What to Wear | Family Portraits

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What to wear to a family portrait session

Preparing the family for your portrait photography session

One of the most time consuming tasks in preparing for a family portrait session is getting the families clothes ready, it’s not a decision you want to be leaving until the 11th hour.  With careful planning and consideration, you will be setting your family portraits up to be timeless, something you will admire for years to come.

Creating your family portraits is important – lets face it, you finally got your hubby/partner to agree to being photographed, a little bit of planning for your portrait day will go a long way.  I’ve put together a list of suggestions, to help you select your family wardrobe.  The most important thing to remember is to stay true to your families personality as your photos will hang in your home for many years to come.

Before pulling out every dress your daughter owns (or getting online and finding that dream outfit you always wanted an excuse to purchase) consider your family decor.  It may sound like a strange place to start, but you are going to display your family portraits around your home, a cohesive look and feel in your portraits will stand the test of time in the living areas of your home.  You want a classic look and not a “moment in time” to remember that your son was a mad keen ninja turtle fan.

Staying Comfortable

During your photo shoot you are going to having fun as a family, snuggling and giggling with your kids.  Make sure your clothing choices for the whole family are comfortable.  I’m not suggesting you wear your yoga pants but please ensure you and the kids can move comfortably in your clothes.  Ensure your buttons don’t pucker, it’s just not flattering and if you are a little self conscience about your weight, wear sleeves that at least come to your elbow.  Your arms take up more skin area than your face, drawing attention to them.  Keep your jewellery simple so it does not detract from your face, wear a “normal” amount of makeup and if you are planning on having a haircut, arrange to have it done 2 weeks prior to your photo shoot.  On the day, choose a hairstyle suitable for the conditions on the day.  You don’t want to be constantly fighting the wind with stray hairs over your face for your beach family portrait session.  If you plan on a spray tan, please don’t overdo it as you will end up looking too orange.  If you have very young children, I would suggest forgoing the spray tan altogether, children have very fair skin and its quite noticeable if mum decided on a tan for the photo shoot…not a good look.

Choosing Clothing

Lets start with shoes.  You can put the most adorable outfit on the kids but if you don’t give consideration to their shoes and throw their everyday sneakers (which didn’t get cleaned after a trip to the river last weekend) on as you are walking out the door it can spoil the outfit.  You don’t need to purchase new shoes, however please ensure they are clean and neat prior to your session.  If you are having a photo session in the studio – forget the shoes altogether – we use flokati rugs etc and the kids look great in bare feet.  Please choose clothing without branding or logos, it’s just not going to stand the test of time on your lounge room wall.  If you have little girls (under 2) in your family and you plan on putting them in a dress, consider how the dress sits on them when they sit on the ground.  In most cases it’s best to put a cute little nappy cover on them as inevitably we end up with the most beautiful smile, but they have not yet learn’t “how to be a lady” and we end up with them flashing their nappy – spoiling the shot.

Colour Selections

Clothing colour choices make the portrait and you want them to be a non issue.  Avoid bright reds oranges, neons and hot pink (any bright colours really).  These can overpower and the portrait session is about the people, not the clothes.  Choosing solid colours, muted tones and similar tones for both tops and bottoms works great, it’s easier to see all your faces and no individual person stands out. If you chose a white top and dark pants, it will make your top look bigger, the reverse will make your butt look bigger.  It helps to choose a base colour and then build one or two accent colours from there for your group portrait – you want clothes that go well together but don’t exactly match.  Knits photograph well and collars frame the face.  Its a great idea to “google” family portrait photos and scroll through the hundreds of photos  – you will soon see what images you are draw to and which images don’t suit your family style.  It also helps to show you a visual of which colours and tone work well together.  Classic colours that work for both genders are cream & beige, both light and dark grey tones, blues and greys.

I hope this info has helped narrow down your family clothing choices for your upcoming portrait session.  So long as no-one turns up in a neon spacesuit or paisley “onesie” you will look great!