Whitby Family Session {Melissa Maahs Photography // Durham Region Photographer}

This extremely gorgeous and equally as sweet family of four came to me this past fall for their family portraits. It was a beautiful, warm fall day in Whitby, Ontario. Their littlest boy was not feeling the best that day. In fact, we were so close to rescheduling the session until we looked at both of our schedules and the weather forecast, and realized if we didn’t go ahead with the session that day we wouldn’t be able to reschedule for a few weeks out. The temperatures were supposed to dip dramatically in the coming days, so we went ahead and met for their family session and we were all happy we went ahead with it as planned. The littlest guy wasn’t as smiley as usual, but we went with the flow. We managed to document lots of cuddly moments between everyone and I couldn’t be happier with how the session turned out. The fall colours were amazing, the weather was amazing, and this beautiful mama ‘killed’ it at the wardrobe game!! I loved everything about their style and wardrobe choices. I always offer wardrobe guidance and advice to all my clients. Jade and I texted pictures back and forth quite a few times and finally pulled this outfit together a few days before the session. Jade purchased the dress first, as she knew she wanted to wear a floral dress with red in it, and we co-ordinated the rest of the boys outfits around the dress.  Luckily mom loves to shop! Haha 😉

Wardrobe styling is a major part of your photo session. A wardrobe can ‘make or break’ your portraits. While it’s important that everyone is comfortable in their clothing during their family session, the ‘look’ is also extremely important. Here are a few tips to think about when you are trying to decide what to wear for your family photo session:

  • Dress for comfort. This is important. If you are not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it will come across in the photos. During your session it’s likely that you will be sitting on the ground, kneeling, or even laying down! Make sure you are comfortable in your clothes so that you are able to move freely during your session.
  • Co-ordinate, but don’t match. Think of it this way. You wouldn’t dress your family in matching outfits to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant, so why would you dress in matching clothes for your family photos? It’s not normal for your whole family to wear the exact same outfit on a regular day, so don’t dress like that for your family photos! The easiest way to ‘build’ a wardrobe is to start with one key piece. Usually this is mom’s outfit. For example, if mom is wearing a dress with a coral flower pattern, one child can wear a solid top in a similar coral colour (pulled from the dress). Dad can wear a solid top that compliments coral, such as navy blue. Here’s a past blog link to another family that did a great job co-ordinating their outfits.
  • Accessories, layering, and textures add interest to outfits. As long as accessories aren’t overwhelming and don’t take the focus off the subject, they can add interest to your wardrobe. A long necklace, or a subtle patterned scarf are always good choices. Accessories and layering pieces such as vests, cardigans, and light jackets can add variety to your final image gallery. You can wear these pieces for some photos and take them off for others. Different textures, such as knitted sweaters, or a lace skirt, etc. can also add interest and variety to your wardrobe.
  • Use patterns in moderation. one person in plaid is fine, but don’t dress everyone in a plaid shirt. Same goes for stripes and other patters. You don’t want patterns to take away from the subject and overwhelm the photo.
  • Stay away from florescent colours. Bright fluorescent colours tend to cast the colour onto skin (neck and face) and hair. If bright colours are your style just make sure they aren’t too bright. Try to wear muted versions of  primary colours such as mustard yellow, maroon, burgundy, royal or navy blues.
  • Footwear is important too! Footwear choices can make or break your wardrobe. Don’t get all dressed up, and then wear your white gym shoes. They just don’t go with the outfit. Wear nice shoes or boots that match the style of your outfit.
  • Choose timeless wardrobe that won’t look too dated in a few years. Trends come and go, so try to stay away from extremely trendy looks. Choose softer, neutral tones and add interest using layering or accessories as mentioned above.
  • Choose a wardrobe that compliments the environment you’ll be photographed in. For example, if your session is in a field type setting with lots of green grass and trees, stay away from wearing bright green. Wear colours that compliment green foliage, such as greys, blues, yellows or muted shades of red such has maroon or burgundy.
  • Lastly, think about where you will hang the portraits from your session. It’s a good idea to think about where you will display your portraits. For example, if you plan on hanging a large wall portrait in your living room, you may want to make sure your wardrobe colours and tones co-ordinate with the colours and tones of your living room decor.

I know that’s a lot to think about and consider when planning your wardrobe, but I promise you, it’s worth it. Family photos are a BIG DEAL! Planning and having your family portraits taken is not an easy, quick task. You are investing time and money into an important gift for you and your family to enjoy now, and to enjoy in the years to come. Take the time to plan your wardrobe. When you book a session with Melissa Maahs Photography you have unlimited email or phone consultations to help you plan your session, including guidance and advice with your wardrobe so that you are happy with the end result!


Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! I’m Melissa, the photographer behind the camera at Melissa Maahs Photography, a Durham Region, Ontario, full service family photographer offering custom family portrait sessions. I’m sure you’ve already come to the conclusion that I’m passionate about photography! Besides begin passionate about photography, I’m also passionate and dedicated to the experience I provide to  my clients and the process of making pictures into tangible pieces of art for you and your family to enjoy daily. Your art pieces will truly be treasured family heirlooms.

I thoroughly enjoy meeting, getting to know my clients and listening to their family stories. I love collaborating with clients on the endeavour of transforming their family stories into tangible art pieces of moments shared with their loved ones that will be frozen in time – forever in a photograph.

Lastly, I believe in photographs. Printed, tangible photographs that can be held in your hands, enjoyed on a wall, or flipped through in an album. My mission is to help every client create their photographic family heirlooms that can be enjoyed by you and your family for many generations to come!

If you love photographs as much as I do feel free to contact me and we can chat about how I can help you to create timeless photographic art to display and enjoy in your home.

For detailed session information, click here.

To see more of my work please view my portfolio here.

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