I had so much fun meeting this adorable family of four on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii for their sunset photography session! I love the way the photos turned out and I think there are several components that all came together to make their session a success! One of the big ones that has a huge impact on the look of your photos (and causes lots of stress for moms planning) is the outfits! When you hire me as your photographer, you receive my session planning guide, compiled over 15 years of experience. I’m also here for you to answer any questions and collaborate with you on the wardrobe for your session.
Let’s talk about what worked for this photo session, and the things you can start to think about when planning looks for your upcoming session!
I recommend soft colors, neutrals, earth tones, and pastels. We want the focus to be on your faces and your emotion, not on bright, bold clothing. Creams, taupes, and tans are always a safe bet and mix well with other colors. I recommend cream over a bright white, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. The family in this post wore cream, muted mustard, greyish sage, a little bit of brown in the pattern of the older daughter’s dress. All these earthy tones blend well together, and complement the landscape of Hawaii.
Begin by choosing 3-5 complementary colors, and pepper them throughout your family’s pieces. Think complementary, not matchy matchy. In the example below, besides for the color of mom’s set and dad’s shirt (which photograph quite differently due to texture, see below!), everyone is wearing different colors. But they all have similar muted tones, which works so well for photos!
For earth tones, picture like below – cream, sage, brown, warm grey, muted mustard, muted french blue. For pastels, picture like this family – blush, sky blue, pale yellow, grey, cream. Even pastels work best when they’re soft and muted. Think light blush vs. saturated bubblegum pink.
Need color palette inspo? Click here for my Pinterest board!
Texture is such a game changer and will elevate your look from a 9 to a 10. Notice how everyone in this family is wearing some sort of texture? Mom has a gorgeous lace set. The older daughter in smocked soft cotton. The younger daughter is wearing a solid color, but the textured linen adds so much visual interest. Even dad is wearing textured pants. He gets extra credit! A simple pair of chinos would’ve worked really well here too, but the muted mustard linen really adds a lot to the overall vibe.
When it comes to pattern, a little goes a long way! I generally recommend choosing one or two people (maybe more for groups of 5+) to wear pattern, if desired at all. Notice this family of four: dad wore a very subtly striped shirt that plays as nearly solid, and the oldest daughter wore a smocked dress with a very small checked pattern. Mom’s lace set can almost be viewed as pattern too. But the key here is that all of these patterns and textures are really subtle. I’d avoid large prints, large florals, aloha shirts, bold patterns, or anything with lots of contrast. Small checks, subtle stripes, tone on tone patterns work best.
This one is huge and we can’t overlook it. I know, I know, we’re asking a lot to style an entire family and make sure everyone is comfortable and that the clothes fit well. Moms, you want to wear something you can move in, play in, sit down in. Be sure to wear appropriate undergarments so we don’t have to worry about bra straps showing, etc. For kids, sizing is important. We don’t wanna drown cute little kids in too-big clothing. We want to make sure it fits, straps stay up, etc. We don’t wanna miss shots or have to be fussing with clothing every few minutes, as it becomes a distraction to the flow of the session. And mamas, I want you to be in the moment with your family, not worrying about how they look.
Lastly, if you have any kiddos in diapers, I advise covering the diaper. Little girls look so cute in teeny dresses, but trust me, they can make shooting really restrictive as diapers are distracting and I’m going to try to make sure it’s covered as much as possible. It’s much easier to just let kids be kids and not be fussing over their diaper. If you want to do a dress for a little girl, look for one with that has a matching diaper cover. But little rompers work much easier for photos on rugged Hawaiian beaches!
Last, but not least, don’t forget about accessories. With the caveat: no need to go over the top. Hawaii is laid back, natural, relaxed. For this session, the daughters wore bows in their hair and mom brought along a little wicker basket of local wildflowers – that was it! I advise removing Apple watches and resort wristbands or hotel keys.
When in doubt, start with one piece you love, that fits within your desired color palette, and build from there. Moms, I’d start with yourself and find an outfit that is flattering and beautiful – something you feel amazing in. Midi or maxi dresses are easy because it’s one piece, and keeps you covered so you can play and snuggle with the kids. You want something you can easily sit in. From there, keep your color palette in mind, and dress everyone else, adding in pieces and textures, one at a time.
There you have it, what to wear, Hawaii family photos style!! Keep scrolling for more highlights from this gorgeous north shore sunset session, and contact me if you have any questions!!
Interested in booking your Oahu family session? Contact me to get started!