February 2020 Update: After you give this a read, head on over to read my more in-depth What to Wear 2.0 – Color Theory!
When you hire a photographer, you might think that getting that Instagrammable aesthetic is all about the location and your photographer's skill. But, as with most relationships, it takes two to tango! Here's some tips on what you can bring to the table to help your photographer get you those Pinterest-perfect photos.
While location can somewhat play a role in the aesthetic of your photos (and I have a whole post about locations here!), what can really make or break a photoset is often out of the photographer's control – what you choose to wear. In the photos above, there's two factors that really stand out to me from this wedding. Can you guess what they are?
The colors of the bright scarlet flowers pop out so beautifully against the white sky, white sand, and her white dress. I got lucky, because this bride is a florist herself, and designed all of her amazingly stylish floral arrangements. They also chose to bring those adorable, clear umbrellas – not to mention the little flower girl's rose gold shoes!
But as photographers, we don't always get so lucky. Typically, when we receive bookings, we only know who we're photographing, and somewhat where. What we don't know, is how you're planning to dress for your session, or what props or decorations you might bring; those variables are, to an extent, out of our hands.
"I'm not very artistic, I don't have the eye for this sort of thing!"
Now taking into consideration that I've never met you, and I also don't know your style or what's in your wardrobe, I will almost always propose the idea of coordinating outfits. Whether it be a couple's shoot or a family photo, you can't go wrong with matching colors! Let's say for a fall family portrait shoot, there's a mother, father, son, and daughter – a sweet idea might be to have dad and daughter wear mustard yellow, and mom and son to wear black with yellow accents. Just with these small outfit tweaks, we're already halfway to Pinterest fame! Now just add in a beautiful sunset glow filtering through some autumn leaves, and we're golden.
Now picture, on the other hand, if we didn't put any thought into outfits. Mom shows up wearing Uggs and Lululemon leggings, son is sporting a Giants jersey, daughter is dressed in unicorn attire from head to toe, and Dad has got on his trusty blue flannel. While there's nothing "wrong" with this, our fear as photographers is that you'll pay for a session and be left scratching your head as to why your photoset just isn't singing that tune you thought it would – did the photographer mess something up?
If you're looking for inspiration for an upcoming photoshoot, my biggest piece of advice is to check the ultimate source of Pinterest aesthetic – Pinterest itself!
It's probably where I, as a photographer, spend quite a lot of my time searching for ideas. Whether you're getting maternity, family, or even wedding photos done, it's a great idea to spend just a couple extra minutes online to see if you can find any examples that catch your eye. Once you've saved a few of your favorites, I want you to spend a moment asking yourself what it is that grabbed your attention about those photos. Study what they're wearing; do you like their clothes? Do you like the decorations? And even yes, take note of location. What I've noticed quite a lot of the time, is that a big part of what's grabbing our attention is color, contrast, and coordination.
Remember that wedding photoset up there with the colorful flowers? These spots of bright red really catch our eye, especially because the rest of the coloring is very flat and white. Something to consider is adding a pop of color to your photoshoot, so that it stands out and contrasts with your surroundings. Also consider that sometimes the eye also likes a little bit of repetition and coordination. Maybe everyone wears white, or everyone wears flannels and boots! Remember, if a family of four dresses with two people wearing one color, and two people wearing another, our brains enjoy seeing the pattern – yellow, black, yellow black.
And yes, it is always worth thinking about where you're planning to do your photoshoot! Let's say you're planning on shooting on a cool, moody, gray day near the shore – what if you wore a flowy, golden yellow skirt to contrast that? When starting the wedding planning process, pay close attention to the color schemes of the inspo photos you save – what are the color tones in the bouquets that catch your attention the most? If you see an engagement photoset that really speaks to you on Pinterest, and the woman is wearing a bold red dress in an evergreen forest – it's likely that you're subconsciously enjoying her red dress contrasting with the dark pines. Which means, all you would need to do is wear your favorite piece of red clothing, and find yourself some pine trees – your photographer can do the rest!
And that concludes my tips on achieving your Insta-famous dreams! If you're looking for any proposal, engagement, maternity, or family portrait photography, contact me today. I service New Haven, Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, Litchfield, and plenty of other regions around Connecticut!
Don't forget to head over to my new in-depth blog about the Best Colors to Wear!