Almost every client I’ve ever photographed has asked me this question: “What do we wear for our family pictures?”
Every family is different and has their own style. Some want to keep it very casual and even let the kids have some say in the outfits of the day. Some want every detail planned out. I advise based on what I know about the family or the direction I feel their session is going.
If you are setting up a family session and photographing it yourself, you may be asking the same question. Here are 10 tips to help you choose clothing on your big day.
1. One option is to let the children stand out. Choose colorful patterns and fun styles for the kids and let the parents be more neutral or choose a solid color from the children’s outfits to accent.
2. Coordinate, instead of match. Some families prefer to go with all one color and that’s fine if it works well for your family and you like the way it looks in your home (keep in mind your family portraits will most likely be displayed in your living room- is it formal, casual, traditional?). If you choose a more colorful theme, don’t be afraid to mix it up a little. Choose colors that compliment each other or even different patterns.
3. Neutrals with pops of color work well too. Add some bright jewelry or a colorful scarf to show off your style.
4. Start with one outfit and see what works with it. Sometimes you find the perfect outfit for your child and you can pull colors from their clothing to find yours. I always suggest dressing mom first. When you look good, everyone else will look great too!
5. Add layers: cardigans, hats, vests, leggings. What you’re really adding is texture to your images with all the different layers. This works well especially if you have a neutral theme.
6. Don’t forget the accessories. Jewelry, hats and scarves can make a big difference with simple clothing. I always advise seniors to bring a variety of accessories.
7. Let the kids help. Trust me, things will go much more smoothly if the kids like what they are wearing. I can never get my son to cooperate if I make him wear something he feels stupid in.
8. Feel good and be comfortable. Choose something you feel great in and also something not too uncomfortable. If you are taking the photos yourself you may be up and down a lot and running around. If you constantly have to stop and adjust tight or fussy clothing it will get frustrating fast.
9. Avoid anything too trendy. You may want to display these photos for several years. Remember how quickly styles change.
10. Shop smart: start in your own closets. You may end up having everything you need right at home.
Have fun with your family photos this year. Don’t stress out about what to wear. Getting them done is the biggest challenge.