I often get asked what people should wear when they book a family portrait session. This is a good question, one that I can only give recommendations for as it comes down to personal taste and I always want to ensure I fit in with what my customers would like to achieve out of their photo shoot.
Personally, I tend to cringe when I see family portrait sessions when the whole family is in matching outfits as this seems to be a thing of the past. My reasoning for this is that you wouldn’t normally go out anywhere as a family all dressed in exactly the same outfit so it seems a tad odd to do this for family photos. That being said, there are times where I think matching outfits can be cute, especially if there are small children (eg twins) involved. This is hilarious as I used to bag my mother out for dressing my sister and I in matching outfits when we were little (granted it was the 80’s), but I am now guilty of buying a couple of matching tops or outfits for my two little girls as I think it will be just adorable (considering of course that one day, just as I did, my girls will probably give me grief!)
I am NOT a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination, however I have seen what photographs well and what clients have seemed most comfortable. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when considering what to wear when booking a family portrait session.
- Choice of colours – It is ok to wear some matching colours, but it can be done in a way that isn’t cheesy. Sometimes a colour palette can really look fantastic. Complimentary colours are another way of looking cohesive as a family without everyone wearing the same outfit. Don’t wear anything too bright unless that fits in with the theme of your photo shoot. On that note, keep the theme in mind and dress accordingly (eg. ‘Beach’, ‘Spring’, ‘Retro’ theme, etc)
- Don’t clash! Consider anything patterned you want to wear and what others might have in mind to wear. You can wear different patterns as long as they have similar looks and compliment each other. Just don’t have everyone in plain clothes and one person with a bright yellow shirt with pink polka dots as they will stand out for all the wrong reasons! Also good to remember that bold logos can also stand out and take the focus away from smiling faces.
- Accessories are good! These are a way to add a pop of colour or pattern without being too overbearing. Cute hairbands, fun sneakers or gumboots, or even a nice belt can make all the difference. Layers and textures also add a lot of interest and character to your photographs.
- Longevity!! Most people do not have family portraits done religiously every year, so you will want to love the photos you have had taken and not have anything in them that will date quickly. Keep this in mind when choosing clothing pieces and even some hairstyles! Remember, photos are an investment and like any investment, you will want them to last.
And most importantly…
- Have fun and be yourself! Don’t dress in anything you don’t like and don’t force kiddies or spouses to wear anything they don’t want to wear, as it will show!
Check out the examples below where the choice of clothing, colour and theming has been done really well