Start by thinking about where you will be displaying the photos in your home. The colors you choose should be harmonious with your decor. You wouldn’t want to take a perfect family photo only to discover that the bright yellow dress you looked so great in clashes terribly with the serene grays and blues in your living room. Once you have a general color idea, pick a palette of coordinating tones. My favorite number to advice clients is four colors but it could be five for large families and three for couples. At least two or three of these colors should be neutrals – black, white, khaki, grey, denim (yes – denim makes a great neutral.) Then you can choose a pop of color to add some interest.
The key is to coordinate not match exactly. So, a family of four does not need to be all wearing the same color shirt. There was a time when a family all in white shirts and khaki pants was so cool (ok, I admit I have one of these on my wall!) But that time is gone.
A good general rule is to wear mostly solids and work around one patterned item in your group’s wardrobe. For example a plaid shirt or flowered dress. Two patterns can work if they are complementary in color and style. Texture looks great in photos so add if you can. Knits, lace, ruffles and pleats all add dimension and photograph well. Try to avoid logos, characters or slogans on clothing. These can take attention away from the subject and look dated over time.
Layer, layer, layer and add some accessories! A great way add interest and mix and match color. Jean jackets, cardigans, vests, scarfs, belts, hats and jewelry look great and can be added or removed to change your look. Don’t overdue your accessories though. You want your faces and expressions to be the star of your photo. One bold piece of jewelry or accessory that complements your outfit is better than looking too busy. Don’t forget to pay attention to shoes depending on your photo shoot location. And if you are going to be at the beach or in a grassy field – bare feet are perfect.
Make sure clothing choices fit well and hide undergarments. If you have to constantly adjust your top to hide bra straps, chances are they will end up peeking out in some of your photos. Kids should be dressed comfortably. If they are tugging or itching in their clothes, they will be in a hurry to get out of them and may not be as cooperative as they could be. We want this to be a fun and painless experience for your children and we’ll get the best expressions from them.
Below are a couple great looks – one for a family portrait session that would be appropriate any time of the year. The second is perfect for a summer or beach photo session. Both have a palette of three or four colors including neutrals and one or two bolder colors. The outfits compliment each other while allowing each person to have their own unique look that suits their personality.