Rebecca Brown Photographer
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Attire - Rebecca BrownATTIRE / BEACH PORTRAITS

First, please have a look at my Cape Cod Beach Portrait board and also my Color Clothing Swatch Ideas board on Pinterest for some great beachy clothing ideas and inspiration!


Considering the beautiful outdoor location of the beaches of Cape Cod, I like to first recommend that laid back and as we say, "Cape Cod" casual is the way to go when
dressing for your portrait session.

I want you to be yourself, in clothing that you are comfortable in, but there are two considerations to think about. One is trend and the other is cohesiveness in a larger group of over six persons. The clothing that you choose should absolutely be as classic as possible. It can have a bit of flair, but in particular, the larger the group, the more cohesive your choices should be. With that said, each person should retain an individuality with the clothing they wear, and not be forced into something they would never be seen in otherwise for the sake of the portrait.

People can wear similar clothing as a family group and common choices are the colors of white, khaki, and denim. This is not a mandatory thing, in fact, I encourage thinking outside the box with choice of hues. I have had several clients who really play with the tones of the beach in their clothing choices, which compliment the sand, surf, and typically gorgeous sunset.

Most clients have a color in mind to harmonize the group. Communication is very important with family groups, as one person's teal is another person's blue, and colors can easily clash. Use terms like "light blue" rather than simply "blue". Be as specific as possible with family members regarding the color choices when planning your session. I do not encourage, say, that everyone wear a blue top. I feel that choosing two or three complimentary tones in a larger group gives people choices in what to wear so they do not feel they are wearing a uniform, but also adds some interest and depth to the portrait. An example of this is choosing light blue as part of the color palette, where a man may wear the light blue shirt, but the woman may wear a white blouse with a light blue tank top underneath. This is more applicable toward a larger group, over six people, where clothing can overpower the portrait.
I would always encourage cohesiveness, but with a smaller family group, there is more allowance for inclusion of some patterns or more of a variety of color.

Women in particular should be aware that sleeveless choices and also short, stiff skirts may create an unflattering look in the photographs that you may not have anticipated when looking in the mirror. Unless you are perfectly comfortable with your upper arms showing, I suggest a short sleeve T-shirt or polo shirt, or perhaps a white linen long sleeved shirt with a tank top beneath it. I do love skirts at the beach, but ideally, the type that are a light flowy cotton that moves.

For children, cotton beach dresses always look beautiful on the girls. Boys can wear a neat t-shirt, or polo, or oxford shirt with khakis or jeans.

If when you gather for your vacation, you find that you still need to plan for clothing choices, I always suggest the simple solution of making a trip to J.Crew, the Gap, Old Navy, or the Cape's own Puritan Clothing. These shops provide a classic, casual style, and are centrally located right in Hyannis.

Clothing with patterns can look busy as well as trendy. I love patterned clothing on children, but it should be coordinated in color family with the adults involved in the portrait. Keep in mind that patterned clothing can date the photograph and distract from the faces of the subjects. As well, any clothing with obvious branding, such as a t-shirt that says GAP across it, will tend to date the photographs and is not recommended.

Finally, I encourage the informality of bare feet. We are at the beach after all!

My strongest recommendation is to be yourself in how you look and dress for the photos.

The point of the portrait is to reflect the true nature of yourself and your family.

Be comfortable and relaxed!

I look forward to working with you!

Rebecca Brown