"What should we wear?" is the most common question I am asked as a photographer. I can almost hear the stress in mom’s voice as she asks. And as a mom myself, I get it! Dressing myself and looking pulled together can be challenging enough, never mind trying to dress the whole family! So I decided to share some of my favorite tips to help you and your family look picture perfect! You can also click the link below to use Style and Select for an easy way to choose your outfits. Be sure to use style code Fall2022.
It may sound simple, but this is one that can easily be over looked. Some colors look great together and some… well, not so much. Before thinking about what to wear in your family photos or what color scheme to choose for your outfits, start by thinking about where you plan to display your portraits. And where your portraits will be taken. If the wall where you plan to hang your family portrait is brightly colored, you may want to avoid brightly colored outfits so the colors don’t compete. Instead opt for soft neutrals or muted tones. The location you choose will also impact the colors you choose to dress your family in. Think about the overall colors of your location. If it is mid summer there may be lots of green in your portraits. Red clothing choices during this time may unintentionally leave your portraits feeling a little Christmassy.
Gone are the days of everyone wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans. Today’s family pictures are more about coordinating than matching. Everyone doesn’t have to wear the same color. Or dress in the same style! Each person in your family can dress in a way that fits their own personality. And you can still look pulled together in your family pictures.
I’m sure you’re wondering, How do we pull that off? And still look coordinated? Below are a few general tips.
This may be a first in a long time. And may not happen again for a long time. But mom, you get to go first! Pick an outfit that you feel amazing in! Let’s celebrate the fact that you will be in these pictures. You will get to love on and play with your family and create amazing memories. As a mom myself, I know that opportunity is rare. I am usually the one snapping away pictures. I am rarely in them. And… if I am, they may not ever see the light of day.
So moms, I get it. This family session is special and important for so many reasons. And one of those is that you get to be in them! As a photographer, I want to make sure you not only love your images, but also love the way you look in them. And one way to make that happen is to make sure you feel incredible in what you are wearing. When you feel amazing, it really does show in pictures. So, just this once, you get to go first! Go shopping! Find something that you love. Something that makes you feel amazing!
If you decide to purchase new items for your session, try them on and wear them around the house or out and about. Make sure you feel comfortable in them and you aren’t concerned about straps, see-through fabrics, or worrying about the fit. This will ensure you and your family are as comfortable as possible during the session. The more comfortable you are the more your photos will look amazing!
If you noticed I used dresses in my inspiration boards above for what to wear in your family photos. There are two reasons. Dresses tend to be flattering on women and in photos. Second, using dresses helps to add variation to the overall image and avoid a strong horizontal line in your image. Imagine if everyone in your family wore a light colored top and dark pants. If I took a picture of your family standing up, there would be a visual line at your waist separating the top half of the portrait (light colored shirts) and bottom half of the photograph (dark pants). By having different colors on tops and bottoms as well as using a variety of styles (skirts, dresses, pants and shirts) you can avoid this and create a much more interesting family portrait.
There are a few items of clothing that are best to avoid all together. Graphic tees or clothing with large logos can look great in casual everyday wear. But in pictures, they tend to steal all the attention. So it is best to save them for another occasion. The same is true for neon colors, sunglasses + mens baseball caps.
Dressing in layers will add dimension and depth to your images. This is one of the biggest differences between sessions that look good and sessions that have that wow factor. During the cooler months, you may choose to add a tailored cardigan or jacket over a dress. This is the perfect opportunity to also add a layer of texture for even greater visual interest. For mom, this may be a light and airy lace shrug in the spring. Or a wide cable knit cardigan for the fall. The trick to pulling off layers is to keep them tailored so they look sophisticated rather than bulky. For little girls, textured tights under a layered skirt, paired with a top and a little denim jacket always looks polished and pulled together.
It’s so much fun buying cute new kids clothes for photos! However, if you buy the next size up with the intention of letting them grow into it, you’ll run the risk of having your kids look disheveled in your portraits. For photos, its a much better idea to choose clothes fit them snugly- no floppy arm holes on dresses for little girls or too-big shirts for little guys.
Up until now, we have been looking at your family’s wardrobe as a whole. But if you plan to have a picture taken of just your children together, or a mommy daughter picture, be sure to consider how those outfits look together as well. If your daughter has a flowered dress on and you son is also wearing a heavy pattern, it may be a bit too much when they are the only two in the picture. If this is the case, you could select a different outfit for one of them. Or you could choose to add a solid sweater, jacket or cardigan to one of the outfits when they are paired together for a photo.
Lastly, when you think you have your outfits selected and ready to go, lay them all out together and take a quick cell phone picture of it. When you look at the picture, do you love it? Do you see anything that needs to change? It’s funny how a picture can often show us any little issues. Once you have your outfits set, try to relax, have fun, and enjoy some sweet family time during your session. I can't wait to see you!