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What to Wear for your Fall Photo Session

Besides cool, rainy days, the autumn season brings with it a beautiful setting for outdoor photo shoots. Yellow, orange, red leaves, pumpkins, and morning mists make it a popular time of year for families and engagement sessions.

As the year comes to a close, it's a perfect time to get cozy and have fun outdoors with your significant other and/or family members. The weather has cooled down and is more cooperative, and those autumn colours become the perfect backdrop!

Maybe you've booked your session and now are thinking... what to wear? I know that it can be challenging trying to decide on an outfit and colour scheme. To inspire you, I've compiled a few tips to help you plan your fall photo shoot and make it as stress-free as possible.


Before thinking of your clothes, decide on the location of the photo session with your photographer. What kind of vibe are you going for? What's your family's particular style? Will it be a fun, casual session out in the forest where you might get dirty? Or are you envisioning something where you'll be a bit more dressed up, such as downtown?

Whatever location you choose, there will be certain colours in the background that needs to be factored in. Usually, these will be greens, oranges and yellows due to the foliage, so you want your outfits to complement those colours. If you'll be out in nature, this particularly means staying away from pure white or black. White will pick up the colours around you -- the blue of the sky above or green of the grass below. Despite their trimming look, black outfits will make your image look much more heavy than you'd like.

Beyond colours, also think about footwear at the location you've chosen. Stilettos or high heels will be brutal to walk in if you're having to hike on uneven terrain or in mud. Also, avoid bright white shoes, athletic sneakers, and kids' shoes that have cartoon characters or sparkles.


So what should you wear? What I recommend for families is to let mom decide on her outfit first.

Mom -- this means picking a main colour for yourself and then choosing neutrals to go around that. The main colour can be a bit bolder & brighter, too, if that's who you are. For example, a skirt/top combo where one is a main colour and the other a neutral.) Just be sure that the colour you choose looks good on you, and is one that you actually like. You don't want to spend the next years looking at these photos and disliking the colours you're wearing!

(If you're a couple getting engagement or anniversary photos, then the same goes for the girl!)

The other colours should be neutrals: for example, tans, creams, navy, grays, and browns.

Examples: - yellow, navy, grey, cream
- orange, navy, brown, cream
- maroon, gold, tan, navy
- emerald green, navy, tan, cream
- olive green, navy, brown, cream

The colours you choose will also affect the overall look of the photo. To get a soft, glowing look, go for warmer colours such as peach, cream and brown; for a brighter and sharper look, go for bold and vivid colours. However, bold and highly saturated colours will be a distraction in the photo. As much as you can, go for muted versions of colours. Instead of bright hot pink, choose a muted dusty rose, for example.

What about patterns? The best option is primarily solids, but patterns -- in small doses -- can add some depth and interest to the photo. But say no to those big, bold prints for family sessions.

Janine has her one bold colour that goes perfectly with the yellow background -- a yellow sweater -- and light blue jeans, plus cute black booties.


Now it's time to choose your colour palette! After you've decided on mom's outfit, think about 2 or 3 coordinating colours. Some can be neutral, and one to really pop and give life to your outfits.

When choosing outfits, you'll want to coordinate colours in a way that they complement each other. (What you don't want is everyone to look matchy-matchy. E.g. don't have everyone wearing the same colour top as your spouse, or all your girls wearing the same dresses -- unless that's a particular look that you're going for, of course!)

This couple chose fall colours -- red and orange -- for their primary colours, and greys for the neutral colours. I don't usually recommend black, but it works here with the pattern on her dress!


Another thing to consider is the weather. As the day of your photo session approaches, take a look at the weather forecast and chat with your photographer about clothing choices suitable for the weather. A beautiful sunny sunset will give a different look than a grey, foggy day.

It's also important to be comfortable and warm during your photo session. If you're freezing or roasting to death, it'll be more difficult to relax and have fun. Cold kids = sad kids that are less likely to cooperate, smile, or want to participate. Most of all, do your part to make the photo session enjoyable for the kids.

If you feel stuck, try layers! You can bring a jacket, cardigan or scarf that can be taken off if you feel too warm, or put on if you're beginning to feel cold.

Steacey and Chloe both are wearing warm sweaters on this cool evening!


If you plan on printing and framing your fall photos, then you'll want to make sure that the colours in the photo match your walls and interior design! For example, if your home is mainly decorated in neutral colours, such as white muted tones, then you'll want to avoid bold, bright articles of clothing.

Since you'll be displaying these images for friends and family to see for years to come, also choose outfits that are classic over trendy. Classic styles will stand the test of time and not make you cringe in 15 years.


Your family is unique, and that's what you want to see in your photos! Despite all the photos you may see on Pinterest boards or trending posts on Instagram, you want to be the authentic you. They're great to be inspired a little bit, but make sure that your outfits and colours represent who you and your family are at this point in time. Don't compare yourself to others -- just be you!

A tip in this would be to include your kids in the planning of your outfits. If they have a say in what they wear, they may be more excited about the session! Of course, it doesn't mean letting your daughter show up in her favourite princess dress. But give them a voice about what colours to wear, and don't make them wear something they absolutely hate. Happy kiddos make for a happy session.

- Location: the background colours, and footwear
- Weather: dress appropriately and comfortably for the weather (layers!)
- Choose mom's outfit and colours first
- Choose a main colour, then neutrals around that
- Don't match your family, but choose complementary colours
- Consider the colours of your home's walls (if you'll be framing your photos)
- Be you!


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