Blog #5: Outfits & Props

Ok, straight away from the off, I want to say that I have absolutely no intention of telling you what your children should wear! That choice, ultimately, is down to both you and your kids! Whilst I'm certainly of the opinion that children should be encouraged to find their own sense of style, it is also true that certain types of clothing work really well for photographs, and others, well, don't! Indeed, as a professional photographer, one of the first questions a couple or a family ask me after booking a shoot is: "What should we wear?", so I hope that it isn't presumptuous of me to detail here what tends to work for the type of outdoor photographs I capture. That being said, though, anything that follows here in this blog is purely for information. You and your children should wear what they like and what they are comfortable in!

Ok, with that out of the way, I'll get straight to it - my top hints and tips for outfits, props and accessories in outdoor photographs (but you don't have to listen if you don't want to!).

1. decide on your Style!

Like I said above - what your children should wear in photographs is largely down to you and them. It really depends on how you style your kids (or how they style themselves) and also what vibe you want to portray in your photos. On my Instagram feed, I see kids wearing all sorts, from chinos and shirts and shorts and tees, to fancy coats and dresses, flat caps, hoodies and dungs - the options available are endless! It also depends on your setting, too. I'm often shooting in the forest whilst out foraging, a place where shirts and shoes won't be as practical as coats and wellies, so you'll need to take that into account, too!

Arthur has gradually begun to find his own style and identity, including wearing his family tartan kilt. I think this is rather lovely!

2. Choosing Outfits

Generally speaking, Arthur and Sybbie wear a mix of styles. For forages and photos, we'll tend to wear more practical clothes, such as jeans, jumpers, wellies, and coats, but occasionally the kids will want to wear something else. Arthur really enjoys wearing his kilt, and Sybbie does love a dress, too, depending on her mood. I tend to like dungarees, and hand-made pieces from small, independent eco-inspired brands, like Moonchild UK, but am also very partial to more "traditional" kids clothes, like those seen in one of my favourite Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street! That 1994 movie is a masterclass in lighting and styling, and although the 1940's-inspired outfits may not be to everyone's taste, I certainly do draw a some inspiration from there!

When I'm dressing the kids for a shoot, I always ask them what they'd like to wear, then I'll grab that, plus a few different outfits out of the wardrobe and let them decide. On occasion, they will pick something that I know won't look the best for photos, and in these instances, I may "suggest" alternatives, but if they're adamant on their first choice, then we'll just go with that - I'd rather them be happy out on a forage or shoot, even if the clothes they've picked aren't what I would have chosen! Quite often, the Northumberland weather does the choosing anyway - in Autumn and Winter, it's a given that they'll be wearing a warm coat, so it doesn't really matter what they've got on underneath, anyway!

My love of Miracle on 34th Street can really be seen in this image - I was all over these 1940's-inspired winter coats, much to my bank balance's dismay!

3. What works for Photographs

In reality, the style of clothes doesn't really matter for photographs - shirts and shoes work just as well as dungarees and boots, what does have big impact though, are the properties of the clothes themselves, such as the colours, patterns, fibres and how reflective they are. When recommending clothing for shoots to clients, these are the things I focus on, as they really can make or break a photograph!


Although it is possible to make any colour work, generally speaking, for outdoor portraits in nature, neutral colours tend to look the best. This is because the environment in these natural spaces, consists of browns, greens and oranges, so we should ideally try to replicate, or match-up clothing-wise, with the surroundings. Tones like greys, creams, and browns, do a good job of co-ordinating with the environment, and for contrast, muted or weathered colour variations, like caramels, greens, and yellows, also pair-up pretty well. This isn't to say that more vivid colours like reds, blues, or pinks, can't be used or don't work, they do, but they will have the effect of making the kid's clothes become the dominant visual factor in an image, rather than the kids. If you're happy with that, then that's absolutely fine!

Colours to generally avoid are quite garish ones, like chrome yellow, slime green, or candy-floss pink (think fluorescent markers!). These are are generally not found in natural environments, and are so bright and vivid, that they'd detract from the image. Vivid Purples also don't tend to work very well in the woods, although darker or muted purple tones can work if you happen to find a stand of Bluebells! Also be aware of mixing clothing colours, even muted ones, that don't generally go together, like black and blue, or red and purple.

Neutral clothing, like these pinstriped dungaree shorts, can really help everything in a scene to blend together.

Muted hues, like baby blue or dusty pink, add a touch of colour, but still blend-in nicely.

More vivid colours tend to make subjects stand out against the neutral backdrop of the forest. It's important to remember that there's nothing at all wrong with strong colours - they can create contrast and provide a focal point for an image.


The material that clothing is made from can have quite a strong impact on images, particularly if they are shiny or reflective, as these will bounce light around in an unnatural and unpredictable way. I much prefer natural fibres, such as wool, cotton and canvas, as these are non-reflective, often in neutral colours, and just generally fit-in better with my outdoor, eco-friendly aesthetic. I particularly love traditional woven garments, like Arran and Fair isle-style jumpers, tweeds and tartans, corduroy dungarees, and plain or patterned cotton canvas items. These remind me of my own childhood (weren't the 80's fab!?), and provide a sense of bygone tradition to my images, which ties in quite nicely with the foraging element.

These burnt orange corduroys blend in really well with the autumnal hues of the forest.

These forest green corduroys provide a subtle contrast against the autumn leaves, but blend in pretty well.

This tank top is perfect for me - neutral in colour, with Arran-style knitwork, plus embroidered mushrooms and flowers!

The knitwork weaves of the kid's jumpers in this image provide texture and contrast.

Patterns, Logos, Images & Lettering

In principle, there's nothing wrong with patterns. They can be very pretty, and add depth and texture to photographs. Nice patterns that work tend to be simple, less contrasty, neutral ones, like pinstripes, embroidery, or other kinds of knitted designs (think Arran or Fair-Isle jumpers). Strong, colourful patterns that dominate an item of clothing, like zig-zags or heavy geometric patterns, should normally be avoided, but this isn't a hard and fast rule, as it depends on the pattern, it's location on the garment, and how bright or dominant it is.

I often avoid big logos, particularly those on sportswear, as they don't fit-in with my style, visual aesthetic and the overall tone of my images. Clothing with images or lettering however, is something I don't mind using in photographs, particularly if the image, slogan or content fits in with my aesthetic, an activity, or a particular scene. The kids do have a number of pieces that contain both images and lettering, including some from their own line of foraging tees (that they've designed themselves) - so it really depends on what the text says, and how bright, colourful or contrasty the image or lettering is! If you'd like to see the kid's line of clothes, you can check out Foraging Threads at

I do prefer simple patterns in general, like these pinstriped cotton dungaree shorts.

These outfits are pattern heavy, but they are not too strong or garish.

These "Fearless Forager" pieces from Moonchild UK fit with my aesthetic. The colour tones in this image all match-up, too.

Sybbie is sporting one of our own foraging tees in this image, which contains a lovely Shaggy Inkcap graphic.

Arthur designed this tee himself, which features a golden chanterelle graphic and the term he uses to describe this delicious mushroom.

This is one of Arthur's favourite cotton tees, from Moonchild UK, which features a subtle glitter print that says "Forest Folk".

3. Clothing Accessories

Finding and choosing clothing accessories can be an immensely fun part of putting an outfit together. Items like bags, satchels, rucksacks, hats, scarfs, headbands and jewellery can all add little details to images that can help to tell a story, or quite often, just look insanely cute! Arthur and Sybbie have lots of accessories that they like to bring with them on forages, from animal-inspired hats and bonnets, to bags and other items that they've chosen or bought themselves, such as Arthur's leather hat and satchel, both of which he chose and haggled-for himself at a Moroccan Souk. Accessories are very handy for photos, as they can act as little touches and details that blend-in with a scene, or can add a pop of colour or flair to an image by becoming a centrepiece, or focal point.

Sybbie's leather rucksack pairs really well with her boots, and is also practical for storing forest treasures.

Arthur purchased these leather accessories whilst on holiday in Morocco. I love the fact that he chose and bought them himself!

Traditional bonnets can really provide a sense of bygone charm.

This lion bonnet is one of Arthur's favourite hats, from Wolf & The Wildling.

This wolf headband was part of a seasonal subscription box from Moonchild UK.

This fox bonnet, from a New Zealand-based company called "Wolf & The Wildling", is just so adorable!

4. Footwear

The type of footwear you choose for a shoot depends on a number of factors, such as how suitable they are for the environment you'll be shooting in, the aesthetic you are going for, and what is comfortable for the kids! Being outdoorsy, Arthur and Sybbie tend to wear leather boots or wellies, but they do on occasion wear pumps, trainers or fancy shoes. Sybbie is also rather partial to a pair of rainbow Crocs, much to my artistic dismay! The colour of footwear can be a bit of an issue when it comes to my aesthetic - I prefer footwear to be neutral in colour, but the manufacturers of children's footwear, particularly wellies, seem to love bright green and yellow crocodiles! Ultimately, like clothing, what footwear your kids wear is down to you and them!

I absolutely love these embroidered boots from Petit Nord, they can be a little on the expensive side, though, so ebay and Vinted are often my best friend!

A sturdy pair of leather boots are often essential for the environments where we forage. Leather boots tend to be neutral in colour and therefore perfect for natural portraits.

For wet weather, wellies are essential! I prefer neutral tones, but both kids also have more "novelty" varieties, too!

Posh shoes are lovely, but don't look lovely for long, especially when running through muddy puddles!

Sturdy footwear is essential for safe tree climbing!

A beautiful setting, a gorgeous smocked dress, and err... rainbow crocs!

6. Props & Costumes


It goes without saying that as a foraging family, the main "props" we tend to use in our photos are foraging baskets and wooden boards! Baskets look awesome either in the kid's hands, or as a medium for displaying all the wonderful things we find in the wilds, and their neutral colour always blends well with the woodland and forests settings we frequent! Boards are also great for showing finds in the kitchen as we prep and cook them. We also use other foraging related props, such as bags, knives and axes - I use the term prop quite loosely here, as they are often quite essential for what we do! Other props can include toys, musical instruments, garden hoses, or whatever else the kids like to play with!

A wild food larder in the kitchen! Boards and baskets are great for rustic-style photos.

This board was the perfect frame for this magnificent mushroom haul!

The shapes and textures in wicker baskets make for some lovely photographs.

Baskets come in all shapes and sizes, smaller ones are ideal for kids!

Sybbie's "toot toot" is cute, but noisy!

Even everyday objects can make excellent photography props!

These realistic forest mushrooms from Moon Picnic are wonderful learning tools, but also very pretty, and very photogenic!


Costumes, on the other hand are often worn by the kids "just because". Like many children, Arthur and Sybbie love to play dress-up, so we do like to include some costumes wherever we can, even if it doesn't really fit-in all that well with the type of photos we usually capture! Our costumes range from full-on fancy-dress and Halloween outfits, to other accessories like onesies, masks, tails, or flower crowns. Whatever makes foraging fun and tickles the kids' pickles!

Arthur has a range of dragon tails and wings that he loves to wear.

This adorable fox bonnet and vest is one of Sybbie's favourites!

A couple of forest fairies playing on a natural see-saw! These adorable short dungs are from Moonchild UK and were paired here with some fairy wings and some homemade flower crowns. Instant fairy!

To augment the forest fairy illusion, I also edited Sybbie's eye colour to better fit in with the scene.

These traditional outfits were gifts from Arthur and Sybbie's German grandparents, and made for the perfect Hansel and Gretel!

That's all for now! If any of you have any queries or comments, feel free to email or DM me on social media @thegrizzlyforager! I'd also love for you to post a few of your pics if you've put these tips into practice!

Happy Snapping!

Next Blog In The Series:

Photographing children can be a nightmare. These hints and tips will make it a little easier and help everyone relax and enjoy the shoot!

Coming Soon