The number one question asked by a family about to be photographed.... "What do we wear?"
For those of you who don't know I work for an Indialantic, Florida based magazine called Indialantic Neighbors. I photograph the cover photo every month.
Each time I get asked the question "well what do we wear?" I know it can be super challenging coordinating outfits whether it is a family of 2 or 20.
Every family member has particular likes and dislikes when it comes to colors and patterns. It can be hard to get everyone on the same page.
That is why I decided to write this blog post full of pointers, examples and tips on how to dress you and your family for the perfect photo.
The first question to consider is where is this photo located? Are you doing a quick studio family photo before your newborn or 1 year old's session?
Or have you been selected as the cover family for a magazine? One that all your friends and family will see and it really needs to make a positive impression!
These 2 locations have different looks to them and different things to consider such as lighting and whats in the background.
First lets look at studio:
Keep it simple! Stay away from Patterns and stick with a solid color
The preferred choice for women is Jeans and a white or light pastel camisole style tank top or slip dress
For men, Jeans and a solid colored tee (snug fitting looks best) or solid polo
Keep everyone in a similar shade (not exact same color)
Medium shades photograph best and allow some color with out overpowering the images
medium blues, medium greens, medium pinks (not bright), pale or muted yellows, greys, light browns photograph much better than bright or dark colors like reds, navy blue, hunter green, bright yellow blue or green.
Here are some examples of coordinated family photos held at my satellite beach, Florida studio location
outdoor locations can be a bit trickier. You need to take into account what your surrounding location is for the photo. Is it alot of green grass such as a park or the woods? Or is the photo located on the beach or river? Here are some tips for a great family shot!
choose coordinating colors not matching. pick hues that compliment each other, Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.
Consider your home decor. You’ll want to consider your home decor style when picking out what to wear in family photos. Since a few of these photos will most likely be hanging in your home and on display for a long time, make sure that the clothing you select blends in seamlessly with the color scheme of your home.
Keep location in mind. Another helpful item to consider when trying to decide what to wear in your family photos is the location of your photoshoot. Are you going to be on the beach where there are plenty of neutral tones or under a tree surrounded by bright fall foliage? Select a color palette for your outfits that will complement the setting. Pick out items of clothing in colors that will complement your background and not compete with it.
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you are going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
Limit distracting patterns and large logos. Including articles of clothing with multiple patterns or large logos can become a distraction. Strong prints and abstract patterns can overpower your photo. Avoid items that clash and stick to one pattern or textural element for your portrait session.
Lay each family member’s outfit together while planning so you can get a good idea about how the pieces will look next to each other. This will allow you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Plus, this way, you can make sure that you’re not missing any essential clothing items.
Select outfits that will make for a timeless portrait. If all else fails, when you look in your closet to find the perfect family portrait outfits think about staying classic. You’ll want your photos to be timeless. Styles come and go but, your photos are forever.
Keep in mind if you have been chosen to be on a magazine cover... This will be in print and seen by everyone you know. Please put a serious amount of time and effort into what you will wear for this. DRESS NICE! Now is not the time to dress in your gym clothes, you can never be over dressed for a magazine cover! Finally your shoes will be seen for sure! Don't grab your old sneakers on the way out the door please and flip flops do not photograph well at all. I suggest closed toe dress shoes
Spring Family Photo Outfit Ideas
Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.
Spring Color Schemes
Styling Tips for Spring
Blush and Teal
Tip: A great pattern for springtime is floral. Select statement pieces featuring your favorite florals.
Blush and White
Tip: Cheerful hues will really make your springtime family portraits pop.
Light Blue, Tan, White
Tip: Bows in the little ones hair are the perfect springtime accessory and a great way to get their hair out of their eyes.
Navy, Yellow, White
Tip: If you're taking family portraits in the warmer months take advantage of the weather and pick out skirts as well as dresses.
Fall Color Schemes
Styling Tips for Fall
Denim and Tan
Tip: Fall outfits are all about the layers! Plus, wearing layers makes for a quick outfit change too.
Brown and Maroon
Tip: Take advantage of the colorful fall leaves and let them inspire your outfit choices.
Denim, Yellow, Crimson
Tip: Use fall accessories to add texture to your photos. Think big scarves and stylish boots.
Tip: Plaid shirts are a popular clothing selection for fall family photos. Think about dressing a few of your members in this season appropriate pattern.
Summer Family Photo Shoot Outfit Ideas
A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.
Summer Color Schemes
Styling Tips for Summer
Tan and White
Tip: Select more cheerful colors for your summertime portraits.
Orange and Teal
Tip: Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers and lace. Light and breezy outfits are also great for the summer heat.
Light Blue, Tan, White
Tip: Gingham patterns for the boys and summer dresses for the girls.
Blue, Green, Yellow
Tip: Don't feel the need to be too formal during your summer photo session. Try slipping on your sandals and frolicking on the beach. You're sure to get some candid shots!
Examples of coordinated outdoor Family shoots
If you still have wardrobe questions or concerns I highly recommend using my stylist that I work with on several shoots. Jenny Norman of Tadea Styles can be contacted through this link: