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So you’ve booked a family photo session in the autumn season of the Pacific Northwest and there is a chance for rain, the fall colors are abundant, and you want to absolute kill it with your outfit coordination. I’m here to help!! I’ll break it down first with color theory and matching vs. coordination using a cool color palette and a warm color palette, second up is whether or not you should buy new clothing, and lastly individual article choices. I have samples of two of my most recent fall family sessions and if you make it all the way to the end, there may or may not be some bonus tips and tricks to really hone your styling skills…
So let’s do the dang thing!


COLOR THEORY and MATCHING vs COORDINATION

There is definitely a difference between matching and coordination and I’m for sure TEAM COORDINATION. Exact matching outfits never look as aesthetically pleasing as people think they do in the final images or as a cohesive printed album. Utilizing varying shades of the same color adds dimension and natural style to any family session even including the shades of blue and black jeans.
Color theory is the practical guidance of color mixing to fit a specific and personal style. When mixing colors, you should be choosing what makes you feel best. Cooler colors like dark blues + forest greens are inherently more calming while warmer colors like burnt orange, mustard yellow, and magenta might enhance the natural radiation of warmth within your family’s connections and their smiles.

COOL COLOR PALETTE:

During the prime fall season and after choosing to go with a cooler color palette for your clothing you should choose the following colors: grays, dark greens, lavender, blues, maroon and charcoal.


WARM COLOR PALETTE:

During the prime fall season and after choosing to go with a warmer color palette you should choose the following colors: dark oranges, deep dark reds, beige, browns, and yellows. All these will pair well with blue, black, and gray jeans.
*Pro tip: NEVER wear anything neon

*Pro-tip: you may have noticed some crossover colors!! This was definitely on purpose. Shades of dark greens and dark reds can absolutely go with either type of palette. Go back and look if you didn’t notice! It works right?


INDIVIDUAL ARTICLE CHOICES

First and foremost, comfort should be a priority. I want you to start with choosing one of your favorite pieces of clothing. Perhaps your best fitting jeans (you know the ones I’m talking about), boots made for walking or there is a sweater you feel 100% cozy while wearing! I would say do that for each person who will be in the photos. It is so important that everyone feels as if they can move without thought and feel their best in their own classic clothing.

I believe shoes are best fit for a fall session in neutrals like black, brown, gray, or white and know that there is possibility they will get wet, even if just from dewy grass! Again, don’t forget that they should be shoes you feel at ease wearing while taking a walk.

Accessorize! But don’t overdo it…
If you wear a watch normally, wear your sleekest one or perhaps the leather strapped one your SO gifted you for your birthday! If you are always rocking a bunch of sweet ass rings, then absolutely continue to wear those rings for your photo session. HATS are amazing and they can easily be taken off so I always recommend your nice, high quality hats no matter what. The double edged sword is if you wear something out of the ordinary or too much of one accessory then it detracts from the photo and you won’t feel like yourself when looking back at the photos or deciding which ones to print and hang.

Keeping warm or dry during your photo session can also look really good. You don’t need to sacrifice comfort here either! Jean jackets, vests, leather bomber jackets, trench coats, scarves, cardigans and peacoats add variety to your images because they can easily be taken off and put back on throughout the session if you are wearing a dress, blouse, short sleeve instead of a chunky knit sweater or flannel. Simply continue with your chosen color palette!

Laying everything out from each person’s outfit all next to each other is not crazy, in fact I would recommend doing just that. You want to be able to envision the coordination of your clothing? This is the simplest way. When doing this, it is super easy to take away and/or add pieces that may not fit with the rest of your choices.


BUYING NEW CLOTHING

My theory on buying new clothing is listening to your gut. Do I think you should go out and buy an entire new wardrobe for each person? Absolutely not. But if the timing is right and you need some new pieces anyways, then sure! If you are on a budget, do not be afraid to go thrifting. I have found some of my favorite pieces that I wear consistently at thrift stores. I typically hear from families that there was one or two pieces they didn’t have to complete the coordination like jackets and shirts, but ideally you should be able to create an ensemble with a foundation of pieces you already own.
One of the biggest mistakes made is when parents buy completely new outfits for their children and while some kids might get super excited about that, it isn’t common. If children are uncomfortable in their new clothing, it shows in your photographs.


Check out the following examples of two recent fall family sessions!

To see more of these family sessions, see them here.

Renner Family | Oregon Fall Family Photos | Canby, Oregon
Newgard Family | Oregon Fall Family Photos | West Linn, Oregon


BONUS TIPS + TRICKS!

PATTERNS and PRINTS

I don’t want to ignore the fact that almost 100% of people have patterned or printed clothing options too. I have a very simple “rule” when it comes to choosing whether you want to include your favorite plaid dress or your favorite cozy flannel. There is only room for one. The only exception is if they are coordinating prints or patterns. For example, two flannels with the same color palette, but maybe just a different size pattern and one of those people also have a jean jacket to layer.

Never wear heavily branded clothing! That’s it, that’s the tip.

Knowing your body is also very useful – knowing what fits and what doesn’t gives you the confidence of knowing you are going to like what you look like in your photos because of the flattering fit of clothing.


I hope this was helpful in choosing your outfits for your fall family session in the Pacific Northwest! Thank you for reading – pin this for future reference and to share with your friends and family members getting ready to take their family photos too!

Jen