What to Wear for Your Family Photo Shoot - Stacy Washburn Photography

What to Wear for your Family Photo Shoot

Finally, everyone is together and you have scheduled your family photo shoot, now what to wear? Before you worry too much about the clothes, remember your family photo session is about the people and family in it. The best family photos are the ones where everyone is relaxed and willing to go with the flow and those genuine smiles supersede any pretty dress or nice tie when it comes to a fantastic family photo. I will do my best to make your family session fun and use a lot of movement and interaction in my posing so that those "I hate having my picture taken" forget this for a little while and we capture some good laughs and smiles that go all the way to the eyes. Now, onto those outfits…

Location, location, location. Think about the setting for your family photo shoot and consider it the "mat" to your photos. You want to stand out so the eye goes to your faces versus the background but you also want to be location and season appropriate.

Beach photo shoot:  Pastels, light, airy, soft colors work well. Whites can sometimes get blown out with the brightness of a sunny day, but mixed in with coordinating, pale colors, makes for a nice palette. Grays, blues, tans also look nice with the colors of the sand, water, and sky. Flowing dresses, floppy hats, rolled up pants legs and sleeves, accessories that pop add nice touches to beach photos. You will be barefoot for the photos so get a pedicure. Shorts on men are more comfortable but, in some shots, hairy legs can be distracting so light cotton or linen slacks or jeans may be your preference.

Urban/City photo shoot:  Think edgy. Darker or stronger colors with a splash of white or grey look nice and keeping with solids helps you stand out against this busier background. Jackets, belts, ties, hats, strong accessories also add some pop to the images.

Parks/Gardens:  Greens and browns are lovely but if your photos are set amongst the trees and grass, you will get lost in the images. Without going too bold with your colors select a palette that you'd find in flowers and mix with whites, greys, browns, and blacks. Again, patterns can distract the eye with this busier background but soft floral patterns can work well with solids. Accessories, hats, mittens, jackets, boots, etc make for some easy ways to add interest or pop to your images.

Your Home and Décor Style.  A big consideration when deciding what to wear for your photo shoot should be your home and style of decorating. You will want the colors in your photos to look nice when displayed in your home and be neutral enough to fit your décor as your style grows and changes. Your goal, my goal is to capture images that are timeless, classic and that you treasure for decades and want to display.

Picking Outfits.  Start with yours! You know if you're not happy with the way you look no one is going to ever see the photos! You want to be comfortable and look like yourself so if dresses or suits aren't your thing, don't wear one. That said, keep in mind you want to spoil yourself a little and allow that inner diva a chance to shine so wear something you feel fabulous in! Accessorize with jewelry, a scarf, a light jacket, belts, a floppy hat, a pop of color. Once you have decided what you will be wearing, move on to selecting the palette and style for your partner and finally your children to coordinate and compliment what you are wearing and each other.

Matchy-Matchy and Twinning.  Please don't. Outfits should compliment each other but matching everyone doesn't result in the best photos. And as fun as it might be sometimes, please don't mirror your twins, triplets, or love of your life. Consider a palette range, for example, if you are wearing lavender, choose soft pastels for everyone else with splashes of whites or greys. If you are wearing black, choose strong colors to compliment that, gold, red, blue, grey, white, purple.

Patterns, Plaids, Stripes, Neon, Oh, My!  Gentle patterns or soft patterns are just fine and can look lovely when complimented with a mix of solids. Bold vertical or horizontal stripes can distort in images. Plaids can work well too…but remember your location when choosing. For the best outcome, limit only one person to strips or heavy patterns. Neon, why would you ever? That said, if bright, super bright or neon is your thing, just make sure everyone in the photo shoot is equally as bright so no one person dominates the image.

Character and Logo Tees.  Buzz Lightyear or Little Mermaid are cute but you may not want to hang a family photo for the next 10 years with their faces in it and it timestamps the image immediately. Logo tees are fine if they fit the setting and don't overwhelm the image. Again, as with character tees, they can reduce or remove your desire to display the image after a period of time with outdated logos, slogans, or agendas captured in them.

Accessories.  Yes, please! Adding a hat, tie, belt, scarf, ribbons, etc to an outfit can add another dimension to an image and really make it stand out from just another picture. The fun thing about accessories is sometimes bigger is better and they can be removed and interchanged throughout the shoot to give different looks.

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