Let My kids dress themselves for family pictures? you're crazy!

I know it may sound counter intuitive to leave that decision to your kids. I mean, they have some pretty interesting outfit choices, right? But stay with me here. I think it's a fantastic idea to let them pick out their own clothes and dress themselves. Let me explain because I think you'll get what I'm putting down here.

  1. YOLO! You only live once and you know what that means, right? They are only little once. One time. You've got this one chance to document childhood in it's purest form. If they feel like they want to wear a Halloween costume that's a size too small, I say GO FOR IT! Here's a quick example: my daughter when through a phase when she was about 4 years old when she *only* wore costumes. Grocery store? Elsa dress. Movies? Cinderella costume. Outside to play? Unicorn costume. Those costumes were LIFE. And the photos that I took during that time are some of my most treasured. It brings me back to right then and there, that season of life. It's priceless.
  2. It's reflective of their personality. Clothes are usually the easiest way we can express ourselves as humans. The clothes we wear usually make a statement about who we are, no matter your age. I would argue that by letting your kids dress themselves, they are showing the world who they are and what they are about. I think on a subconscious level you are telling them that you respect that and support that. I think that's pretty wonderful.
  3. It adds to the sense of nostalgia. Let's be real here, yes photos are for the now, but they are really for the later. Like 20 years from now. We get them done to help build our family legacy. It's a beautiful thing! I think by letting your family choose their own clothing for family photos, it creates a sense of nostalgia. Think about how styles change over the years. It's not often you'll see a young woman wear a tutu with rainbow tights or a young man wear a shirt with his very favorite cartoon (but if they do, more power to them!), I think it just helps you be able to look at a photo and instantly be transported back to a season of life. It really just helps set the scene. I think it will be incredibly powerful to look back on these photographs in 20 years and see them just as they were when they were 4 years old, know what I mean?
boy with bucket on his head and shark t shirt screaming at home session in backyard norfolk, virginia

so, what do you think?

Do you think you'd let your kids dress themselves for your family session? I say try it! Seriously! Some of my most favorite photographs of my family are simple portraits of them, just as they are. And you know what else? Every client I have ever had that has taken this approach has absolutely gushed over their photos. They all say the same thing. " We love these so much!" or " Oh my gosh, this is *so* him! This captures his personality perfectly!"

Let me know what you think!

kids walking down the neighborhood street wearing inflatable dinosaur costumes in virginia beach, virginia at home photo