If you think that the success of your family photos rests solely in the hands of your photographer, think again.
Sure, they’re in charge of things like getting the exposure just right, but if you wear the right clothing, you enable your photographer to create even more magic, the result of which is a portrait that you’ll be proud to display in your home.
On the other hand, if you don’t pay attention to what each person in your family wears on portrait day, you could end up with a photograph that looks dated, chaotic, and old, right from the start.
With that in mind, here are a few critical tips for what you should and shouldn’t wear for your family photos.
There’s nothing wrong a man wearing a colorful tie and a woman wearing a beautiful necklace. Even your kids can accessorize! The key is to use accessories sparingly so that they add a little interest to the shot but don’t become overwhelming.
A great idea is to limit each person to one accessory – a necklace or scarf, a sweater tied around the shoulders, a hat, and so forth. And whatever accessories are chosen, be sure they not only complement each person’s outfit but that they complement the overall look you’re going for in the photo.
DON’T Let Your Kids Wear Graphic Shirts
Your little guy might love Spiderman, but if he wears his favorite Spiderman t-shirt in your family photos, you’ll regret it. Graphics like that stick out like a sore thumb and distract attention away from where viewers should be looking – at the sweet faces of your family!
So, help your kids avoid clothing with characters or writing on them in favor of something that’s neutral and fits in with the color scheme of the family wardrobe.
DO Consider Comfort
A surefire way to make things more difficult for your family is to dress them in clothes that aren’t comfortable. Instead of everyone wearing dressy clothes, think about something more comfortable. Sure, jeans aren’t as formal as slacks or dresses, but if it allows your family to be more comfortable, it’s worth the tradeoff.
Just be sure that striving for comfort doesn’t lead you to choose clothing that’s baggy or ill-fitting. Instead, choose outfits that are soft, stretchy, breathable, and allow each of you to move from one pose to the next with ease. Cotton is your friend!
If every family member wears a navy polo shirt with khaki pants, you’ll end up with a portrait that looks too matchy-matchy. Though there’s something to be said for cohesion, you don’t all have to wear the same thing to get a cohesive look.
Instead, coordinate colors so that you have a little variety. For example, instead of everyone wearing a white shirt, one or two of you can wear gray, blue, or another color that works well with white.
By thinking of the bigger picture – the overall color scheme of the photo – you can choose outfits that coordinate well together and help create that cohesive (yet visually interesting) look that will set your family photo apart.
DO Think About Each Person’s Personality
When choosing outfits, you don’t want to stuff your kids into something that looks good but doesn’t represent who they are. After all, the point of a family photo is to capture the family as it is at a specific moment in time, not to create a portrait in which the members of your family don’t look like themselves.
So, using the Spiderman example from earlier, on the one hand, you don’t want your child to wear a Spiderman t-shirt, but on the other hand, having them wear a stuffy button-down shirt might not best portray who your child is at that point in their life.
Instead, try to compromise. Perhaps they wear a blue or red shirt that incorporates the colors of their favorite cartoon character, but without the distracting graphics.
DON’T Complicate Things
It’s hard enough to pick what you’re wearing, let alone help your entire family choose what to wear. Try not to overcomplicate things as you decide on a wardrobe for your family photos. Start with one idea – a color, an article of clothing or even an accessory – and build your outfits off of that.
You can also take inspiration from the time of year or the setting in which your photos will be taken, or you can peruse family portraits online to find color schemes and clothing options that catch your eye.
Remember, the point is to coordinate, to be comfortable, and allow each person to express who they are. The more you plan ahead and get everyone involved, the more likely you’ll be able to help your photographer achieve those goals.