What to Wear & What to Bring

For your San Diego Beach Portrait Photo Shoot




  • Do look at your home decor and visualize where your portraits are likely to be placed in your home & consider how your clothing color palette fits in with both your home and your photo shoot location (in both mood/style and colors). San Diego portrait photographer Monica at 15th Street Photography can help you with this if you'd like.


  • Do wear clothes that you love and that make you feel beautiful (even if that means breaking some of the 'rules' found on the Internet). 


  • Do decide if you are going for Timeless or Trendy, and be ok with your decision


  • Do accessorize to complete the outfit, but not to compete with or overshadow your face & body. Textures, layers, jewelry, hats, scarves, boots are all good as long as they're not the main event or covering up your face and body shape.


  • Do coordinate, but don't be 'matchy matchy' (no 'uniforms'). Here's an example of coordinating and accessorizing nicely. 

What to Wear Guide for Family Photo Shoot
www.15thStreetPhotography.comWhat to Wear Guide for Family Photo Shoot www.15thStreetPhotography.comWhat to Wear Guide for Family Photo Shoot www.15thStreetPhotography.com

  • Do research on the web and then instead of stressing on trying to follow one of the style guides perfectly, it's better to see photos of real families and how they pulled off their look, as well as consulting some color palettes that you can create your own unique style from. For example, here's a real family :) who coordinated their look nicely for their Del Mar, San Diego photo shoot:

Beautiful Fine Art Family Portrait Candid Lifestyle Beach Photographer San Diego La Jolla Rancho Santa Fe CaliforniaBeautiful Fine Art Family Portrait Candid Lifestyle Beach Photographer San Diego La Jolla Rancho Santa Fe CaliforniaSan Diego Family Portrait Photographer, San Diego Beach Portrait Photographer, La Jolla Family Portrait Photographer, San Diego Children's Fine Art Portrait Photographer, San Diego Child Photographer, San Diego Beach Portrait, San Dieo Vacation Beach Portrait, San Diego Holiday Card Portrait, Best San Diego Portrait Photographer, Best San Diego Family Portrait, San Diego Artist Photographer Monica Kane Stewart, Del Mar Beach Portrait Photographer, Solana Beach Family Portrait Photographer, Rancho Santa Fe Family Portrait Photographer, Santa Monica Fine Art Family Portrait Photographer, Santa Barbara Beach Portrait Photographer, www.15thStreetPhotography.com


  • Do explore a wide range of color palettes to see what colors go nicely together for your beach photo shoot HERE.



  • Do wear something you're comfortable in and that is 'you' to the max! It's all about capturing who you are, your style, and your personality! You'll want to feel comfortable and look comfortable in your chosen style for your San Diego family beach photo shoot.


  • Do dress for your body type / body shape.


  • Do wear fitted clothes that define your shape instead of hiding in oversized clothing which will actually make you appear larger than you are


  • Do check that blouse buttons are not bulging / revealing sneak peak of bras


  • Do check that clothes / cotton shirts are not wrinkly (we're speaking from experience, and it aint pretty!)


  • Do check that no buttons are missing, no holes in shirts, etc. You don't want to be surprised by having something that is so easily fixable show later when it's too late to do anything about it. 


  • Do check how your clothing will look with movement. Many things are visible when moving & playing around (especially with families & children at the beach!) which you didn't anticipate when checking your look standing straight in front of the mirror.


  • Do double check for: bra straps showing, baby bib overalls which push up covering the chin, tummies showing under too-short of cropped tops, waist buttons/zippers which are stressed out, bulges from improperly fitted under garments, hair ribbons which decide to flop into faces, etc., and change plans accordingly!


  • Do check that your fingernails and toenails are as clean and cute as you want them to show up in your photos, because they will show! Especially at a beach photo shoot!


  • Do moisturize your skin and lips in the days before your photo shoot so you don't have chapped lips and flakey skin in close ups.


  • Do plan for getting wet: Bring changes of clothes & diapers for little ones who very likely WILL get wet & dirty at the beach. Have a plan for how clothing will transition from dry areas to wet areas when playing & standing by the surf (do your pants look good when rolled up, do they get very dark or clingy when wet?) Plan for your after-shoot attire & activities (going to brunch in Del Mar or La Jolla or Newport Beach? Maybe you'll need a fresh pair of shorts in the car for after your family beach photo shoot.


  • Do bring wet wipes for your child's face to use during your beach photo shoot, blotting tissue, hair brushes


  • Do bring any treats / snacks that you think will help your child 'last' longer and enjoy their experience more


  • Do bring any lovies, a football, your dog! These are the meaningful 'props' that you'll love to capture along with your loved ones, and that will make for a happier San Diego photo shoot experience, too!


  • Do wear clothing, shoes, accessories that can withstand strong wind, scratchy sand, sea water, and fun horseplay!




  • Don't wear super awesome expensive and delicate shoes on the beach or any other clothing that you don't want to be affected by sand and possible encounters with water. You don't want to spend time worrying about this during your San Diego photo shoot.


  • Don't wear "uniforms" (everyone wears the same exact color & style, boys all wearing the same exact polo shirt, etc.)  In other words, you don't want to look like a car wash team having a corporate photo!


  • Don't wear all white or all black. Wear tones in the same color family, or contrasting colors. Whites are bright and draw the eyes to the clothing rather than the face. Everyone can blend into one white mass. Blacks are the same in that when everyone is standing in a group wearing black, the effect can be that of one huge black mass where it's hard to tell where one body starts and where another one ends. If you like black, think of mixing shades of grays & blacks with a pop of pink, red, lavender, or blue to break things up. (Choose only one main color to 'pop' with, not all that are listed!)


  • Don't wear loud or clashing patterns. (Patterns and prints are fine if limited and coordinated among the group's color scheme. Too many patterns, even in the same color scheme, can be a little too much for the eyes to look at when all eyes should go directly to your faces)


  • Don't wear logos & brands & characters. (They can be outdated quickly, can lend a more 'snapshot' feel to your look, are basically advertisements for someone's business, and generally have no place in your professional portraits.) The exception to this rule is that if you want lifestyle shots that are true to who you are and you really want to wear your favorite t-shirt, then, hey, who's to say you need to change? Same with your little munchkins. If they've been running around in the same pink tutu or tool belt (or both combined!) all year and you want to capture this moment in time, bring it on! You can also negotiate bringing another outfit to change into. That will make everyone happy and that will also capture different moods.


  • Don't wear a baseball cap that you had on all day which will shape your hair when you try to take it off!


  • Don't tan / burn in the days before your session (bright red / white burn lines - ouch! you'll regret it!)


  • Don't get new haircuts, new clothing, new makeup right before your photoshoot without first getting used to those new changes. Give yourself time to adjust to how you like to style yourself in your most comfortable and authentic way


  • Don't wear shiny/glittery makeup unless you're going for a stylized fashion shoot and that's what's called for


  • Don't bring big wallets, cell phones, sunglasses that don't have a home or are bulging out of a front or back pocket. At the same time, don't leave purses visible in your cars, for risk of theft. If in doubt, it's ok to bring along a bag/purse to keep everything in - just be aware that we'll have to move it out of the way of the images that are being created.


  • Don't stress! These are just handy tips to help you plan. Nothing is written in stone so use your best judgement & everything will be great!


At Your San Diego Beach Photo Shoot:

  • Your portrait photographer will notice these details such as garbage cans and drain pipes and other distracting objects in your scene, and will scoot you over to a clear spot where you can continue being 'natural' in a more attractive area :) but it also helps for you to be on the lookout for your family members in terms of clothing 'malfunctions', etc.


  • Be aware of long necklaces going astray and capturing one breast (ha! it's true!), keeping makeup blotted, moving bangs or the hair ribbon from covering your daughter's eyes, etc.


  • Don't take cell pics during your photo shoot - you don't want professional photos of you holding your phone up in the air. Photographers see everything out of the corner of their eyes (and they do have eyes in the back of their heads just like moms!) so when you think you're not 'on camera' you very well may be in the next moment, or you'll cause another person to not know where to place themselves (which camera to look at?!), and very likely you will also be 'in the scene' while taking your cell pics, as you don't know how much is captured with a wider angled lens. So it's best for you to plan in advance that cellphones are out of reach and off-limits until the photo shoot is finished :)


  • Relax and Have Fun!

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