You finally got around scheduling your family photo session. Everybody is on board with the idea of getting their portrait taken at a beautiful Florida location. Now you have to decide what to wear the day of the session and that is when I receive the “what should we wear” question. For years, my default answer has been along the lines of sticking to neutral colors and complementing with accessories in one color. For instance, everyone wears light gray and white tops or bottoms and women can accessorize with turquoise jewelry, scarfs, shoes, hats, etc. In my book, that is the safest approach to have a cohesive color scheme at the session. However there is more to choosing your outfits for the session. Here are other tips:
Say yes to coordinating colors and say not to matching garments. Celebrate everyone’s individuality by dressing everyone differently while sticking to a similar color scheme.
Simple color coordination: You can stick to two or three colors that go well together. The whole family doesn’t necessarily have to wear the same color top or bottom, alternating the colors adds visual interest to the photographs. If one person wears a bold color garment, there should be a second or third person matching that same bold color item. Even easier, pick one color and work around that!
“Jeans and a white shirt”: You are likely familiar with the safe choice of ” blue jeans and white shirt”combination for family portraits. It became very popular years ago because in addition to being an easy item to find in everyone’s wardrobe, it also looks casual and relaxed for portraits at the beach or the park. However, you never want to have the whole family matching t-shirts and pants in a way that it looks more like an uniform. That is a rather outdated look. This combination should be a baseline that can be expanded upon with accessories and making sure everyone’s shirt design is different.
Garment styles should go together: Is everyone dressed formally or casually? If children are dressed very formally, parents should match the style of clothing of children. Decide in advance the style of the session. Will it be boho, dressy, formal, casual, or urban? That will help you to choose the right garments.
After working with so many moms, I feel strongly about adults avoiding large patterns as much as possible. Oftentimes, patterns add unintended “visual volume” to subjects and I have yet to meet a woman who does not want to look more slender in photographs. Now, there are always exceptions and if patterns are part of your signature personal style, then we can take a look at those garments before your session. We want to make the family or individual portraits about you and not about the outfit. Therefore, I also suggest keeping it simple and avoiding logos or crazy graphic t-shirts.
As obvious as it may sound, the goal of a family portrait session is to emphasize the family, not the location or the outfits. Both location and wardrobe are important, but we do not want them to be distracting. Let’s take the example of a beach photo session. There is more room to add bold colors to your wardrobe since the background will be a combination of neutral colors and a light blue sky and water. If you choose to wear a bold color, make sure that it tights in with the color scheme of the room where you are planning to display your portraits. If your home style is very clean and airy then people in the photo do not necessarily have to stand out against the background so much. In that case, whites, grays, and beige colors at the beach session can complement your home style.
Your daughter’s gorgeous lace-ruffled dress arrived in the mail and it looks beautiful on her, but after 10 minutes she complains that it’s itchy. We can still photograph her in that outfit, but we need a plan to shoot fast and right at the beginning of the session so that she can change into her second outfit that will allow her to play and be her self freely. In general terms, look for clothing that will make you feel comfortable. Your level of comfort will show in the pictures. If you are getting photographed with your small children, take into consideration that you may have to run with them, pick them up, spin them around and all of that can be more challenging if you are not comfortable in your outfit. Pack comfortable flats or flip flops to walk towards the meeting location. Let’s not forget the men in the session and always bring backup shirts for them.
Makeup and hairstyle can take your session to the next level. When you feel terrific and confident during the session, it translates into phenomenal final photos. Makeup artists know how to apply makeup that highlights your best features and looks great on camera, but what if you are doing your own makeup the day of the session? Let’s go over a few quick tips:
I hope you find these tips helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.