Wondering what to wear?
I get questions all the time about what a family should wear in a family portrait:
- Should we all wear the same thing?
- Should we buy something new?
- Can I wear Converse shoes?
- Should we dress up?
Feeling and looking your best is one of the most essential elements in creating a stunning family photo! I want to share what I’ve learned about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to planning a wardrobe for portraits so that you’re prepared!
Ideally these images will be around for years to come, so it makes sense that the wardrobe is timeless. Comfort is also vital. Uncomfortable clothing causes fidgeting and adjusting…especially with little people!
-find a colour palette which looks good on your family
-keep each family member’s style in mind
-pick an item of clothing (ie with plaid or a pattern) and pull colours from it for everyone else’s outfits
-wear something comfortable
-keep it simple (solid colours and also small patterned pieces on the kids, for example)
-add a splash of colour if you’re picking neutrals (neutrals are black, white, grey, brown, beige, navy)
-be prepared to sit/lay on the ground or play with the kids
-dress for your body type
-wear something that makes you feel great!
-wear clothes which fit properly. Baggy clothes have a tendency to look sloppy and bulky.
-avoid big words or logos on clothing
-imagine everyone’s outfits as one big outfit and have them co-ordinate next to each other
-wear socks that match your shoes (especially for men – avoid white socks and dark shoes! Sandals on everyone are always great if the weather is nice but I’ll likely insist on bare feet – so be prepared! Shoes can be distracting.
-have teens/adults wear longer sleeves (rolled up a bit is fine) and longer shorts or skirts (excessive skin distracts the viewer from seeing your face); not necessary with younger kids.
-take your watch off (the dark contrast next to skin can be very distracting)
-over think it!
-buy new outfits (unless you reeeeally want to )
-all wear exactly the same things. It’s ok to mix it up!
-be too formal (I’m not really a ‘formal’ kind of photographer), casual is best!
-worry about each individual item or accessory
-choose the ‘trendy’ fashion item of the season
-wear white running shoes (eyes are drawn to areas of high contrast and white running shoes will bring the focus to your feet instead of your smile!)
Specifically for Black & White Sessions:
For b&w photos, generally you will follow all of the guidelines listed above with a few exceptions:
-Consider if you’ll be shooting in front of a black or white background (a darker background may be more dramatic and will be low-key, modern and classic; white backgrounds will be brighter, fresh, clean and fun).
-Studio Sessions will be done with bare feet – be prepared!
-Your clothing choices should complement but not dominate the photo. Pieces which are timeless or classic work best.
-Patterns or stripes should only be worn on toddlers and small children. Solid colours should be worn on everyone else (NO logos, please!)
-For a balance in tonal range, I suggest keeping everyone within one tonal range. For example, everyone should wear EITHER light, medium OR dark clothing pieces. Try to avoid wearing black AND white (unless it’s in a print on a toddler or baby).
Light Tonal Range = white, cream, faded denim, pastel colours
Medium Tonal Range = tan, medium blues, or other mid-range colours
Dark Tonal Range = red, navy, purple, brown, evergreen
(***All of the clothing choices in the slideshow would be acceptable )
Last but not least….don’t stress over it. This should be fun! Take a look at the slideshow I’ve compiled to help you through your thought process. If you’re worried about your choices, or need some help, I’ll always be around to offer a suggestion.
I can’t wait for our shoot together!