I get asked this all the time, in the beginning I didn’t know what to say. But now, I have developed quite the opinion on what works best (and a little bit of what doesn’t work). So… “So anyways, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty” (said in my best Jack Black a la Nacho Libre impression)
1. Pick a color scheme.
For family portraits, the big question is color. Do we need to match? Should we all wear white shirts and blue jeans? Fortunately, we don’t live in the 90s anymore, so… No. You don’t need to match perfectly. The word I like to use is COORDINATE.
You could pick the outfit you want to wear then go from closet to closet in your house picking outfits for your family that look good with what you are wearing. That is one way and I think it works well. You can coordinate however you like, but here’s my method:
MY OCD METHOD
To me, a portrait sessions end goal is the WALL. I’m hoping it is, but maybe this isn’t your objective, (if not, then your job is easier) but for me I want family pictures taken so I can hang them. So I start by picking where I would like to have these pictures showcased. I’m fairly particular with the way I choose colors in my house and how I like to stick with them. One room is decorated with blue and grey and white and I have tried to maintain the integrity of this color scheme down to the pictures hanging in that room. I’m like this all over the house. It is helpful for me to think about what colors I want to get out of the session. With that in mind, I pick anywhere between 2 and 4 colors and stick to them when selecting our outfits.
Here are some great examples:
More thoughts on color: Solid black and white are not generally my favorite. I think this is because they are such fully saturated colors and I don’t think they look the best on skin. I suggest breaking up a black or white t-shirt with a patterned sweater or scarf or some other layer. Of course, like anything in this article, take it with a grain of salt and wear what you want. I promise I won’t object.
The girls especially should try to pick two from the following:
headband or hair bow
attention getting shoes
…. you get the idea
Guys, if you aren’t really in to any of the above mentioned items, may I suggest layering? Think:
layering your shirts
Some more great examples:
3. Hair and Makeup
You don’t get your family portraits taken every day. Heck! If you are like most families, you don’t get them taken every year even. So treat this as a very special event. Make time to prepare before your session. I would even encourage you mommies to have your hair an makeup done professionally (of course, budget allowing). It’s good to feel beautiful, and I really really want you to come to your session feeling that way.
In closing, I want to remind you to be true to yourself in your pictures and not to let the outfit selection stress you out so much that you can’t be happy on photo day. I’m looking forward to the family session, hope you are too!