Preparing for your family photo shoot and choosing outfits doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Wondering what to wear for your family portraits? Below I’ve included some of my tried and true tips for choosing outfits.
1. AVOID SUPER TRENDY CLOTHING
Your family photos are items to be treasured for years to come, so things like bell sleeves or stonewashed jeans may look awesome right now but may make you cringe in a few years. In other words, don’t let the outfit overtake the photo shoot. I want you to view your photos years from now and smile at you cuddling your toddler, or giggling with your spouse, not wondering “oh my, why was I wearing that outfit?!?!”
2. BUILD OFF OF ONE PERSON’S OUTFIT
In most cases there is one main person preparing for the shoot and booking the session, so work off of his or her favorite outfit. They are the one who is arranging the shoot, planning the outfits, and realistically they are also the one who is the one deciding which photos get printed. So the person coordinating the photoshoot should plan the outfits around what they’re wearing. For example if you love that olive green dress you should choose some colors and patterns that go well with it (bright pinks, dark jeans, etc.) and work from there. Some women like bright colors or skirts – and their families should plan accordingly. If mom is wearing a pink pencil skirt, perhaps her son could have a pink bow tie. I think it looks best if the whole family sticks with formal or casual style, and choose based on what is your family’s norm.
3. STAY CONSISTENT WITH COLOR PALETTES
What does your family generally wear? Neutrals, brights, patterns? You want the style to look authentic to your family. Okay, so gym shorts and leggings are out, but if you love jeans and t-shirts think about wearing crisp dark jeans with a henley as a bit of a dress up. Some families love to dress up and if that’s the case then make it happen for your photos too.
4. COORDINATE BUT DON’T MATCH
I say this all the time, even with just two people in a shoot. Also, it’s always great to add texture to outfits. That said, if someone is wearing plaid not everyone needs to wear plaid. Same with jeans, please don’t overdue it with denim—have you seen the awkward family photo galleries? That’s not where you want to end up. There’s a coordinated family and then there’s all the denim, all the time. Plaid shirt, a down vest, and a chunky sweater are all options to stay in a similar feel without everyone wearing the same thing.
5. CONSIDER THE BACKGROUND AND LOCATION
Your background helps to determine your outfits. If you are out in a field then the look will be very different than if you are in the middle of the city—a field may call for neutral fabrics where the modern backdrop of concrete in the city can take a much brighter palette. Have your own idea of where you’d like you shoot to take place (or brainstorm with me about location options) to determine the aesthetic you’re going for. Make a Pinterest board of outfit ideas, or check out mine to get some ideas.
6. DON’T FORGET TO GROOM
Try and settle on your outfits the week before the shoot so you’re not feeling stressed. If you have boys in the family, considering getting them a haircut a week before the shoot and if you want to get your own hair and makeup done then do so. With that in mind though, if you don’t usually wear curly hair then don’t do it just for the shoot, try and look like yourself so you’ll feel more connected to your images. For instance, I don’t show up “glam” for my photos because I’m not exactly a glam kind of girl.