When it comes to family photos there's a lot to think about before your session. After picking a photographer that fits your family's personality there's choosing the time of year, a location, if you want traditional family portraits or something unique, etc. Regardless of how long your list is, clothing decisions always end up near the top.
So, here is my list of 6 things to help make your clothing selection process simpler.
1. Don't Worry About Matching
Is the shade of red on this dress the same as on that tie? Does dad even own a coral shirt? Why do we all have slightly different shades of blue jeans?!
Instead of putting everyone in matching outfits, try mixing it up a bit with a color palette. Having 2 or 3 colors for each family member to choose from not only gives you more clothing options, but allows every person to stand out.
One of my favorite ways to choose the color palette is picking a favorite outfit from a member of the family that includes 2 or 3 colors in it and then the rest of the family can be in a color included in the inspiration outfit.
2. Bust Out the Accessories
Another way to continue a color palette is by accessorizing. Instead of wearing a bright yellow shirt, a yellow necklace or tie does the trick! If you're planning on basic colors, like black or grey, you can spice up the clothes with a green bracelet on sister and a green pocket square for dad. Keeping a bright color minimally used allows it to not take over in pictures, but adds a bit of personality.
Accessories don't only complete your color selection, but they complete the outfits as well. Embrace the textures that happen with accessorizing and layering! Texture adds an extra depth that your photos might not have without it.
3. Think About Your Location
When choosing your colors take a moment to reflect on where your session will be. Will you be frolicking in a forest? Let's avoid green. Bringing your family to the beach? You might blend right in wearing blues and neutrals. Running free in a field? Say no to yellow.
This is a good time to bring up the idea of everyone wearing white. Unless your session is in the snow you probably won't melt into the background, but when everyone is in white families tend to mush together forming a cloud with cute little floating heads.
Don't ever be afraid to consult a color wheel when making your selections! Look at the color of where you will be and look at the complementary color across from it. Forest? The opposite of green is red or pink. Yellow field? Try blue! Consulting a color wheel can help you to narrow down your options!
4. Remember Where They're Going
Think about where you plan on putting the pictures in your home. If you have a strong color scheme in any rooms that you're adding pictures to, keep those colors in mind. If you have kept your home to a neutral palette, neon colors might not look best against your tan walls. If your living room is purple, everyone in brown is going to look a bit odd.
If you don't yet have a strong color scheme in place you can always start one based off of the colors you select for your portraits!
5. Keep in Mind the Kids
If you're going to have kids with your at your family session give yourself a pat on the back because their closet can make your choice ten times easier! Remember the idea of choosing an inspiration outfit? Check their clothes for some of y'all's favorite things. Embrace the patterns in their closet because they might just hold your color palette! Disregard choices with words or characters on them; they distract from everyone's personal character.
Keep in mind your kids comfort. If they're going to be running around during the session choose something they can easily move in. Avoid sandals and flip flops if the ground could be rocky or muddy. The longer they stay comfortable, the longer they stay happy, and the happier they are the more smiles you get!
6. Don't Forget Your Shoes
This one is a simple but easily forgotten one. Remember shoes! Don't just think about your kids shoes, but everyone's. Open toed shoes when it might be wet, dusty, or rocky can get you dirty feet! Changing outfits during your session? Don't forget to check that your outfit matches your shoes or prepare a second to match it. If you're going to be getting a little more adventurous during your session plan ahead with broken-in shoes that you can walk, climb, and possibly even hike in.
Choose your clothing to reflect who your family is. Your ultimate decision should always be based on the personality of your own family. Be proud of who you all are and let it shine!