One of the most common questions before a session is "what should we wear?" and I have been there; choosing outfits for a session can be overwhelming! And fashion has moved a long a lot since everyone wore blue jeans and matching white shirts for family photos ;) Here are a few ways you can choose outfits for your family:
1. Look around your home and observe the kind of colours that you like, and consider outfits that will compliment your home's design. These photos will be hanging on your walls and standing in frames around your space, so choose colours that will suit your family's personality and decor.
2. Check out colour palettes. I don't recommend totally matching everyone (unless that's your thing, in which case, go for it!) I recommend choosing complementary colours and patterns. Do a quick google search with the phrase "family photo colour palettes" and you will see a whole lot of good colour combos and outfit ideas pop up.
3. Choose one stand-out outfit or family member to plan around. When I plan our own family photo outfits, I like to start with me, because I'm the most particular, hard to shop for, and wear the most pattern, haha! Once I have my outfit, I choose everyone else's around that. Choose the family member that either has an outfit already, or is the most particular about their outfit, and start building your outfit ensemble around that. If the outfit has a nice pattern in it, choose one or two of the colours to use in a plain piece on another family member, or you could choose the opposite colour (think colour wheels!) and go that way instead. I like to mix textures, too. Layering and accessorising is also a great way to add interest to your portraits. For example, wearing a plain coloured knit sweater over a check shirt, or patterned scarf over a plain shirt, or a solid colour chunky cardigan over a patterned dress. Consider the image below.. This awesome family has mixed textures, with corduroy, denim, knit, cable knit tights, layering, leather in their classic outfit choices (you can't go wrong with a nice button up and some chinos, or a cute little dress with tights!), for a timeless look, but also has a beautiful pop of colour.
4. Break up whites and blacks. A little is fine! But breaking these up with colour is a great way to avoid washing anyone out or losing detail. Also consider that whites are lovely outside, but can be lost against a white wall in the studio. Soft neutrals & creams can look better than pure white. For my black-lovers: I like black, it's my favourite colour to wear in real life, but for family photos, I try to choose a darker dress with colourful pattern. Eg, this is me below, very happy because I was taking photos! Patterns can be flattering and fun!
5. If you're coming in for a newborn shoot, keep in mind what colours you want your baby to be wearing, and consider outfits that will go nicely with these colours. Remember they don't have to match exactly, just go together in a complementary way.
6. Keep it practical and comfortable. If you're going to be sitting on the ground, consider how comfortable you are with the length of your dress, or tightness of your jeans, etc. For little ones, if you're putting them in a dress, consider a nappy cover or tights underneath.
If you're coming into the studio, shoes won't be too much of a worry, we'll probably take them off or they won't be seen. If we're going to an outdoor location with a bit of a walk, some shoes may be more practical than others. You're more likely to enjoy the experience and relax if you're comfortable and can be yourself! I have a child with sensory processing challenges, and I know that it would be a very uncomfortable shoot for her if I made her wear something that was bothering her; consider this also if your little one have sensory preferences - that tickly tag or prickly knit could really put them off. Keep it comfy and keep them happy :)
7. Avoid logos, characters, text, and clashing patterns. It's easy to overdo patterns, and logos & characters will age. I recommend keeping outfits classic and simple, to give your photos a timeless look.
8. Shop from collections. Some stores sell collections with patterns and colours that coordinate beautifully across a range of sizes, from kids to adults. This can be a great and easy option if you are having trouble choosing outfits.
That is all I can think of right now, folks, and I hope that is helpful! Ultimately you are the one who is going to be displaying and sharing your photos, so while this advice might be my personal opinion, I want you to love the photos most of all! So have fun choosing personality-filled outfits, and don't stress too hard about it! The main thing is that we have fun and capture beautiful memories for you to enjoy for years to come.