So you’ve just booked family photos, congrats! Having family photos taken is important; your family will continue to grow up and change and these photos will become a treasure to your kids when they are grown. Choosing the right outfits can pull things together and create a beautiful, lasting memory that will be cherished for years.
Choosing what to wear for your photo session can be difficult, so this guide should help with making those tough choices.
Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to dress up!
Getting family portraits is a special occasion! These photos freeze your family in the very place you are right now! I typically encourage clients to wear their “Sunday Best.” The key is to choose classic, timeless styles that fit everyone well. When you look good, you feel good and that confidence translates in the photos!
Tip 2: Start with Mom
It’s typically easiest if Mom chooses her outfit and then builds the rest of the family's around it. How dressy (or casual) Mom is, sets the tone for everyone else. Dresses and skirts are always a great choice and come in a variety of styles to flatter mom and dress things up or down. Long and flowy skirts with movement photograph extremely well, and look great on anyone. Fabrics like chiffon and tulle dress things up and can give things a romantic feel, especially when we do a mini couple session for Mom and Dad during the shoot! Accessories like cardigans, belts, scarves, hair bows, and statement jewelry can be a great way to finish things off and tie into a common color palette.
Tip 3: Now on to Dad
Dad’s outfit should compliment Mom’s and mirror how dressy she is. Khakis or slacks are always a good choice and photograph well. Polos, Henleys and button ups are a good choice and look sharp and masculine. Accessories should be considered for Dad as well just to add more dimension and texture. Sport jackets/Blazers, suspenders, ties and watches can help spice things up and keep Dad’s outfit from being too plain.
Tip 4: For the kids…
The kids’ outfits should also compliment Mom (and Dad’s). For girls, skirts and dresses are a fun choice. For little girls, make sure it’s long enough that we won’t be fussing with it throughout the shoot. For boys, khakis, button ups, and polos work well. Accessorize with headbands, belts, scarves, hats, bows, etc.
Make sure you do a test fit with the kids. It’s important that they are comfortable and able to move freely. A dry run can help eliminate problems with new outfits before the big shoot day.
Tip 5: Coordinating Colors
This tip here is the secret; coordinating colors in complimentary styles work better than having everyone wear the exact same color. It adds interest, texture and allows each member of the family to maintain an identity within the whole family unit. I recommend 2 complimentary colors with an accent color. Neutrals can be used in whatever combination to pull things together without going too crazy.
Clothing with patterns can be used, but carefully. I recommend no more than 2 patterns within the family unit. Maybe 2 people wear plaid and 1 wears stripes or floral, etc. As long as the colors in those patterns all compliment things will look great in photos! On that note, avoid thin stripes- they don’t photograph well! Also avoid neon colors as they can negatively affect skin tones in the photo.
For example; maybe you pick mom’s dress- she’s wearing a creme colored dress. Now dad may wear Navy slacks and a white button up with a tan vest. Daughter can wear a blue dress with a pop of yellow. The son can wear khaki pants with a navy button up and a yellow bow tie. Add a yellow bow tie to Dad’s outfit and a yellow cardigan to mom’s outfit. Everyone has a unique outfit within a similar color palette and looks cohesive together.
Tip 6: Lay it all out
It can be helpful to lay the entire family’s outfits out side by side on the floor. be sure to include accessories like belts, scarves, cardigans, suspenders, ties, etc. It gives a good idea of how it will all look together on the day. Do all the colors and textures look good together? Does anything clash? If you have any doubts or questions about how things might photograph, snap a picture and send it to me. I am more than happy to steer you in the right direction.
Tip 7: Makeup for photography
If you are able to, have your makeup professionally done! It’s a fun way to pamper yourself and if you let the artist know that it’s for photography purposes they should know what to do to ensure it looks great in your photos!
If you aren’t able to get it done professionally, then just be sure to use a slightly heavier hand than you normally do. The colors won’t be near as saturated and bright in pictures as it looks in person. I also recommend using a matte finish to your products and avoiding using too much highlighter.
Tip 8: Consider photo location
Above all else, consider the location of your photos. Pumps may not be practical in a forest location while cowboy boots may look funny in an urban setting. Always consider what the background will look like as well as how much walking we may do on the day of in between shoot locations. Comfort and timeless styles will always be a great choice.
I hope some of these tips help when it comes time to decide what might be best to wear for your family photos. Don’t stress too much, and have fun with it! Having portraits done should be a fun experience that helps you freeze your family in time.