The weather is finally starting to cool off in Wisconsin, and you can see the beginnings of yellow starting to touch the trees. Fall is here! And with it comes the annual rush of engagement sessions who want the beautiful fall colors to contrast with their summer wedding photographs. Tom and I are equally smitten with fall, and we want to help you all look your best for your engagement session! So without further ado, here are a few suggestions to make your fall engagement session the cutest ever.
Note: I’ve had several requests to start listing where the clothes in my idea boards come from, so after each outfit idea you’ll see a source list in italics. Remember that these are just starting points to create your own looks! Happy shopping!
Source: Everything is from J.Crew except the silver earrings and men’s shoes.
First up is an All-American color scheme! While I don’t usually recommend bright, saturated reds next to the face, a little bit layered in with neutrals like navy can go a long way to brightening your face and your photographs. When planning your outfits, don’t forget about shoes and socks! Your shoes will be in many (if not the majority) of your shots, and you want them to look just as good as the rest of your outfit. Matching socks for the guys are a fun touch!
Source: Striped dress and gray blazer from Boden. Black flats and earrings from J.Crew. Button down shirt, pants, and socks from Banana Republic.
A monochromatic look can look elegant against the unrestrained colors of fall. If your session is in an urban area, glam it up a little bit and have a night on the town! Again, I usually recommend flats over heels because you’ll generally be walking around during your session and blisters on your feet will show in your face. Trust me.
Source: Men’s sweater, J.Crew. Women’s sweatshirt, Fat Face. Men’s shoes, Converse. Women’s shoes, Tom’s. Earrings, Target.
Who says you have to dress up for your engagement session? If you’re more interested in taking back roads and blazing new trails to find gorgeous foliage in the woods, jeans and sneakers are the way to go. Just make sure you’re not wearing your everyday holey jeans and dirty sneakers. Go a little dressier than your everyday to make sure your photos feel unique and special!
Source: Dress, jeans, and sweater, Boden. Button down shirt, Brooks Brothers. Boots, Nine West. Accessories, Icing.
And finally, use the rich colors of fall as an inspiration for your color palette. While you probably want to avoid bright yellows and oranges, rich colors like eggplant, cranberry, forest green, and navy provide a great contrast to the nature around you. Break out your scarves, boots, and other fun accessories that have been hiding in your closet since last April!
Yes, you read that right. We’re talking about fall portrait fashions! In August! Fall is by far the most popular time to have family portraits taken in our area, and believe it or not it’s time to start thinking about what to wear! Fall means crisp air, beautiful leaves, and gorgeous golden light. Make sure you take advantage of it this year!
So what should you wear for fall family portraits? Well, as I always tell our clients, the most important thing is to be comfortable. You want your portraits to represent who you are, and if you wear something that’s uncomfortable or out of your usual comfort zone, you won’t see yourself in the images!
Beyond being comfortable, you want your family to be coordinated but not completely matching. Don’t worry if you don’t all have the exact same polo shirt and khaki pants! Stick with classic styles and colors that won’t be dated in a year. Avoid large text and logos, which can also date your images. Whether you decide on sweaters and jeans or more formal attire, everything looks more beautiful amid the fall colors so have fun!
Since fall leaves are so gorgeous, this first outfit idea keeps your colors simple to let the fall colors shine. By keeping the colors more neutral, the textures in the sweaters can pop and enliven your photographs without the busyness that patterns can sometimes bring. Sweaters are especially great if fall temps are chilly where you live (they certainly can be cold here in Wisconsin!), and layering is a great way to keep your family warm and cozy.
This next outfit also focuses on neutral basics, but the cooler gray and navy tones will help contrast with the fall colors and make your family stand out. Again, layering can help add interest to your photographs while keeping your family warm. Adding small patterns (like the kitty skirt!) can add an element of fun to your images and allow your kids to express their personalities while staying connected to the rest of the family. One tip for finding coordinating (but not matchy-matchy) outfits is to shop with companies that offer sizes from baby to adult. For example, most of the clothing choices above are from Boden.
For the family that wants something a little edgier, why not pick a bright accent color like emerald green to contrast the oranges and yellows of fall? The greens and blacks in this set will ensure that your family will not blend into the crowd! If green isn’t your favorite, maybe you’ll want to try royal blue or bright purple, which would both look amazing with fall leaves. Does your daughter have a favorite pair of red boots that she never wants to take off? Use that as a starting point for your outfits! You’ll look great, plus you’ll always have the memories of those beloved boots long after they’ve hit the donation pile.
Interested in learning more about Lanari Photography or setting up your fall portrait session in the Fox Cities? Call Kristin and Tom today to set up your complimentary consultation or to book your session!
Kristin and Chad’s amazing day started with two lovebirds and ended with a bull. The giant bull on top of Romy’s Nitingale, to be exact. The day was sentimental, quirky, and loads of fun, just like Kristin and Chad. Tom and I were so excited to photograph at St. Joseph in Appleton, WI, where we are members, and at Romy’s, where my parents had their wedding reception ** years ago (I can’t say the real year or my mom will freak. Hi Mom!).
When Kristin and Chad’s eyes met in St. Joe’s for the first time, it was pure magic. And the rest of the day only got better. This is just a tiny sample of the images from their beautiful day, and we can’t wait to share more!
Kristin wore her sister’s veil, so sweet!
Kristin and Chad didn’t stop smiling the entire ceremony!
Me: “Someone tell a joke! To make everyone laugh!” So awful, but works every time.
Right before this photo was taken, we may or may not have been offered moonshine. This bridal party was super fun.
Romy’s has an awesome HUGE dance floor!
Kristin and Tom Lanari are wedding photographers located in Appleton, WI who photograph beautiful memories all over northeast Wisconsin. Contact Lanari Photography today to find out how we can capture your special day!
Desarae and Pat are one of the most awesome couples we’ve had the pleasure to work with. They are funny, charming, and always up for an adventure! It’s taken me a long time to get their wedding posted, but trust me it’s worth the wait! Desarae and Pat got married on a beautiful summer day last June, with a beautiful ceremony at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Neenah and a fun reception at Becket’s in Oshkosh. We stopped for photos in between at Doty Park in Neenah, where the bridal party’s sunglasses were a big hit!
The day was not without mishaps: the limo driver locked the keys in the vehicle, so we had some delays waiting for the locksmith! But overall the day was a beautiful tribute to Desarae and Pat’s love and commitment. We were honored to be a part of this wonderful day!
Are you interested in having Lanari Photography capture your wedding in northeast Wisconsin? Contact Kristin and Tom today! We’ll meet for coffee and you can find out why hanging out with us on your wedding day would be awesome.
Since our last “What to Wear” installment has been wildly successful (well, relatively speaking), I thought I’d come back with another post on how to dress for an engagement session. Really, all of these tips could work for families, married couples, even kids. But since we photograph quite a few engagement sessions I thought I’d share a little bit of what we’ve learned over the years!
Engagement sessions are tricky to dress for. You don’t want to be too trendy, because you might have these photos displayed for many years (you don’t want every. single. photo. to be of you in your wedding dress, do you?). You don’t want to be too matchy-matchy, but you at least want to look like you like each other and put some thought into complimentary outfits. You also want to have a sense of personality in your photos, because you can have a lot more fun with your engagement session than you can have on your wedding day.
Okay, that may sound weird. But with your engagement session, you have the freedom to pretty much do whatever you want. Love baseball? Have pics taken on your high school diamond! Think cruising downtown is the best thing since sliced bread? Have your session in a grungy urban area. You can go places you would never take your wedding dress and an entire bridal party (because you know you’ll lose all the groomsmen). Want photos taken at sunset? You can reschedule your engagement session for rain, but you can’t reschedule your entire wedding day.
Plan your engagement session around you and your fiance. No one else. Your wedding day involves so many people, but your engagement session is quality time spent with the person you love. Have a little fun! The boards below are just suggestions, not rules. Use the ideas and bend them to your situation.
Doesn’t mint green just scream spring? But my guess is that your guy isn’t interested in wearing this ice cream hue. Or any other pretty spring pastel. But the fact is, pastels can look lovely in photographs. They provide a pop of color, yet are delicate enough that they don’t overwhelm the most important part of the photo: your beautiful faces. There is a strong neon trend right now, which just makes me cringe (why would I want to relive the 80s??? Why??). Neon brights, and other highly saturated colors, have a tendency to splash unwanted colors onto your faces, which are hard to remove in Photoshop no matter what your photographer tells you. Pastels are a much more appealing way to add color and personality without making you look like you stepped off a plane that hit rough turbulence. Pair pastels with neutrals, and you have a winning combination that’s sure to keep the focus on your love, not on your dated duds.
Not quite the dress and button-down types? Since your wedding day will give you plenty of options for photos in formal wear, why not take your engagement session a little less seriously? Going casual is a great option for people who want to have their photographs taken in a park, on the beach, or anywhere you may not want to take your wedding dress and tux. Have fun! Wear jeans, pick your favorite shirt, grab your sneakers, and head outdoors. If you’re choosing patterns, keep them small (again, keeping the attention on your smiles) and in the same color family, and also keep your accessories to a minimum. Whether you choose sneakers or cute ballet flats, we usually recommend comfortable shoes for all of our portrait clients because we do a good bit of walking. We’ve had clients wear shoes with extremely high heels and get blisters during the session…it’s not fun!
Yee haw! Okay, so not everyone is into ponies like our daughter (seriously, she’s obsessed). But if you have a favorite activity, why not incorporate it into your engagement session? This board has a western feel, and would be awesome if you actually rode horses and had a stable where you could take your pics. And if you take away the western accessories, the outfits are fairly classic. But using our earlier baseball example, you could have your photographs taken on a baseball diamond in your favorite jerseys. Or if you’re into old films, wear your best vintage attire and step out on the town for your session. Again, this is the time to be creative! You’ll love the photographs even more if you have a personal connection to the location and theme.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are thousands of possibilities out there! Work with your photographer to pick an awesome location, and your outfits will naturally develop from that. Have fun and good luck!
We think engagement sessions are so important, we include one with every wedding package! If you’re interested, we’d love to meet you to chat about photographing your special day. Contact Lanari Photography today!
To be completely honest, Tom and I don’t have a wedding album. Not what you were expecting to read, was it? The wheels are turning in your head, thinking why on earth would we want others to have beautiful wedding albums if we don’t have one ourselves?
I’ll tell you why: because it’s the one thing we regret the most about our wedding photographs. We had a wonderful photographer, but he didn’t offer albums at the time (now he does!). And even though I design albums for a living, life is hectic and our personal photographs often fall behind client work. We have all of these great memories on our computer, but we never look at them. We used to have a bunch of wedding photos in frames around the house, but we’re down to one favorite because the others have all been replaced with photos of our daughter, our nieces, and trips we’ve taken. Our photographer’s art and hard work is collecting digital dust on our hard drive, and that makes me sad.
These days, most photographers are running from printed photographs and wedding albums faster than you can say “do you want your images on a CD or a USB drive?” They’re too much work, they’re too expensive, they’re too everything. But fifty years from now, are you still going to be able to plug that USB drive into your computer? Digital media changes so quickly (I wish I could still play my Wilson Phillips cassette tapes), that no one knows for sure how you’ll be able to view your photos in fifty years.
But you know you’ll be able to view your wedding album in 50 years. As long as you take care of it (i.e. don’t leave it in the bathtub or where your children can color on it), a wedding album can last for decades or longer. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at my parent’s wedding album as a kid, marveling at the pastel dresses, my dad’s hair, and how my parents didn’t really look like my parents. My grandmother passed away in January, and I think of her every time I pass the copy of her wedding photo in our hallway. Wedding albums tell the story of your wedding day in a tangible way that you can enjoy every day. You don’t need to boot up the computer, or remember where you stashed your USB drive, or worry about your hard drive crashing. Your album sits quietly and elegantly, waiting for the next time you want to relive every kiss, every tear, and every laugh.
No matter who you choose for your wedding photographer (but we hope it’s us!), find out if they offer archival wedding albums. Years from now, you’ll thank them for it.
This is my sister.
My sister is awesome. She is an athlete, a music and movie connoisseur, a fashionista, and a homebody. She loves anything with a cheetah print, anything with sparkles, and french fries. She loves her niece, her dog, and her family.
Today , March 21, is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. Why March 21? Because having Down syndrome means that you have three copies of the 21st chromosome. Get it? 3/21? Super cute idea, right? And it’s a very noble idea. Let’s educate the world about Down syndrome! I’m all for it. But unfortunately, if you go to the Wikipedia article on Down syndrome, you’ll find an article outlining all of the “bad” things about Down syndrome. That people with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, often have behavioral issues, and often have critical health issues. There are many misinformed articles out there with the exact same tone. It’s enough to make anyone nervous and frightened.
But what the article fails to mention is that people with Down syndrome live fulfilling, happy lives. They attend school, hold jobs, have significant others, play sports, act on famous TV shows, and write articulate responses when media persons say crazy things. They are loved unconditionally by their families. They come in every color and size, and live in every corner of the world. People with Down syndrome do amazing things every day that often go unseen by the majority of the population.
We have had the great fortune to photograph many people in our community with Down syndrome. In 2009, I received a grant and edited a book called Walk With Me, where people who have siblings with Down syndrome wrote about their experiences, and it was truly eye-opening. Siblings have perfected the art of acceptance. We understand that our brothers and sisters have Down syndrome. We get it, and there’s nothing we can do to change it. But what we can change is the attitude of everyone around us.
This is a bit of a departure for a photography blog, I know! But I feel that part of my responsibility as a sibling is to spread acceptance and love. People with Down syndrome are people. Pure and simple. They have the same hopes and dreams and fears as everyone else on this planet. They are not a genetic mistake. They are beautiful. And they deserve a place in this world just like everyone else.
Most people know that Down syndrome exists. We’re done with awareness building. Let’s move on to acceptance. Let’s take a pledge to use respectful language and not use the r-word in everyday conversation. Let’s tell people with Down syndrome (or any disability) that they are worthy. If we want people with Down syndrome to be treated equally, WE have to treat them equally. Every one of us. As a photographer, I spend a great deal of time capturing precious moments of life. Let’s make sure that everyone can truly live those precious moments in the best way possible.
“What should we wear?” is the most common question we hear when someone has a portrait session looming on the horizon. Whether it’s for an engagement, a family session, or a senior getting ready for graduation, what to wear is the ultimate question.
And the answer is…it depends! What looks good in real life may not look fantastic on camera. What looks great on camera may be terribly uncomfortable. And what feels comfortable might not look good as a 20×24″ wall portrait hanging in your living room. So what is a girl/boy/family/couple to do?
No, hiding in your closet and waiting for a fairy to bring the perfect outfit is not an option.
Tom and I thought it might be helpful to put together a series of “what to wear” ideas to give you inspiration and guidance. There are a lot of guides out there telling you to wear solids, or wear matching colors, or wear all black, or wear polos with your family crest. But you’ll find that we’re a little different. We won’t tell you what you can and can’t wear. But we do want you to wear something that both represents who you are and won’t make you cringe with embarrassment in fifteen years.
It’s a good idea to talk with your photographer before your portrait session just to run clothing ideas past him or her. Then we have enough time to stop you before you run out and buy matching fleece sweatshirts with giant “Gap” logos emblazoned on the front. Outfit choices can vary based on the time of year, location, time of day, and even age of your children. Babies, for example, can get away with wearing nothing at all half the time. Adults, not so much.
But for those of you looking for suggestions for your upcoming spring family portraits (or maybe just want to look cute for a day out on the town!), here are some boards I put together.
This board is for the preppy family who wants to look coordinated but not super matchy-matchy. There is some pattern going on, but mostly solids to put the focus on your adorable family’s faces. With this look, the goal is to pick one person who can carry a small print (i.e. nothing huge and distracting), and then tie everyone else’s outfit in with color and/or style. For a family portrait, you want to make sure that each outfit can stand alone, and also in pairs. So if we take a portrait of you with your daughter, and another of you with your son, both photos look coordinated and polished. Simple accessories keep the focus on your personalities, not on your bling.
This set of outfits is for the casual family who wants to be comfortable yet presentable in their portraits. It also proves that you can mix patterns, provided the colors are similar and the prints are equal in scale. And not every item of clothing is patterned! Red is a fairly bold color choice that would work well in our home, because we have a red couch in our living room and bolder colors work well. But this color scheme would not work so well if your living room is decorated in, say, muted shades of sage. Always think about where you will display your portraits and whether or not your outfit colors will match!
This final set of outfits shows how you can mix neutrals (that will blend with any decor) with a pop of color to show your personality. Not everyone can wear yellow (myself included!), but think of a neutral backdrop as a canvas to showcase your favorite color without going crazy. Grays work well for portraits because they flatter almost every skin tone, and they are easier to photograph than pure white or black. The trick with neutrals is that wherever you put color, that’s where the focus is going to be. So while your shoes are important, don’t have crazy colored shoes unless you specifically want them to be noticed!
Stay tuned for more “What to Wear” articles for engaged couples and senior portrait sessions!
Interested in booking a session? Contact Lanari Photography today! Kristin and Tom Lanari are custom wedding and portrait photographers located in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Kara and Terry are much hardier souls than I am. They picked a super cold day for their engagement session. Don’t get me wrong, it was a gorgeous day with beautiful light and a beautiful location (Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton). But it was COLD. As in, my feet may or may not have started to get frostbite. How Terry made it through most of the session without gloves boggles my mind. Perhaps I am not the true Wisconsinite I thought I was!
We are so excited for their wedding in September, it’s going to be a blast!
Such beautiful light!
Kara and Terry are hilarious, and willing to try anything. Sometimes we were more successful than others.
Ahhh! What a gorgeous sunset! Such a beautiful end to this awesome engagement session.
Thanks again to all the brides, grooms, moms, best friends, and everyone else who visited our booth at the Spring Wedding Spectacular on Sunday. We had such a great time meeting everyone, and hope you enjoyed meeting us as well! But you didn’t come here to read my ramblings about the wedding show. You came to find out who won our contest!
And the winner is…
Congratulations to Courtney J! Courtney is getting married next April, and we wish her all the best with her wedding plans. If those plans happen to include us, we’d be super honored. Thanks again for everyone who participated!
Getting married? Want to learn more about how Lanari Photography can capture your unique story? Contact Kristin and Tom today! Let’s meet for coffee and chat about your wedding and how we might be the perfect match for your special day. Lanari Photography is located in Appleton, Wisconsin, and specializes in custom wedding and portrait photography.