What to wear for family photos

I wanted to address the important question of what to wear for family portraits. I have many photographers I follow and love their imagery and have changed what I have recommended in the past because of how they photograph.

What I have changed in my recommendations: I think some pop of bright color looks awesome. I think small patterns are fine. I recommend choosing color over any shade of black, grey, white. Don’t dress all in the same thing.

My preferences are as follows:

  • In Cali drought a lot of our outdoor backgrounds are browns, as the below images. Choose your outfits so you stand out from the environment instead of blend into it. For example the images below, I think the pink blends a bit and the blue pops.
  • Do not dress your family entirely in black, grey or white. It blends into the environment too much.  Another reason to NOT dress the family in the same thing, as you will blend into one another too. Chose colors that will add some definition and pop to your images.
  • I think it’s nice to coordinate colors. For example chose a color scheme, like white, bright blue, dark blues, and orange. Or bright and light purple, grey, cream. These are only examples, be creative!
  • I tend to limit patterns, but in recent images of families as long as it’s not bright pink floral and the rest of the family is in blue, it’s fine. Previously I have told people to stay away from patterns. Although, I do think horizontal strips can make a person look larger than they are. Or a large pattern at times can be distracting. But I think if it’s small or simple pattern or checks it can be fine.
  • No characters or schwag – I know little kids love Disney, mine do too, but try to skip it for family photos. For adults no schwag please. As they can be distracting.
  • Avoid all white or all black clothing – you don’t want to lose detail in your photo and these colors are at either end of the spectrum so will be lost first. White attracts your eye in, and makes objects appear larger.
  • Think classic – chose simple classic clothes will help you have that timeless feel for your images.
  • It is SO very often WINDY on the coast where I photograph. But we want to catch the sunset which is the best lighting, so why not put a t-shirt under your child’s outfit to keep them warm? Not fun to have kids with chattering teeth due to weather. If it’s chilly you don’t want to look uncomfortably cold  in your photos, which has happened more than once. PLEASE pack layers for your kids.
  • Also bring extra sweaters and a light jacket if the weather is unpredictable that you WANT in the photo.
  • Moms… take time to put on makeup and do your hair. No time? Bring it in the car and get your husband to drive. Or bring it to the session and I will start with the kids while you put on your makeup.
  • Unlike kids, I don’t recommend layering for moms. It can add bulk and make you look bulky in the photos.  I would chose something form fitting, not too tight, but not baggy. Baggy will add extra weight to you in the photo and make you appear larger than you are. Love that long baggy sweater? Put a belt on it to cinch it in at the waist.
  • If it’s all grey on the afternoon of your session, I WILL reschedule. Lighting is important and we need at least a little bit of blue sky peaking through to have a nice sunset images.

Bottom line, do you like what your family is wearing? Are you going to like what you see when you see a photo of your family wearing what you’ve chosen? If it’s a yes, then go for it!!! These are your family memories and we want to create something you will look back on and love, not cringe and think gosh why didn’t I spend time on planning our outfits? It’s something that can take just a bit of coordination and makes a ton of different.

Having problems choosing between things? I AM HAPPY TO HELP! Text or email me a photo of what you are considering and I am happy to help!

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