Technique Thursday — What to wear, what to wear….. – Wendy Laurel

I’m not sure what is worse.. the “what to wear” question after I book the family shoot… OR the family that doesn’t ask and comes in all matching in white shirts and khaki shorts.

Well, yes I do know which is worse. The latter by far.

So I’m ready for the answer — I even posted it on my maui family photography website:

[type in italics is just added for this post — not on my website :]

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“What to wear, what to wear, what to wear….


The best advice I can tell you is to show up as yourself (totally stolen from Jonathan Canlas),


By that I mean, dress as your style. Be you. Do not wear matching white shirts if you don’t walk around town like that. (because I hate matching white shirts!)

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Basics: don’t dress a whole group in white, don’t wear black. Be comfortable and feel good about what you are wearing. Let your teens wear what they like. (I haven’t grown up yet and usually like the teen’s clothing the best — usually what I am wearing)  That is how you want to remember this time. Put your kids in their favorite clothes or swimsuits. Don’t match. Sure, coordinate the colors if you like. Try not to clash. Look in the mirror as a group before you walk out the door. If we are shooting on the beach, you will probably get wet. I love colors. I love stripes. Don’t be shy.


For women:  I always suggest a shirt/dress with sleeves or with a light cardigan.  Arms look better with clothes unless you are a kid.   Showing alot of flesh can be distracting.  (Unless we are doing a boudair shoot and that is another story.) (but they NEVER listen to me and it always works out anyway.. I should delete this)

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Places to get cute clothes on Maui:

For everyone:  The surf shops — Quiksilver, Billabong, Volcom, Pacific Sunwear, Local Motion, HIC.   Very cute, very beachy, not expensive. (I am trying my hardest to get them in clothes that inspire me… and that is surf shop clothes.. volcom anyone?)

But there is no need to drop a load of cash. You probably have what you need in your suitcase already.  Your favorites.

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photos by me – wendy laurel


What advice do you give?  What do you like to see people in?  And what do you wear for your family photos?




  • Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman says:

    I simply give them one word- COLOR.

  • toni raper says:

    Colored Vans/Converse shoes. Stripes. kids skinny jeans. a cute sundress, always a winner for fluttery motion. painted nails. As for my own family photos, haven’t had any yet 🙁

  • Tory says:

    i say dress as yourself…..but coordinated. Think of decorating a living room. drapes, couch, rug, pillows wouldn’t be ALL the same color, print, etc…..but they’d be in the same style. And to not be afraid of color & pattern…..the photographer that shoots for my children’s school actually sent out a flier that said NO STRIPES, POLKADOTS or PATTERNS. I was like HUH?! WHA?! 🙂 Especially living near the beach….it was the style for too long to be dressed in matching outfits lined up on the sand……people think that is what they have to do, when what they really need to do is show up as themselves. 🙂

    • Wendy says:

      I think you are right Tory.. people don’t know.. they just think they are supposed to match and wear white shirts.. we have to let them know.

  • tobiah says:

    they still make local motion clothes?
    good post. “be yourself” something to consider putting on a website. thanks

  • allison says:

    Great advice, Wendy!

  • Nikki says:

    How did I miss this?? Love this!!! Perfectly put:))

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