look! If you do want to splurge and go shopping, some of my favorite places for outfits that photograph well are the GAP, Children’s Place, Crazy 8 and Ella Bella.

 
Newborns
  • Don’t worry about outfits for newborns! My recommendation is always their birthday suit for a series of “skin” shots. All black is always a nice option for Mom and Dad.
  • For color and texture, I strongly recommend hats or cocoons (below) as accessories. Check out etsy.com for a fabulous selection – search “TrickyKnits” and “MadAboutColour” or “SarahLamont” for some of my favorite sellers.
  • For girls, diaper covers, Ali flower clips from Ella Bella (below) or other headbands are another nice finishing touch and will clearly showcase your little angel as a girl!
  • Barefoot is almost always best!

Melissa Darst

 
Babies & Kids
  • Girls. Pettiskirts and tutus are a classic hit! Ideas beyond the everyday hair looks include pigtails, headbands, Ali flower clips from Ella Bella, hats or big bows/flowers.
  • Boys. Little ties and vests or golfer/newsboy hats are great accessory ideas! Another personal favorite is to layer a t-shirt over a button-down shirt. Vintage tees are always a nice option for boys.
  • Shoes. Barefoot can be best, especially for spring and summer, but I also love shoes! Ideas include converse, cowboy boots, knee-high boots paired with funky tights, etc.
  • Attachments. If there is something your child is really attached to or “in” to, use that as inspiration for the shoot! Examples include your child’s favorite rain boots that they insist wearing everyday or a Superman shirt for those superhero stages or even a skateboard, golf club or hockey stick!

Melissa Darst


We love Melissa's creative style and her fresh perspective in regard to photography. A very "hands-on" photographer, as Melissa says she'll "do just about anything - sing, dance, get dirty - to bring that perfect picture to life through my lens." Melissa loves working with babies, children, and families the best. She strives to capture the essence of the child's personality by shooting mostly candids as opposed to the traditional posed portraiture. It's all about being real and genuine in her photographic approach. Part of the reason that Melissa loves capturing those special moments in time within your family is because she treasures her own family and understands just how you feel. This quote from her website, www.melissadarstphoto.com, says it all . . .

I am a mom to two beautiful kids and the most perfect husband in the whole world. It is to them that I owe the inception of this venture and it is because of them and my faith in the Lord that I am inspired. "Every good and perfect thing is from above" - James 1:17

Click here to download a printable version of Wardrobe Suggestions.

 
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