Be comfortable. Be authentic. Be you.
“What should I wear?” is the most frequent question we get prior to a photo session. We’ve put together some tips to help you pick out your family’s clothing to make a beautiful portrait.
The first thing we recommend thinking about is what you will be doing with your family photos. If you’re going to display them in your house, think about the colors you used in your decorating. We’re certainly not suggesting you dress to match your sofa, but choose clothing colors that would complement your décor.
Think simple and timeless. Choose classic styles over trendy clothes. Fun accessories are fine (and encouraged!), but make sure they’re not too bold.
Here are our best tricks:
- Pick three complementary colors (some we like are: blue, orange, brown / purple, grey, yellow / red, blue, white)
- Select clothing for each person that builds upon this combination. Everyone doesn’t have to wear all three colors, but it helps to pull it all together if someone can construct an outfit that contains all three colors.
- You don’t have to have equal representation of all three colors.
- Layer, layer, layer. Layers give us some options to work with and provide visual interest to the photo.
- Textures are fantastic!
Solids are always good. Subtle patterns, stripes or dots are okay as long as they are not too bold, just keep the patterns to one or two people in your group. Watch the kids’ clothing—non-descript graphics are okay, but you may want to skip the licensed characters. Keep in mind that any text on clothing will stand out.
- Make sure everyone in the group is wearing the same style of clothing (dressy, elegant, casual, hipster, etc.).
- Avoid overexposure of skin. The eye is automatically attracted to flesh—avoid low cut clothing and sleeveless tops.
- Shoes will show in some of the photos, so be sure they coordinate with your outfits.
- Collared shirts frame the face in a lovely way.
- Large amounts of pure black and pure white makes people look washed out in photos.
- If it looks a little wrinkled in person, it looks a lot wrinkled on camera.
And, finally, unless your family typically dresses identically, skip the matchy-matchy outfits. Telling everyone to “wear black” or “wear jeans and a white shirt” is fine. Dictating that everyone wear the same flag t-shirt looks silly and may get you submitted to Awkward Family Photos. (Just kidding…kind of.)