01 February 2008

Photographing Children: Styling Tips for Mums

In the second of our photography tips for mums, Rose has offered to provided a few ideas on how to style the kids for the photo session.  Although Rose doesn't work for me, she has assisted on styling of models at some of my fashion shoots, and has been known to offer advice to mums before portrait sessions.  Rose has a really strong design eye, and seems to instinctively know what works together.

So over to Rose.

Hi, I'm Rose, keen snapper and mum of two.  When it comes to my family I always consider it a bonus when leaving the house if
  1. we are all dressed - pyjamas don't count!
  2. we are not all wearing recent meals - at least not visibly!
The times we have to 'dress up' be smart or attend any parties only means that I'm the sacrificial lamb in that I can only ever seem to get two out of the three of us fit for public consumption.

With Mother's Day creeping up fast, a nice photograph of the children can be made really special by absorbing the following pointers to a life of eternal style (as if!!!).  Good luck and remember to reward your efforts with a glass of wine!

  • Co-ordination for the nation
Co-ordinate your group's clothes - no, not perfectly matching identikit freaks like the twins in The Shining.   Think tonal shades of khaki/biege or blues.  Dual colours such as chocolate and pink or denim and white make for a fresh feel too.  If you are photographing outside, remember to think about co-ordinating with coats, scarves, gloves and hats.

  • Location, Location, Location
Think background.  If you are shooting in the woods, earthy tones with shots of burnt orange blend really well.  Gardens with green bushes and lawns can benefit from some punchy denims and blue shades, or strong, vibrant pinks.  Forget about what some people say about blue and green together - they can bring each other alive - think oceans and peacock feathers.

  • No Plain No Gain
Jumpers with characters, slogans or emblazoned with brand names, no matter how expensive, well-loved or funny just date quickly, and can become the thing that catches your eyes in the photograph, rather than the child.

  • Channel Your Inner Kate Moss (the one under all the Cadburys)
Even a fairly impromptu shot can be polished by everyone quickly going barefoot, or throwing on hats or scarves.  Just a tweak here or there draws your theme together.  Shake loose your daughter's tied back hair, or even strip off top halves down to the vests (this is for the kids - it's rarely a good look on husbands!).   This kind of thing can result in much hilarity and genuine smiles - as long as it isn't blowing a gale out!

  • Happy Kids = Happy Snaps
Kids are most relaxed and engrossed when expressing themselves.  That's fancy talk for dressing themselves, choosing their own clothes to wear, which could mean dressing as a wierd hybrid Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear and Bag Lady!  Encourage them to throw on costumes or dress up in mum and dad's stuff.   Forget colours, patterns or even taste.  No, it won't be pretty, yes it's always a worry when the boys won't share the tutus, but on the bright side, tartan, floral and enough glitter to reflect the sun is easily toned down by printing in black and white or sepia.

Isn't all this what we want to capture, the memories of our children being like, well, children?  An hour of mad cross dressing with mum versus the Stepford portrait?  I know which memories I'll be sticking on the front of my fridge.

Thanks Rose - so, off out you go, and capture some really gorgeous photographs for Mother's Day.  The next installment of Photographing Children will follow at the start of March.

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