"What should we wear for our family photos?" This is such a commonly asked question when a client books family photos. It's also one of my favorite questions to answer. There's a few things you should ask yourself when choosing what to wear for pictures. Where are the pictures taking place? Does the color compliment you and/or compliment your personal style? Is it comfortable? I'll answer each one of these questions and throw in a couple do-nots as well.
1. Where are you the pictures taking place?
You're probably wondering why the place you're taking your picture matters, let me explain. If you're taking pictures in the snow, the last thing you'll want to wear is white. Are you taking pictures in the woods, where you can only see green and brown for miles? You probably don't want to wear green or brown. Understanding your location and finding colors that will stand out from the backdrop is really important. The last thing you'd want to see when you get your pictures back is that you blended in with your surroundings.
2. Does the color compliment you and/or compliment your personal style?
This is a tricky one to answer. I love color in pictures! Bright, fun, bold, vibrant color. I don't necessarily mean neon pink or yellow. I just mean I like color, maroons, reds, yellows, blues.. The key is to know what looks good on you and be honest with yourself if it does not. I love the color coral, I think it's such a beautiful color in pictures. It absolutely drowns me out and makes me look severely pale (or more pale). In turn, magenta is a very complimenting color for me, but it's not a color I would choose for myself. Which leads me to my next question. Does it compliment your personal style? I've read several articles on this very subject and many tell you to simply look around your house to know what your style is. I thought it was odd the first time I read it. But I did just that and discovered that I do indeed have colors in my house that I tend to gravitate towards. If all else fails and you can not figure out what colors you'd like to go with, simply look around your home to see what colors compliment your style :)
3. Is it comfortable?
I am constantly telling my clients this. Make sure you are comfortable in what you're wearing. If you don't wear heels on a regular basis and decide to throw some on for your pictures, I will be able to tell that you are uncomfortable, and it will show in your pictures. If your husband and boys don't wear jackets and ties on some sort of regular basis, you should probably skip having them wear it for photos. They will be grumpy and irritable for having to wear something they're not comfortable in. If you are self-conscious in any way with what you're wearing, it will show in pictures and you will have an overall bad experience with your family pictures. Now following up with that, that does not mean show up in your sweats and t-shirt. Dressing up your everyday style is key.
Let's talk about some do-nots now.
4. The Do-not list
-Don't match your colors, coordinate them. Don't have everyone in your family wearing white shirt with blue jeans. Coordinate yours colors instead. Find a color, or a piece of an outfit, that you want and start from there. My general rule is you should have at least 3 colors in your clothes that coordinate with one another. If it's a navy blue dress and you also like yellow and gray, run with that theme. Have your daughter wear a yellow top, with gray pants and your son wear a gray shirt with blue jeans. You then can throw in that great yellow necklace with your navy blue dress and your husband can wear a blue shirt with gray slacks. Don't match, coordinate. Now let me throw you for a loop after all that. Sometimes all matching colors will work if you have a specific idea in mind. For example, I had a couple that wanted a picture with their family in front of a muscle car. They were all wearing black with sunglasses and the picture totally worked.
-Do not wear distracting clothing. Patterns are great, unless they're too distracting. Is it just a crazy distracting pattern on your wardrobe, will it distract from the rest of the picture and everyone else in it?
-Characters are a big no and can immediately take your photos from being classy to just awful. I know I said to be comfortable, but your kids can spend 1 hour not wearing their favorite Frozen and Iron Man shirt.
-Sneakers...this is a tricky one. I've shot photos before with senior boys that have worn sneakers and it works. Family photos though, it just doesn't usually work. You be the judge, does the general look of your family get brought down by those sneakers?
-White...this is a tricky color. White can look very clean and nice for pictures. The trick with white is you have to add a little something with it or it just looks plain. Throw a jacket over it, a bright necklace, something.
-Last, but not least, plaid. I almost always put my boys in plaid for our pictures. It can work as long as there's not too much plaid. Combine it with solid colors on some family members that tie it in with the plaid shirts.
Hopefully this was helpful to answer that all too stressful question of what to wear/what not to wear!