10 Tips for What to Wear to Your Family Photo Shoot

Deciding what to wear for your family photos is typically harder than finding a great photographer. Use these tips to guide you when picking out a wardrobe for the family.

  1. Find coordinating colors. The trend of all family members wearing the same color shirt is outdated, instead find one main color and then identify colors that complement that color.  After you decide on the colors, pick the clothing for each family member that will fit this color scheme.  I tend to get my color inspiration from HGTV’s monthly color inspiration recommendation.  I know that sounds odd, because the colors are for household styles, but I often found great color combinations from HGTV.
  2. Stick to solid colors and stay away from too many patterns.  Solid colors just work better.  Patterns especially if worn by multiple family members can be very distracting. The goal of the family portrait is to capture the emotion and love of each family member.  You want the focus to be on the subjects and not the attire.
  3. Be bold and accessorize. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair, jewelry, sweaters, ties, vests, jackets, etc.  These things are what I consider the cherry on top of the big bowl of ice cream.  They help top off the outfits. Try and find an accessory which communicates the personality of the family member. The accessories color can also complement another family member’s shirt or pant color. For women find a unique belt or scarf.
  4. Consider your environment.  If you are planning an outdoor photo shoot in a park or in a city/urban environment you certainly don’t want to wear formal attire. Dress according to the mood you are trying to present.  Comfortable jeans are a great solution for family photos.  The shirt and shoe possibilities are endless.
  5. Stay away from all black. Not more to say there.  I can’t image why a family would want to be photographed in all black. However, I have to add this to the list because some women think that black is flattering in terms of making one appear skinnier. If you want to wear all black, then go with wearing a black shirt with jeans, or a stylish black dress or black jeans with a shirt of another color.
  6. Reserve white and tan for outdoors or the beach.  These colors are great for beach family photos. One rule of thumb with white is that if one person wears white, then everyone should wear something white with complementary accessorizes – otherwise if only one person wears white then that person will stick out more in the final image.  Tan is perfect for the beach or for a green park like background.
  7. Play with textures and layers.  Layers and textures add depth to the photos and are especially important in black and white images.  One way to add texture is to choose clothing made from different materials and accents – lace, knits, ribbons, tweed, etc.
  8. Pick the right shoes.  Always wear comfortable shoes.  Boots and flats work great.  Stay clear from wearing tennis shoes unless they are a statement maker like converse.  Be playful  with the children – let them wear rain boots or cow boy boots.  Many times the NO shoes looks best especially when wearing jeans or a very casual look. If you are having a more formal photo session, go for the same color tones – brown or black.
  9. Comfort is king.  What ever you choose, the first priority is to ensure that the clothing fits and is comfortable.  Unless you are a professional trained model who’s used to wearing clothes that don’t fit in front of the camera, always wear clothes  that you’ve tried on and know fit you comfortably.
  10. Avoid wearing items with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. Your family is unique. Show your uniqueness or what’s unique to each individual and leave brands and characters  behind.

Professional photos are essential for every family because they chronicle the extremely fast growth of your children and become a timeless asset that grows in meaning and value as time passes.  Family portraits should be taken once a year or every other year. However so the frequency is certainly dependent on the family structure or situation. Making the decision to take the pictures is the easy part. Finding a great photographer and booking the session can be a little challenging unless you’ve established a great relationship with a qualified family photographer.

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