Congratulations! You’ve booked a photography session to have some amazing portraits taken. And now, if you are like most of my clients, you’re probably wondering “What the heck should we wear?!”
- Wear something you love. Pick the outfit in your closet (or shop for one if need be) that makes you feel amazing. The one that makes you smile when you put it on, that you know you look good in and that brings a little extra pep to your step.
- Colour yourself happy. Darks and neutrals have their place, but colour will win out every time. When in doubt of what colour to wear, go with something that will bring out your eyes. I like darker colours like charcoal and navy with a bright pop of colour that reflects the season. But that’s just me and you might prefer bright or pastels.
- Stay away from matchy matchy. This is a total personal opinion of mine but I think the matching outfit thing is overdone and, well, I’m just going to say it… cheesy. White t-shirts and jeans can be a cute look, but it does tend to accentuate the parts of us we may not want brought to the camera’s attention and let’s face it, it’s been done to death. My husband and I have photos in white shirts, jeans, and leather jackets when we were engaged in 2003 and looking and those photos now makes me cringe a little bit. That being said, some people love this look, and if that’s you, that’s okay. But I find the family picture sessions that turn out amazing are the ones where everyone is allowed to wear something they love and feel comfortable in and yet it compliments everyone else’s outfits as a whole. Pick out colours or patterns that work together (or if you’re really a fashonista, then colours and patterns that clash in a funky yet attractive way).
- Shoes matter. All that effort you put into your family’s ensemble should include your footwear as well. At some point during the shoot, your shoes will make an appearance. Sometimes fun boots and shoes make a good focal point too. So don’t think you can focus on the top half and then slip into those gardening crocs. 😉
- Dress everyone up or down. Your family or group should look like they are going to the same type of gathering; everyone in casual wear or dressed up, but not a mix of both. If your husband is not comfortable in the dress shirt and tie look, then work with that and put together casual but stylish outifts you will all be comfortable in.
- Work with the weather. Family photos can be taken at any time of the year, but always keep the weather in mind. Winter photos with everyone freezing their (ahem) butts off in cute outfits won’t make for the greatest pictures. You’ll be able to tell everyone is cold or at least uncomfortable, and it will look kind out of place to be photographed on such a frigid landscape without any coats. Instead, make it work for you and wear coats, mittens, scarves, hats, earmuffs in bright, fun, complimenting colours and patterns that will add lots of personality to your photos. If it’s going to be a scorcher, wear light, breathable fabrics that won’t leave you sweating bullets for the entire shoot.
- Play down those patterns. Some photographers will tell you not to wear patterns at all, that they are simply too distracting. I, however, think they look fantastic when done right in small amounts. Colourful striped tights on a little girl, a patterned scarf on mom, a light plaid shirt on dad or a little boy… these all can add visual interest if they aren’t overdone. As long as the whole outfit or entire family is not decked out in distracting patterns, you’re good to go. One thing I do suggest staying away from though is logos and slogans. Unlike a pattern, they tend to stand out too much and make you want to read or identify the mark or words rather than look at the image as a whole.
- Accessorize. Hats, scarves, jewelry, even your child’s favourite teddy bear… all can really add to the look of a family photo session. That being said, if your family isn’t into accessorizing, then don’t force it. Whatever suits your personalities is always best and will look the most natural on camera.
The most important thing is to wear something that allows your family to be yourselves. I’ve included a few images below (courtesy of the amazingly talented Corina Nielsen) that show some fun spring and summer clothing ideas. You can also find tons of ideas on Pinterest; here’s a link to my own Pinterest board I created for clients’ inspiration.