I have heard one specific question time and time again from my family photo session clients – how do we pick outfits?! As someone who has spent plenty of time in front of and behind the camera during family photos, I get it. It sometimes feels like the hardest part of doing family photos might actually be choosing outfits. But I’ve come up with what I think is a foolproof formula for perfect family photo outfits every time. Read on for all my tips!
I like to stick to 3-5 colors in a neutral tone. Bright colors like red or pink can be unflattering on a lot of skin tones and will affect the way your final photos look. My favorite color palettes for family photos are creams, whites, tans, rusts, or light blue or green.
However, I also understand personal preferences differ! If you feel most confident in a red dress, rock it! I do suggest though that neon colors be avoided at all costs. Think of your home’s decor and the location where you’re shooting and pick colors that will flatter both. For example, if our session is going to be in the woods, probably don’t dress everybody in green, as you’ll just blend in. Going for lighter natural tones will provide a beautiful contrast.
When I need to plan outfits for our family photos, I always start with my own outfit first. I have a note on my phone titled “Dresses,” (my preferred family photo outfit), and every time I see a dress I like online, I’ll add a link to that note. A month before our planned photo session, I got through and choose a few options to order.
Personal style obviously needs to be considered, but I almost always recommend moms and grown women wear dresses or skirts for family photos. Those silhouettes are very flattering on female bodies, especially on camera! Think of red carpet outfits – you see far more women in dresses than in pantsuits!
I personally love wearing midi-length dresses, but maxi or full-length dresses also look beautiful on camera. The long, flowy fabric brings extra movement to your images, especially when shooting somewhere like the desert, forest, or beach.
Whether you choose a dress, skirt, or pants, I always recommend avoiding clothing that is too tight or uncomfortable. You’ll want to look like an elevated version of your daily self but still be able to move easily and comfortably with your children throughout the session.
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My husband Marc also has a sort of “family picture uniform” he goes to every time – a white shirt and slacks. He’ll sometimes prefer a different sleeve or collar length, and wear khakis or colored pants, but the two items you’ll nearly always find him in during our family photos are a white shirt and slacks.
I think chinos photograph so much better than jeans or cargo pants. Shorts should usually be avoided unless you’re shooting at the beach and want to avoid wet pants.
Now let’s talk shirts. In my opinion, a simple button-up looks best on men in photos. But you don’t need to recycle the same shirt every time you take photos! Add a henley or t-shirt under an open button-up for an interesting layer. Think of mannequins you see at the store; most of the time they will be dressed in at least one layer of clothing because the layers add interest.
I also always recommend men wear closed-toe shoes in family photos. Sandals have a time and place but nice photos are neither of those!
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Avoid logos. Large designs on shirts can be really distracting and take away from your little one’s cute face! If you’d like a pattern opt for something small.
Think layers. As I mentioned before, layers add visual interest to photos and will add a bit of extra movement.
Pick natural fabrics. This is really a rule for all members of your family! I think materials like linen or cotton photograph are so much better than tulle or sequins. For your standard family photo shoot, the former is the way to go!
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As someone who wears a lot of hats (wife, momma, nurse, and photographer). I know that those once in a lifetime moments can truly fly by. My mission is to capture those beautiful moments so that you can come back to them years down the road and relive them! The best way to do that if to find out who YOU are and what type of moments YOU treasure the most.
Wanna meet me? I love my cute family, the pop of my Made by Mary necklace over my heather grey sweatshirt, and eating ice cream for every occasion - Tillamook Mudslide is my favorite!
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