What do we wear for our family portrait? Is one of the most common questions I hear right after people schedule their session. While I’m more in the camp of wear what you love and feel good in, I have to admit that the clothes can really add to a photograph. And even I have asked this question to friends when getting ready for my own family’s photo session. It can be stressful to try to coordinate multiple outfits and come up with a perfect color scheme, especially if you’re trying to avoid shopping for the entire family. Since I like to keep things as simple as possible, here are 5 steps for choosing your family portrait fashions.
1. Dress the mom first.
In my experience, mom is the hardest to please and if you start with the kids, you’ll end up with a color scheme you may have nothing you like to go with. If you wear something you don’t like or think makes you look bad, you won’t like the pictures. Trust me. So, Mom, go to your closet and pick out about three outfits that you love, feel good in and look good in. A great pair of jeans, a fun dress, a top that always makes you feel thin. Don’t worry about colors or patterns right now. Just choose with your favorites in mind.
2. Dress the kids second.
Examine the kids’ closets. Pull things that could coordinate with your top three outfits and put them all close together. Lay them out on a bed or the couch so you can see how things work together. Not everything has to be the exact same color, shades of your main color will work too.
3. Mix it up.
Not everyone has to wear jeans or solid colors. Patterns, skirts, and different textures will work together and actually look better than everyone in a solid color. So, if you’ve chosen a black top for yourself, choose a black or gray checked shirt for your son, or a floral or striped skirt for your daughter. Let the main colors from your clothes be your guide, not the rule.
4. Dad’s turn.
Now scope out dad’s closet. I’ve always found that if I have to buy one piece to coordinate the family, it’s easier to dress dad than anyone else. Picking up a new top for dad that fits with the rest of the family will be a piece of cake compared to shopping for a new outfit for mom. Jeans or Khaki’s, blazer or tie? Don’t stress about it. Ask him which he likes best and move on.
5. Add Pops of color.
Now that you have the basics chosen and a color theme, go back and search closets for cardigans, ties, headbands, scarfs, hats or anything that will bring in a secondary color. You may have already started doing this when you chose kids’ clothes that coordinate rather than match. I just want to reinforce the idea that you shouldn’t avoid color in favor of solid neutrals. Color will brighten up your portrait and help pull everything together. Not everyone needs a piece of the secondary color. It could be just the girls, or just the kids. Or if you have a large multi-generation family portrait, use more than one secondary color help group individual family units.
Now that you’ve got everything you need (or almost), snap a photo with your phone. If you have to go shopping for one more piece, seeing how the clothes look together will help you choose what’s missing. You might just happen upon a new scarf that will brighten up your outfit and make you feel more pulled together.
Remember, don’t stress. It’s not about the clothes, it’s about the people. Those clothes are going to go out of style in a few years anyway, those people will always be important.
I’ve started a Pinterest board on What to Wear. Check that out for ideas and inspiration.
Ready to schedule your family session? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the calendar for November.