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What to Wear for Family Portraits

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What to Wear

The number one question when thinking about your session is probably, “what should we wear?” If you already have something in mind, great! We will chat about it and make sure everything will photograph well. As the photographer it's my job to help you decide what to wear so that we can make photographs you will love.

If you have no idea what to wear we can work together to pick a theme and even specific outfits, if you want. I have a whole “What to Wear” guide that I will share with you as we prepare for your session in detail.

My three biggest suggestions are that you (and your family) should be relatively comfortable in what you wear, you should avoid anything super trendy, and you should avoid big, bold patterns. If you put your toddler in an outfit that they hate, they aren't going to photograph well. 

Don't they look awesome! I love the shades of blue. The boots and jeans make these outfits both casual and polished.

Don't they look awesome! I love the shades of blue. The boots and jeans make these outfits both casual and polished.

Be Comfortable

There are times when you will want to incorporate special clothing into your photo session, such as a graduation gown or formal wear, but, in general, you should try and pick clothes that are "normal" for your family. For my family that means that button up shirts and casual slacks are about as formal as it gets. Your family may be more comfortable with shirts and ties. We will build your session to have complementary clothing and location so that you get the results you're looking for in your final images.

Avoid Super Trends

Everyone wants to look fashionable. Okay, so that's not true. My husband could care less (and that is one of the things I love and respect most about him), but the truth is most people want to "keep up with the times." Skinny jeans are a thing. But so were bell bottoms and wide ties. When you pick something that is super fashion-forward you have to consider what your images will be used for and whether or not you care that they look dated. I went to high school in the 1990's. All the photos from that time have girls with big hair, high waist, pleated pants, and lots of flannel. The photos look like they were taken in the 90's. That's ok if your photos are meant to document a specific period, but may not be quite so desirable when you're looking for wall art. Timeless styles, colors, and pieces will photograph better and make your images more "evergreen."

Bold Patterns

Nancy's pink blouse and turquoise accents complement the solid blues on the guys.

Nancy's pink blouse and turquoise accents complement the solid blues on the guys.

When selecting items to wear in your photographs, select solids and items with smaller patterns. Big patterns draw the eye - and in a photograph they tend to draw the eye as well - away from you. When you look at a portrait the most important part of the image is the face. If the viewer is distracted by a bright green sweater with polka dots instead, they won't notice you! The other big distraction that you often will find with clothing is large, visible logos or graphics. Unless there's a special reason you want Tommy wearing a big "VANS" logo on his shirt, then best to pick something a little more subtle.

Last Thoughts

The last thing you want to consider is coordinating the clothing of everyone who will be photographed. A good general rule is to pick a simple, coordinated color palate and have everyone stick to it. Some examples are grey and black with deep purple as an accent color (like my family photos ;) ). Or shades of blue with a red or bright pink highlight color. Girl's dresses and accessories are great places to stick your bold color and any patterns in the clothing since there are many more choices for those items, but it isn't a rule.

I would be honored to help you make great images of your family. Give me a call or quick email and we can chat about what you have in mind.