Spring is approaching fast and even though it’s still a little frosty here, people are booking sessions left and right for family portraits. Clients will often ask me what they should wear for photos or what colors would look best on them. I even get a lot of comments on the colors we chose for our family photos when I was pregnant last year. So I figured I’d give you the low down on how to decide what to wear for family pictures.
***Anyone who takes a lot of family photos has a different method for choosing what to wear, this is just my take on it.***
I never start with a specific color scheme, but I do avoid one thing: matching outfits. That’s not saying I haven’t done it before, but I’ve learned from my fashion faux pas. There is a time and a place to match. Like photos with a very large group of people, weddings or team photos.
I always start with what my kids will wear, more specifically what my daughter will wear. I like to find an outfit with a few colors in a large pattern. Small prints tend to look a little busy and can sometimes be distracting in photographs. I also try to make sure it has colors that compliment our skin tones. For boys, I suggest finding a nice plaid to play off of. Another important key is that your kid is comfortable. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they’ll cooperate.
Layers, layers, layers…. and layers with textures. Its surprising how much interest it adds to photographs. I also make sure we’re wearing the colors shown in the pattern worn by one of our kids. For example, my daughters dress has aqua, mustard yellow, plum, white and dark gray. So I wore a plum shirt, mustard cardigan, and bold aqua bubble necklace. My husband wore a dark gray sweater layered over a yellow and white button up. I consider jeans and light khakis “neutral basics”, so don’t worry about whether they match your specific color scheme.
- Try to have no more than 3 colors. Neutrals don’t count against your color choices, but don’t go overboard by using too many.
- Have at least one “pop” color. Mustard yellow was mine in the photos above. Limit this to 1 large article of clothing or 2 accessory items (ie: necklace, scarves, shoes, tie, etc.)
- Layers always look better than just a button up or blouse.
- Bold accessories, especially for those with baby bellies.
- Wear a little more eye makeup than you usually would if you typically go for the more natural look. Just don’t show up looking like Dolly Parton.
- Comfort. Try to avoid being too done up for simple family portraits. Save the pumps and short skirts for date night.
- Consider your location. Is it on the beach, in a garden, Spring, Fall, etc. Try to choose colors that compliment your location.
Figuring out what to wear for family pictures doesn’t have to be stressful. I recommend shopping your own closet first or use Pinterest or Polyvore to help you build a look. I also recommend having the entire outfit hanging on the outside of your closet for a couple days to see if items need to be added to help build your look. Items like awesome shoes, scarves and accessories can really tie your look together. Its those details that make a simple family portrait stand out.
Do you have any tips on what to wear for family pictures or maybe what NOT to wear ;)?
**If you’re ever in the Monterey, California area, I highly suggest you pay fellow military spouse Erin White a visit for newborn and family photos. She took the lovely photos of us above.