15 GREAT TIPS
WHAT TO WEAR FOR FAMILY PHOTOS
What should we wear for our family photo shoot??
It’s probably no surprise that this is THE MOST asked question when it comes to preparing for a photography session, and rightfully so. Choosing what to wear for one person can be challenging enough, let alone designing a wardrobe that looks good on everyone and brings the whole family together cohesively. And let me just preface by saying, the days of “Let’s all wear white shirts and khaki pants,” are over my friends!!
So where do you begin? We’ve got some great tips for you on how to get started and create the perfect wardrobe for your photography session.
.01 PLAN AHEAD
One of the biggest stressors can be waiting until the last minute. Don’t wait until the day before your shoot to try and pull things together. Think ahead and carve out some time to envision the look and feel you’d like to achieve. If your shoot is a month or two away, what time of year is it going to be? Will the seasons be changing? If you have no idea where to begin, Pinterest is a great resource for searching for clothing ideas and color combinations. We’ve got an ever growing Pinterest board of clothing and color ideas you can check out here! Put a little research in first before you head out to the mall and start grabbing everything you can find off the rack that you think might look good. Get yourself organized. You’ll feel so glad you did. And, hey, you might realize some of the things you are looking for might already be something you have!
.02 WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS?
Sometimes we have so much going on that just getting a family photo shoot booked and photos taken is an accomplishment within itself. But think about what you might be doing with your beautiful images after you’ve put in all the work to get them done. Will you be having them enlarged, printed and hung in your family room? Are they replacing photographs in frames you already have, or will you be purchasing new frames for them? Are you thinking about printing on canvas? Will you be adding them to an existing wall collage? Are they going in an album, or are you having a coffee table book designed? Thinking about and answering these questions ahead of time can be so helpful, not only for you, but for your photographer, to ensure you have the same vision and outlook, and that you are getting exactly what you want.
.03 WHAT DOES YOUR HOME DECOR LOOK LIKE?
If you are going to be printing your images and hanging them on the wall, or in frames around the house, take a look at your home decor. Looking at the colors in your home can many times be an indicator of colors you naturally lean towards. This can be so helpful in choosing colors that are right for your shoot. For example, if your living room is light and bright, with pops of vibrant blues and shimmering silver, then going with deep reds, orange, green and brown tones may not be the right fit, as beautiful as it might look in someone else’s photographs.
.04 CHOOSE A COLOR PALETTE
Let the artist in you be inspired and create a color palette as your starting point. This will keep you focused and rule out anything that doesn’t fit with your theme. Pick 2-3 main colors (i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink) and then choose your coordinating neutral tones (i.e. white, cream, gray, brown, black). As a side note, you don’t always need to choose overly vibrant main colors. You can create a beautiful palette just using more neutral tones. There are websites like COLOURlovers and Pictaculous where you can browse images or upload your own image to create a custom color palette. And again, Pinterest is a huge resource for finding inspiration. You can even just type in a specific color or colors in the search bar and see what comes up. I often like to think of color palettes in themes like: The Beach, Autumn Leaves, Jewel Tones, Winter Wonderland, Vintage, Chabby Chic, Rustic, Summer Fun, Spring Flowers. Put on your creative hat, do a little brainstorming and see what fun ideas come to you.
.05 FIND A FOCAL PIECE
Another great idea can be to start with one outfit or design element and base everything around it. For all the Moms… this can be YOUR outfit! It doesn’t always have to start with what the kids are wearing. Finding something that you feel really beautiful and comfortable in can be a great starting point and you’ll feel great going forward with the rest of the planning. You CAN put yourself first and feel good about it!! 🙂 Other starting places might be something like the adorable bow tie you bought for your son or the pretty floral summer dress you bought your daughter. And not to leave the Dads out, how about the handsome fall blazer you bought your husband that he hasn’t gotten a chance to look dashing in yet. You can theme the rest of the outfits around this one particular piece.
.06 GO EASY ON THE PATTERNS
If you do have clothing pieces or accessories that have patterns, there are a few things to consider. Make sure that they do not overwhelm or draw focus away from you and your family, who are the main subjects of your photographs. Patterns can bring out personality and texture, but they shouldn’t detract from seeing you and the relationships between your family. And don’t have too many different patterns. Competing patterns can also draw focus and prevent you from having a cohesive look.
Layers add great dimension and depth to photographs and can take an ordinary outfit and completely transform it. You can do this by accessorizing your family’s outfits with things like scarfs, hats, ties, necklaces, headbands, cardigans, vests, tights, jewelry. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to, again, not let the accessories overtake seeing you. They should accent your personality, while bringing depth and texture to the images, and keeping you and your family at the forefront.
.07 COORDINATE, DON’T MATCH
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the days of wearing matching white shirts and khakis is over. It had it’s time and that time has passed. Matching outfits do nothing to showcase each family member’s individuality, and can leave an image feeling a little lacking in depth and character. This being said, there a some exceptions that can be made… An example of an exception to this rule can be something like having two sisters in matching dresses, where the other family members are in coordinating (NOT matching) outfits. See an example of this in our blog post FAMILIES THAT GOT IT RIGHT.
.08 DON’T FORGET THE SHOES
Shoes do matter! Although they may not be seen in every image, the images they can be seen in can make or break an image. They can also make for really cute accent shots when everyone is coordinating. We recommend not waiting until the day of the photo shoot to have your children put on the shoes for the first time. Make sure they fit and are comfortable….
.09 COMFORT MATTERS
Have children try on their clothes before the day of the shoot to ensure they not only fit, but that they are comfortable moving around in them and that any itchy tags are taken out ahead of time. Some fabrics can irritate children’s skin. This can cause for a very inharmonious time and unhappy kiddos, who won’t be able to focus on anything except getting the shoot over with so they can get out of the very uncomfortable clothes they are wearing.
.10 NO LOGOS OR CHARACTERS
Unless you are doing a themed session or “day in the life” styled type of photo shoot where you’ve discussed the idea ahead of time, stay away from clothing that have things like numbers, lettering, characters… which, yes unfortunately, may include your son’s absolutely favorite cartoon character t-shirt… The one he wears every day and has already told you he will be wearing for the photo shoot. 🙂 Similar to patterns, these can be very distracting and draw focus.
.11 CONSIDER YOUR BACKGROUND
Where have you decided to have your photographs taken? What will the colors of your background look like? If your setting is very green and grassy, then green may not be the right color to add to your palette. Find colors that will help you stand out from the background, while also complimenting it.
.12 HAIR AND NAILS
If you plan to have your hair cut and colored, plan to do this about a week before your shoot, not the day before or the day of. Let it grow in a bit so it looks more natural. Nails are sometimes overlooked as well. Make sure the girls don’t have any left over chipped nail polish on their nails from playing beauty parlor last week.
.13 MAKE IT FUN
If you are having a fun experience in the pre-planning stage, your kids will respond to that too. You might have a dress up day where everyone tries on their outfits so you can see how it’s all coming together. (This will also identify what might not fit or be comfortable.) Compliment children to let them know how good they look!
.14 BRING ALTERNATIVES WITH YOU
By this point you should have discussed clothing ideas with your photographer and possibly even sent them an image or two to share what you’ve come up with, but we always encourage our clients to bring a few additional items with them. This can be helpful in the case that something just isn’t pulling together correctly. It can also be great just to change up the look a bit to add a little variety to your photographs. AND it can also be a back up plan in case someone gets dirty on the way over or halfway through the shoot!
.15 LET IT GO
In the end, take a tip from Elsa’s book (ummm… anyone who doesn’t know who Elsa is, see the movie Frozen) and Let it Goooooo, Let it Gooooo….
If after all the planning, your child still refuses to wear anything but his favorite sneakers with orange laces, or the shoes you bought weren’t exactly what you were looking for, or someone spilled juice on their shirt on the way over in the car, or you forgot favorite accessory… DON’T LET IT RUIN YOUR SHOOT! Remember, this is suppose to be fun. You’re documenting the joy and beauty of your precious family. The best moments can be when we just let it all go and not try to over control every moment. Sometimes when everything is going exactly the way you were afraid it would, and you did everything you could to prevent it from happening, things happen anyway. LET IT GO! Enjoy your family! Be in the Moment! Have fun! You’ll look back on the day and laugh about the orange shoe laces your son was adamant he HAD to wear. You’ll remember how in the midst of everything seeming to go wrong, you made it through and didn’t let a little spilled milk (or juice or mud or rain) get you down!
We hope these tips are helpful!! We’d LOVE to hear our feedback! Have you used any of these tips? Do you have other tips to share? Please leave a comment below. We’d be so happy to hear from you….