What to wear for your family portrait - Guide for parents
When a client contacts me to book a photo shoot, I am often asked what they should wear. Whether it's just the children or the full family it can be hard to decide on a look that works astetically and you are all comfortable in. I decided to write this blog post in the hope that I can make this process as simple as possible.
The main advice I can give is to try to coordinate, not necessarily match.
So after doing some research online I have compiled this list:
Start with one person. It can feel overwhelming to think about dressing the whole family. Start by picking an outfit that you LOVE for one person. Then you can pick out pieces from that one look for the rest of the family. It tends to be easier to find the “center stage” pieces in girls and women’s clothing, so I'd suggest starting with the females and then pull colors from their outfits to create a look for the boys and dads.
Patterns are good – in moderation! Patterns can add texture as well as personality to an image. Just make sure that just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the subjects in simple, or the patterns are subtle and complementary.
Accessorise Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can make an imaage feel “complete.”
Don’t let them take over a shot though. The viewer should notice my subject and their personality first … the accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage. There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes.
Shoes matter Please don’t wear trainers … unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty.
How will the images be displayed? Think about the main reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly. For instance, if it’s for Christmas cards you might want to dress in wintry, seasonal clothing … for a gallery canvas in the living room, think about coordinating with the colors and feel of your decor.
Timeless I would tend to choose clothing that are timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style … but whatever is your style, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
Get comfortable Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they aren’t going to be pulling at their new clothes … you want them happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! Also, try not to make kids change outfits more than a couple times – another reason all those layers and accessories can be handy. The same goes for you – make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.
A few things NOT to do … many of them obvious no-no’s but important to include again as a refresher.
• Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc.
• If anyone is needing a hair cut, be sure to let the hair cut grow out a week or so in order to look most natural.
• Don’t make everyone wear all the same color … matching is boring and dated. Coordinate colors and looks, letting everyone have their own spin on the color palette (and every person does not – should not – have every color used in the color palette). And please no families all dressed in khaki pants, or all in denim and white shirts.
• No bright white socks and no trainers unless we’re talking about something fashion forward and simple like Converse or Vans. And also be sure to remove watches or jewelry not complementary to the session’s look.
I am by no means a fashion guru. I've always been far better at dressing my children then I have been myself. I figure that we all need a little help every now and then. I found this graphic below and it is perfect to give an idea and assist when picking out clothes for a photo session. I keep it handy when picking out outfits for special occations as well as photo sessions.
Have a lovely time choosing outfits and I really hope this helps.