I work really hard on my family portrait sessions to make it an enjoyable experience…. we play, we laugh, you get to just be who you are as a family while I guide you into simple, natural poses. But before the day of the session arrives, there’s the process of selecting what everyone will wear. I know from my own experience in trying to get ready for our family portraits that this can be challenging! So today I’m giving you 4 simple tips to make choosing your family portrait outfits a breeze!
To ease the stress, I send my clients a full Portrait Session Style Guide to walk them through selecting their family portrait outfits & to share extra tips to make the session as enjoyable as possible, and today I want to share a few basic tips with you! And of course I’ll be showing photos to go along with the tips so that it’s even easier!
Tip #1: Start with Mom’s Dress!
Let’s be honest – it’s most likely mom putting this whole thing together for the family, and as moms, we’re rarely IN the picture with our kids. Start by selecting your outfit first, and then build around that for your family. I always suggest a dress for my moms… especially a long one! This allows you to have more freedom of movement with your little ones, and the movement in a long dress or skirt translates beautifully in images! Long, flowy dresses are also great & so flattering for maternity photos!
Tip #2: Avoid neon or super bright colors.
With the way I use natural light in my portraits, there’s the potential for super bright or neon colors to bounce a strange color cast onto your skin or onto the family member standing next to you (especially if the bolder color is on top/near your face). Soft neutral tones are always a good, safe bet for photos! Think navy, cream, blush, light blue, gray, white, etc!
Tip #3: Think about a touch of interest for each family member’s outfit.
Whether it be an accessory like a bow tie, suspenders, headband, shoes or jewelry, adding a bit of interest to each outfit helps each person stand out & also gives you more options for tying everyone’s look together! In the images below, the plaid, the velvet dress, the bow tie & suspenders help the kids stand out, and then the ruffle sleeve & tie at the waist of mom’s skirt bring beautiful detail while the tones in dad’s plaid ties in the blues and yellows of everyone’s outfit.
This tip also applies to the types of clothing worn. In this example, the color palette may be simple, but the accessories & styling bring interest for each person! Mixing the format of the buffalo plaid between various accessories, and having different types of clothing (black & white dress vs. white shirt & black sweater) allows for individuality for everyone! Your daughters don’t have to both be in dresses – feel free to mix it up!
Tip #4: Coordinate, don’t match!
This is one of the biggest keys – you want to coordinate rather than matching. The best way to do this is to choose a few colors for your outfits, and then vary how they are distributed (meaning not everyone has the same colors on top and on bottom). Each person’s outfit should have a dominant color (like mom’s dress or dad’s jacket), and then accent colors. Use accent colors that tie into another family member’s dominant color so that the overall look is cohesive, but each person has their own individual style!
In the example below, the denim ties everyone together, with the daughter’s headband and mom’s earrings bringing in the maroon accents that coordinate with the dad & son’s shirts. Even the details as small as the white portion of the plain in dad’s shirt and the white buttons on the daughter’s dress help tie it all together!
I always always always tell my clients to feel free to text or Facetime me as they’re going through their selections for their family portrait outfits. I’m more than happy to help with suggestions or to praise the amazing job you’ve already done in picking out clothes! Book your family portrait session today & let’s work together to make it your best family portrait experience yet!