Deciding what to wear in family photos can be just as challenging as finding the perfect photographer. These are photos that you are going to hang on your walls and cherish for many years to come. It is very overwhelming, at least I think so, when considering what to wear for all you family members. Clients often ask me what they should or should not wear to their photography session so I’ve compiled some handy tips! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Tip #1 ~ Reflect Your Style ~
My first answer is always going to be that you should wear something you are comfortable in. Something that you feel beautiful/handsome in. If you feel good, that will be reflected in your photos. You want to choose something that reflects your personal style and that you can have some fun in. Ladies, jewelry can be a fun and simple way to reflect your style if your clothing is more neutral or solid and you want to add some femininity to your look.
Tip #2 ~ Remember Season and Location ~
When choosing your outfits, be sure to always keep in mind the where and when of the session. If we are shooting in the middle of winter, outside in the snow, you would want to think about that fact when choosing your (warm) clothes and appropriate shoes, etc. If you know we plan to do our session in a field, you will want shoes that you can walk out there in. If it’s going to a July session, you may want to dress very lightly.
PS. DON’T forget the color of your socks in case you are sitting on the ground and they show.
Tip #3 ~ Consider your Home Decor ~
Do you like bright colors? Neutrals? Since you will be hanging these photographs in your house you want to make sure the colors of your clothes go with the color scheme of your home.
Tip #4 ~ Nothing Crazy ~
I suggest staying away from clothing with noticeable logos, really loud/busy patterns (small/delicate patterns that don’t overpower are fine), or super bright (like neon) colors. All of those things detract from the real focus of the photos. You.
Neon nails is another one that clients tend to regret. If your nails are neon pink, that is what our eye will be drawn to, so keep that in mind. I am more a fan of clear nail polish or a french manicure.
Keep your clothing classic and try not to incorporate too many super trendy outfits. Someday you may look back and think that :gasp: those furry panda ears on my hat are a little strange after all. Your children will be amused with the photos, but you may not.You get the idea.
Tip #5~ Textures and Layers ~
Using multiple textures such as lace, corduroy, denim, etc. can really add something more to your photos. Wearing layers is a plus, too. Layers can add some flair to your outfit, and as a bonus they can save you an outfit change if you throw on a sweater and a hat and have a whole new look… Or take off your jacket and shoes and have a new, more casual outfit. Something to keep in mind.
(While mentioning fabrics I want to also say that you will want to be sure you are packing your clothing in a manner that prevents wrinkling!)
Tip #6~ Shoes ~
For the guys its fairly simple. I just suggest no white tennis shoes. They draw the eye right to your guys feet and away from your family’s cute faces! Neutral shoes are usually best, but sometimes a pop of color is perfect on your feet, so its not a hard and fast rule. For ladies. I love sassy heels and flair on your feet, but I also suggest that you bring along a pair of flip flops or flats to walk around in when we move from location to location. Sometimes those killer heels can be… well…. killer. Watch your SOCKS color…they may show and black shoes with white sports socks…NOT GOOD!
Tip #7~ Make Up ~
For family sessions, make up should be just the tiniest bit heavier than you would wear on a normal day. For engagement sessions you can either choose to keep it simple still or you can choose to test out your wedding day make up artist (this is a great time for the trial!). Ladies, always bring a powder compact along for those touch ups if you start to get shiny. You may also want to carry along your lipstick or lipgloss in case you want to reapply.
Tip #8~ Coordinating Outfits ~
If you are doing family photos or an engagement session, its a great idea to coordinate your outfits a bit, but that does not mean the same thing as matching completely. Long gone are the days where you all where white or black shirts. Don’t be afraid of choosing a couple colors that will fit in the color scheme. I find that having everyone matching tends to make them seem to blend together and there is no real pop to the photo. Besides, it’s much more fun to see everyone’s personalities in their outfits!
If I were creating a set of outfits for a family session here is what I would do. While keeping in mind where we are doing the session and what season we are shooting in, I would choose one fun accent color to build from and then add in a couple of neutrals and/or toned down colors that would compliment that. Then try to keep everyone’s clothes in this color scheme as much as is manageable. You want the colors to be complimentary to each other.
When shopping for clothes for kids, head to stores that typically have color coordinating collections. Examples are The Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree.
Tip #9~ Plan Ahead ~
Once you book your session, start thinking about your outfit choices. Make sure your family members try on their clothes weeks prior to the appointment to ensure it fits properly. Over sized or clothes that are too tight or short will not photograph well, and we don’t want to be spending all our time fixing clothing and missing the perfect shot. Make sure all you clothing is LINT FREE and CLEAN.
Tip #10~ NO Characters ~
You child may love their superhero characters, but we want to skip this for family photos. These shirts are very distracting to the eye and take away from you the subject…You!
Here are some examples of coordinating outfits that I think do this well. Some are inspired by a theme or a type of session and some are more focused on season.