A question I get asked frequently is what I recommend people wear for their family photos. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here, but here are a few things to consider.
Consider the weather. If you will be taking photos outdoors then dress according to the weather as much as possible. If you are doing family photos in the summer then dresses and khaki shorts are a great “dressy” solution without worrying about dress pants and suit coats in the heat. Or if it’s fall and you hoped to wear sweaters with jeans, but then a cold front comes through and it is freezing – then bundle up! Wear coats and scarves. It will still makes for super cute photos and your kiddos won’t look completely miserable. Also, if the weather suddenly changes (i.e. you expected it to be pleasant spring weather and suddenly there is a cold snap), don’t be afraid to talk to your photographer about rescheduling for a more pleasant day.
Consider your location. If you are doing spring photos with lots of blossoms in the backdrop then you might want to wear pastels to complement the scenery. If you are taking photos on the beach, you might consider either really bold colors that will pop against the white sand & blue water or you might want to go with a more neutral color palate to soften the photos. Pinterest is a great resource for this. Just type in “Beach Family Photos” or “Fall Family Photos” or “Rustic Family Photos” or whatever style of session you are doing and you will see a plethora of ideas!
Consider if you want a trendy look or a classic look. My regular clients have updated family photos taken every season, every six months, or at least once a year. But other clients have photos taken only every couple of years or even every five years. If the family photo you are going to take today will be displayed on the wall for the next five years, you might want to think twice before wearing something super trendy. There’s nothing wrong with wearing trendy clothes, but it certainly makes photos look more dated to a specific time frame which may not be ideal if you only take photos every 5 years.
- Classic Look Suggestion: A little black dress next to a suit is going to look great. Put kids in their Sunday best neutrals and bada-bing, bada-boom – you have magic.
- Trendy Look Suggestion: Currently I see a lot of chunky cardigans, furry vests, buffalo plaid, florals, and chambray. But a year from now this will be totally different. For the most updated colors of the season, check out the Pantone colors by Googling “Pantone Spring 2017” (or if you are reading this in the fall of 2018 then you can do the same search, but with the updated season and year). And of course you can search “family photos” on Pinterest and you will have an array of choices at your fingertips.
- Fun Outfits Suggestion: I love when families want to do a fun outfit together. Typically we’ll take photos in their “normal” clothes and then everyone will change for one or two fun photos. These can revolve around a school, sports team, movie, etc!
Be comfortable in what you wear. This can happen to any member of the family, but I see it most frequently with women and teen girls. You don’t want to wear something that you are constantly tugging on. If you are tucking your bra straps in with every shift in position or tugging your skirt down or shirt up, you are going to look uncomfortable in the photos. This happens a lot to men with shirt sleeves that they’ve three quartered, but won’t stay that way. From my side it’s not terribly inconvenient to have you adjust your clothing before each shot, but my clients tend to be less at ease if I’m frequently having them adjust clothing.
Wear colors that complement each other. You don’t have to be super matchy-matchy, but do shoot for colors that complement each other well. Again, Pinterest is a great resource for this. Try searching: “Family Photo Color Scheme.”
A word of caution about pattern mixing. Having several different patterns being worn by different people in your family photo can be really distracting. For example, if we have stripes, polka dots, paisley, and plaid all in the same picture then all the attention will be on the clothes instead of the people wearing them. Patterns certainly can add some interest to family photos so they are fine to wear as long as it’s only a couple of people wearing them.
Final Thoughts. If you aren’t confident in your outfit choices, talk to your photographer! Send her or him photos of what you are thinking of wearing and ask for opinions. I do this for clients all the time. I want my clients to feel confident that our session together is going to turn out awesome so I don’t want them doubting whether or not they picked out good color combinations for photos. And feel free to check out my Pinterest board: What to Wear for some of my current favorite ideas.
When was the last time you did family photos? How did you choose what to wear?