Dressing a family for photos is a daunting task, I get it! Hopefully the following information will make it easy for your to plan your outfit choices for your photo session. I am more than happy to discuss your clothing choices, help you narrow down your decision or give you a direction to focus on as well as make sure that your clothing coordinates well with the locations chosen for your photo shoot!
Pick a palette of 3-4 colors. Let this be your starting place. Think in terms of tones: bluetones, earth tones, neutrals, pastels, etc. Also, keep the season in mind. Bold, earth tones such as dark red, mustard yellow, hunter green and rust look great in the fall while pale pink, cream, light blue and pastels look great in the spring. Everyone in the family can express their own sense of style within the chosen color palette, and the whole group will coordinate beautifully. Please stay away from bright or neon colors as they can be distracting and cause color refections on your skin.
You want to complement each other’s outfits by choosing colors that work well together. I find that if everyone is wearing the same clothing, people will all tend to blend in together and there won’t be too much pop and life to the images.
When picking patterns, choose smaller ones that won’t pull attention away from the main subjects, and only put one or two people in a pattern. When thinking about textures, mix different ones that will give photos some interest such as lace, corduroy, denim, and knits. Please avoid wearing screenprints and large logos as they will draw the eye away from the main subject matter.
Layering pieces of clothing will not only provide more visual interest in each photo but it will also allow more variety in your shots and poses. Denim jackets, blazers, scarves, kimonos, sweaters and hats all work well for layering.
Moms usually focus on everyone else’s outfit first, but then stress about what to wear for themselves and often feel the baggier the better because it will hide what they want to hide. That is a false perception. I highly recommend dresses and maxi skirts for women. The right dress can be the most flattering on every body shape. Dresses with flowy fabric and defining features (such as a cinched waist) photograph beautifully. When wearing a skirt or pants look for tops and sweaters that can be tucked in or blouses with definition at the waist.
Try to Avoid:
Stiff or boxy fabric, which can crease and fold in all the wrong places
Jersey knit fabric, which can show undergarment lines
Short shift dresses
Maxi dresses with no defining feature
Men do not have as much variety as women do when it comes to clothing which makes planning their outfit a bit easier. A solid t-shirt, plaid button up or simple sweater will photograph well paired with jeans or shorts. Vintage style graphic tees with soft colors will also photograph well.
Large brand logos
Large, loud screen prints
Kids are typically the most fun to dress and have the most variety because they are not body conscious. Think of simple, timeless clothes that are not too trendy. For little girls flowy dresses that twirl and rompers are my go to. Stick to solid colors or small patterns and think about textures! For little boys keep it simple. Solid t-shirts, button ups, and sweaters with jeans or shorts are easy. Classic childhood clothing such as overalls and suspenders or rompers photograph beautifully.
Graphic Tees with a busy pattern
Cutsie, screenprints and sayings
Onesies that are too big
Oversized hair bows
You are going to want these images to stand the test of time. Pick outfits that aren’t considered too trendy, but will be able to be enjoyed and displayed for many years to come. Avoid wearable technology such as fitbits and applewatches as they will date a photo.
Make sure you have given yourself enough time to think about all of the details of your session. Plan ahead so that #1 you can truly think about your photos and everything you want out of the session, #2 you aren’t rushing and stressing out right before your session, and #3 if you have decided to go for a new look for your session or someone gets a bad haircut, you still have time to fix things if you need to.
Accessories give your photographs that needed punch! They lend pops of color, personality, and interest. Everybody wears them well and they work for all ages. Think hats, scarves, bold jewelry, simple hair bows and headbands and kimonos.
Make coordinating family photo outfits easy by shopping at the same store or brand. It’s especially helpful when there are multiple children to dress. Below are my favorite places to shop for coordinating collections, beautiful prints, textures and colors.
Budget Friendly: Old Navy, Target, Gap, J. Crew Mercantile, H&M, Amazon, Thrift stores
Splurge: J crew, Anthropologie, Free People, Zara, Vici, Joyfolie, Baltic Born, JessaKae
Kids Splurge: Noralee, Rylee and Cru, Maisonette, Ellestory, Pleiades