46 In Articles/ Photography

What to Wear? (Part One)

Hello Blog World! It’s me, Marla! I am going to do some guest blogging for D while she and Erika have the time of their life exploring Italy. Fair? Not really. But hey I do live in Paradise so I can’t complain too much!

So what should I talk about…? Well I am knee deep in photo editing these days so photo shoots are on the brain. I do not think we have ever done a photo-shoot that is not preceded by this exact question “what should we wear?” It seems to weigh people down, stress them out, and freeze them in their tracks. And I get that. I have a hard time dressing my own kids for photos, but funny thing is the pictures I love the most of them are definitely not about the clothes.

They are both wearing very simple clothes from crew cuts, just the hint of color in the headband adds some fun to the image. But really it is more about the contrasting colors and their precious expressions.

And now that we are on the topic of headbands, lets discuss BOWS! Oh bows…..Some people would say I am anti bow, perhaps even a bow hater and that is just not true! For photo purposes, just err on the side of less is more. Here are some DOs for how to get hair out of the face without letting the hair clip take over the image.

I really did not intend to start this post with the last thing you add to an outfit, but the transition was there and I took it. Okay lets get back on track.

What to Wear Questions:

Should we all wear the same thing? NO! Outfits should coordinate but everyone should not wear the same thing. Think of it as one big outfit. Does that red and blue plaid shirt look good with a purple paisley skirt? If not, then you are not coordinated! The days of khaki and white are over, dead and gone! Two girls can certainly wear the same dress, or buy matching pieces from the same line that go well together.

Should we wear white? All solids? NO! color, patterns and texture make photos pop both in color and in black and white. Just avoid store and team logos. See above… And Below!

• Should we dress fancy? Heck no! Dress like you normally would but cleaner and more well put together!

Since this post is getting too long already, tomorrow I will post pics of clothes you can find currently in shops and online that I think would be precious for photos! Feel free to post any specific questions in the comments!

I leave you with this thought: Imagine you are out of college and have moved away from all your old friends. Your best friend from college is hosting a 10 year reunion party. it is an OUTDOOR bbq at the PARK in the spring. No one has ever met your husband or your kids, you want them to look cute but know they will be running and playing for hours. How would you dress them?


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  • Molly
    June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    marla, love your work… and i love that you said the days of khaki & white are dead & gone! too funny & oh, so true!

  • lucy murchison
    June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    we love your work, Marla! your photos in our house make me so happy! thanks for the tips!

  • angela
    June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Great tips! I agree with you on simple clothing! Great photos!

  • Judy
    June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Please try to address what adults should wear, too. My husband, son, and I will be doing a family picture at our farm with a local photographer and ideas would be nice to see for adults as well as kids. Thanks!

  • Mariel
    June 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    HUGE fan of your photos Marla, could you pls share tips on how to take photos to newborns. I will have my first little munchkin soon and want to keep great memories and explore my new camera. Also, is it true that you should not use flash with newborns? Could you please share any tips?

    Loved the post 🙂

  • Lauren Ahier
    June 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Marla, Love the tips. I see so many (adorable) pictures of girls with Huge bows. Although I can’t wait to have a little girl with BIG bows in her hair, it does take away from the photo of the child. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  • Stephanie
    June 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Marla, thanks for keeping the “Darby” addicts at bay! I’m a big fan of yours.

    My extended family is headed to the beach this week (30 people from age 1 – 96) and we were just flying emails around about what to wear on the beach with so many people. We are a bit over the white/khaki mix, but aren’t prepared for everyone to have to buy new clothes for the pic. We can dress our children fine, it’s the adults we are worried about. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

  • Emily Loewen
    June 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Marla, You are an awesome photographer. I wish I had someone like you in my life to follow me around and document all of my special moments. It would definately make blogging a lot easier! Thank you for your post!

  • Sarah@Clover Lane
    June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    You WILL do a question and answer guest post right???

  • krista
    June 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    MARLA!!! What a nice suprise!! Love the pic’s, love the post, love the clothes! Can’t wait to read more!!!

  • Camille
    June 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Oh Marla, just on the bows issue alone I feel we would be BFF. Thanks for the great post. My sister and I are having portraits of our daughters taken this weekend. Very helpful.

  • Kelly@TearingUpHouses
    June 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Beautiful photos!


  • Kristen Cox
    June 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    These are great tips!!! =)planning a fam photo soon and this really helps.

  • Michele
    June 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Great advice! I always stress about what everyone should wear in photo shoots. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips!

  • Melise
    June 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Oh super great tips! I love it. I love the idea of thinking of us all as one big outfit. I always dress my 3 year old in all white with some kind of color pop somewhere….I gotta stop that! :0)

  • CeCe
    June 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Great tips! I always have a hard time deciding what to dress my boys in when we have photos made. I look forward to the rest of your tips! Thanks!

  • Lillian - Domestic Simplicity
    June 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Very very very helpful hints!

  • sarah ella
    June 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    THANKS MARLA!!!! your amazing!!! love the post because just last year i wore myself out with that decision, and guess what i did the right thing 9for the 1st time) we dressed super casual but bbq cute!

  • Darby
    June 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Hey Marla (aka Mar-wa) … It is Darby from Erins computer in Rome and this post is so wonderful, thanks for blogging in my absence cant wait to see what else you bring because this is so good! We are having a blast! The flight was HARD but we are recovering well and enjoying all that Rome has to offer!! Love from Rome, Darby

  • Katie
    June 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Such amazing photos! And can I just say, that sweet, precious baby in the blue bubble…I could eat him right up…

  • Leigh
    June 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    thank you for the fabulous tips–your photos are beautiful!

  • Katharina
    June 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Marla – I totally agree on the bow thing! For me it is a bit “too much” lots of times. I always love seeing the new pictures on your blog and reading the little notes about the photoshots – so thank you for both: the guest blogging and your own blog.

    And your pictures really make me want to go to see all the beautiful beaches. I should stop reading blogs – it makes me want to travel! (love to see all the beautiful houses and beaches)

    I think it is not easy to buy a new lens without being able to try it out – maybe you could tell us more on lenses?

  • Tessa
    June 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Marla, I’ve oooed and ahhhed over your photos from Darby and Erika’s blogs before. How I wish you were in Cincinnati. I’ve seriously considered planning a vacation to FL just so we could have you photograph our family.

  • Jan
    June 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    i don’t know if you’re opening up for random questions, but you’re the gal to ask since you’re such a phenominal photographer. sorry, can’t spell that word, but you know what i mean. if someone struggles with photoshop elements, that person being me, and that person wants to take editing further than what iphoto offers, what is available to that person? ideas? aperture? i can’t figure out actions and whatnot and soooo wish that i could improve my photographs!

  • Tonya
    June 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Great tips!!! Thanks for the information!!!

  • lauren
    June 15, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    hi marla! thanks for the insight! i have a random question for you totally on another topic…do you have thoughts and suggestions for shooting fireworks!? the 4th of July is right around the corner and any insider tips you have would be awesome!

  • elizabeth
    June 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    what a nice surprise to see a post from you! i love your work and want to plan a trip to your area just for the sole reason of having a session with you.

  • Kate
    June 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I know you say not to wear white, but the pictures Shane took of Lillie last year are so wonderful. I love the dress she wore…all white from Crewcuts. I think y’all liked it to since it made it on the website. 😉 Can’t wait to have you take her picture the week of the 4th.

  • Amelie
    June 16, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Marla I love your work…and this post! I have 3 little girls, and a canon xsi. And the four of them meet quite often ;). However, it’s always such a strugle for me to decide what they should wear in a little more official photo shoot. I’ve tried to have them all wear the same thing…didn’t work…they just blended together and it didn’t reflect each of their little personality. I tried to go a little more dressed up…didn’t work…they were so uncomfortable, that they were cranky and didn’t want to cooperate. So thank you so much for this post! It has definitely solved some of my dilemas.

  • paige
    June 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

    love your post marla & thanks for the tips.
    sometimes i get too caught up in their outfits too
    LOVE that first image, how those colors look spectacular against the ocean!
    which reminds me…we are headed to paradise soon…praying it stays gorgeous for us & each of you that live there!

    & look at darby posting from rome. what the heck is that girl doing? she better get out there & photograph italy for us poor unfortunate souls!


  • Farrah
    June 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    It was soooo nice to meet you last weekend! Thanks for taking pics of the boys… Wells is still talking about how much fun he had. Maybe in your next post you can explain how to keep a 16 month old from running out of all the shots! Can’t wait to see the proofs!!

  • Liz
    June 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Wow, your photos are beautiful! Can you give your opinion on a good lens for an amateur like myself, with a budget of about $500? I want more photos like yours! 🙂

  • Amanda Thrasher
    June 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    you can tell D and E I was a difficult reader/blogger—but I have to ask you to get D and E’s mom to blog at least a paragraph while they are gone—-priceless!!

  • melissa
    June 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Yes, your right, this totally stresses me out! Great information! I am taking notes!

  • Sam
    June 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Great post and great pictures. Thanks for the info!

  • Clover
    June 16, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Yeah I cant wait for more. I just got my dslr and want and need all the education i can get. Thank you!

  • Carla
    June 17, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Hi Marla! Love your work – it’s absolutely stunning… I was wondering if you would be able to give some hints as far as what to wear for Maternity shoots. Thanks and I look forward to more of your helpful information!!

  • Val
    June 17, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Thank you so much for the great info!!! Your photo’s are fabulous.

  • Jessica
    June 17, 2010 at 11:49 am

    to answer your what to wear to a bbq question…I think you said it best…”Dress like you normally would but cleaner and more well put together!” 🙂

  • heidi @ wonder woman wannabe
    June 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Very timely tips as I’m prepping to have a little photo shoot with my boys and some of our friend in the morning (a friend and I are going to conquer it together and she’s got a ‘big girl’ camera! Hope we get some good shots!

  • kelly
    June 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    i love the coordinating casualness of your photos!


  • allison
    June 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Wow. you really did a great job with the tips. My husband is a pro photographer, and this is something so many people do NOT get. The shots are lovely, and the clothes (and hair accoutrements!) just right. Not in the way, not too bland. Thanks for the work.

  • Ally
    June 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm


    I loved this article. I tink that you are a pro in the making and that your talent is by far the best I have ever seen. I have been going through a lot of websites and blogs, trying to find out what my daughter should wear for a couple of photos taken by me. I have to E-mail them to a casting agent…… Anyway, thank you so much. I can’t wait for you to post more!

  • Hey Boots! Rosemary Beach Portrait Photographer | Marla & Shane Photographers - Love and Pictures
    June 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    […] recently did a few guest blog posts on DARBY’S blog on the topic of what to wear. Here is PART 1 and PART 2. It is a tricky subject and one I think everyone should read up […]

  • What to Wear Wednesday | Sprouts by Heather
    June 30, 2010 at 9:57 am

    […] For a few more tips check out these two guest posts by Destin photographer Marla Carter on the blog Fly Through Our Window. I definitely agree with all of Marla’s key points in blog post #1. […]

  • cv love
    April 10, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Amazing photos