Taking The Stress Out Of Outfits | Minneapolis Family And Newborn Photographer

Far and away the most frequent question I get from moms after booking a session is:

What should we wear?

For my own family’s photos I chose a color palette of blues, grays, and pops of red. (Image by  Ally Wasmund )

For my own family’s photos I chose a color palette of blues, grays, and pops of red. (Image by Ally Wasmund)

Gone are the days of matchy-matchy or everyone coming to a family session all dressed in Canadian Tuxedos, but you know what? Not wearing the exact same outfit makes choosing outfits that much more challenging. If you dress your entire family in black shirts and jeans you can cross that item off your list almost immediately. Coming in perfectly coordinated outfits is much, much more challenging.

That being said, there is a formula for coordinating!

The bad news is that it takes more effort than matching. The good news is that I’m going to give you my formula here. The extra good news is that you’re going to look SO STINKIN’ GOOD in your family photos.

Before I give you the formula for outfits, let’s set some parameters. Not all outfits are created equally and these parameters are meant to help you feel and look good.

If you listen to anything I say here, let it be this: Moms, pick your outfit first. Let it be something that you feel fabulous in.

You are beautiful and you should FEEL that way at your session; this is why your outfit is the most important. Do not be afraid to get totally gussied up, even if the session is in your own home. I’m a big believer in the mom wearing a long, flowy dress or skirt because there’s something so beautiful and romantic about that. (and I find it very difficult to not feel great in a flowy outfit). As a bonus, long dresses/skirts are easy to sit in or squat in without tugging and worrying about modesty.

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Beware of plunging neck lines. I do a fair amount of shooting overhead and if you’re worried about a straight shot down, either don’t wear it or put a camisole underneath. There’s nothing sadder than not being able to use a fabulous photo because you’re showing awkward amounts of skin.

Also be careful about sleeves. For example, large bell sleeves add additional fabric to the arms, and while they can look fantastic in person, when you’re on camera they can have a tendency to widen people’s arms and bodies. Stick to sleeves that are delicate and don’t have any more fabric than necessary.

At a loss as to where to shop? I recommend checking out stores like Gap, Asos, Rolee, and Clad and Cloth.

Avoid stark whites and blacks because they can photograph like giant blobs on camera. Opt instead for creamy ivories, delicate pinks, deep charcoals, and navys. It will give something for the film to grab onto.

Be aware of the location.  When shooting in nature, wearing green can be tricky, but light pinks or blues will definitely go with the surroundings. The trend right now is definitely on the romantic side (airy colors, and light earthy tones including creams and khakis).  These muted colors also tend to complement a nature setting, as opposed to competing with it.  

My last parameter is to play with textures and layers! From chunky knits to fuzzy vests to eyelet shirts or layering on a cardigan or taking that plaid shirt and pairing a sweater over it…these are going to give plain colors added depth and dimension and up your crew’s outfit game.

You’re finally ready for it….

How to dress your family to coordinate without matching:

Depending on your family size, pick 3-4 colors for your family to wear.  Not everyone has to wear all the colors, but each person should be wearing a color that at least one other person is wearing.  (For example, if someone is wearing a pink skirt, someone else might have pink detailing in a dress, or a pink shirt.)

Obviously, rules are made to be broken. But if you’re looking for a jumping off point, this formula will get you headed in the right direction!

If you want more inspiration, click for a Pinterest board featuring families on their outfit A-game.

Don’t forget: as your photographer I’m here to help you! You’re always free to text me clothing options and I would love to help you make decisions!

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In Defense Of Posing | Minneapolis Family Photographer

When I first started photographing families and I created my website, I touted the fact that I was a “documentary-style photographer”. And yet, I wasn’t going into peoples’ homes to document their daily living, I was taking them to a field, expecting them to act “naturally” (whatever the means), and praying they’d do exactly what I had in mind. In all honesty, I wanted to photograph the love, energy, chaos, and intimacy of a family but I didn’t know how to do that.

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If you’ve ever been on the other side of the camera you know that the one thing you want is to be told what to do.

When you’re on that other side, you have NO idea what you look like, what the scene looks like, how the energy is reading, and it makes you feel insecure. When you don’t know what to do, your default is to stand up straight and smile at the camera for every. single. shot.

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Ironically, NOT posing can make the entire session feel stiffer than what good posing can do!

At photo shoots, I think of myself as a director, guiding the people on the other side. When you stop worrying about WHAT to do, you can relax and focus on the love for and connection with your family. Not only is that kind of photo shoot more fun but it will also give you pictures you will cherish forever.

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I Used To Be Scared Of Photographing Families...Now I Love It | Minneapolis Family Photographer

Let’s address the elephant in the room: this is my first blog post in about 5 years. I’m not even sure what happened to my old blog; I’m probably still paying for it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It took about five years for me to be in a place where I could dedicate more time to my photography business. Two of my three kids are in school, my littlest is three, and already I can foresee a day soon enough in which I will be home alone all day. (And by “all day”, I mean until 2pm when they get home.)

Amy Berge Family Photographer Minneapolis Fun

Photography has remained my outlet and I hope to never stop doing it; it allows me to connect with others yet retreat to my computer (the perfect combo for my part-extroverted/part-introverted self) and it forces me to be creative, which it turns out excites and energizes me.

The biggest thing that has changed in the last five years is my love of family photography. I have always loved senior photography, and I will touch on that in a later post, but my love of family photography is kind of recent. Truth be told, I used to like it okay, but only for people I already knew. In my mind family photography entailed people looking at the camera and smiling and if you’re lucky, maybe a few shots of them playing.

But one day I joined a Facebook group and it so happened that quite a few of the members were family photographers. And what they posted blew my mind. They weren’t showing photos of families stiffly smiling at the camera, they were showing photos of families as families.

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That’s when I saw family photography can be emotional, powerful, beautiful, art.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still out to capture the ever-so-important photo of the entire family smiling at the camera, but now I know that I can capture ALL the feels. The love, the energy, the chaos, the excitement of being a family will show up in your gallery. Something that felt scary is now one of my very favorite things to do. And that feels freeing.

Amy Berge Family Photographer Twin Cities Fun