What to Wear to Your Family Photo Session

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So you’ve booked a family photo session with a photographer you love, now to plan the outfits! This part can be a challenge, especially if you have a larger family. Read on for some tips and things to think for choosing the perfect family photo session outfits!

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Go For Light-Colored Neutrals, Pastels or Jewel Tones

Sophisticated color looks great in camera. When choosing colors for your family session, I will always suggest going for lighter colors in neutrals, pastels or jewel tones. Bright, bold and neon colors can be distracting and take away the focus from where the photo should be, which is on you!

My personal favorite colors to photograph are cream, camel, lighter grays, blush soft pinks and muted blues. I also really love anything floral and think it pairs well with muted tones. For example, mom is in a floral dress and dad is in a solid, muted color shirt.

The great thing about softer, more muted/pastel colors is that they fit so beautifully into almost any natural outdoor environment. 

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Mixing Your Outfit Colors

As much as identically matching outfits for all members of the family was popular back in the day, it’s not so much anymore! We want to coordinate the outfits by breaking up the colors and shades. Instead of all wearing the same color on top and bottom, like everyone in blue jeans and white shirts, try thinking about incorporating “dominant” & “accent colors” when planning your outfits.  For great outfit coordination, aim to have each family member wearing a different dominant color and then vary the accent colors. 

For example, mom is wearing a blush dress, nude shoes & some kind of muted blue accent jewelry, blush being mom’s dominant color. Then dad could wear a navy shirt, gray pants and maybe some brown leather shoes, navy being dad’s dominant color. Your daughter could then wear a muted blue top with a white jean skirt, muted blue being her dominant color. Then your son could be in beige pants, navy suspenders and a white button down shirt, making white his dominant color. See how each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few touches of the other colors that really pull the look together? This helps to break up the colors and highlight each person. Not sure where to start with colors? Have mom pick out her dress first then start building off that!

As you’re coordinating your outfits, keep in mind your outfits will look best on camera when the color pallete coordinates but don’t match. Instead of matching outfits, try thinking about what fits together to really let each family members personality shine through!

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Style tips for Her

1) Say yes to the dress

For your family portraits, you seriously can’t be “too” dressed up. So go for the gorgeous dress you’ve been eyeing! In most cases, every woman regardless of shape or size has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about. Recognize that area and keep it in mind when selecting outfits. If you don’t like the way you look in something normally, you won’t like the way you look in it on camera either. Aim for flattering silhouettes and colors that compliment your unique features. The more you consider that, the better chance you’ll love the way you look in your photos. Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect for arms. For those that are self conscious about arms and the outfit you want to wear has shorter sleeves, consider adding a light cardigan, blazer or denim jacket to your look.

2) The Shoes

Heels elongate a woman’s legs, so that’s a plus if you’re a heel-wearing kinda girl! I personally am not, so when I choose shoes for a photo session, I typically opt for a cute nude/brown sandal or flats (and not forget to make sure my toes are painted!) A super low heel or a cute boot of some sort also look nice. No matter what shoe you choose, I’d recommend bringing a comfy pair of flip flops or flats to wear in between shots incase we walk around and the heels or other shoes you wear for pictures aren’t exactly “walking shoes!”

3) Make a Statement

To make the photos look a little more interesting, consider adding a statement piece/detail such as a cute necklace or bracelet, belt, hat or scarf. Just avoid overdoing it and adding too much, choosing one or two pieces to add to your outfit is usually perfect. A fresh floral bouquet or flower crown also can add a super cute, interesting touch to your photos!

4) Skip the Spray Tan

As much as I love a nice glow, fake tans typically don’t photograph well and could make you look quite orange. I’d recommend skipping the spray tan altogether and just embrace your beautiful natural skin tone. I promise natural will always look way better in photos!

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Style tips for Him

1) Tops, Bottoms & Layers

Blazers, sport coats & jackets have a nice flattering effect for men. You can’t be “too dressed up” for your portraits, I recommend going all out if you want and wearing a dress shirt, slacks and a blazer! The layered look always looks so great on camera.

2) Colors & Patterns

I recommend aiming for solid colors instead of pin stripes, plaid, shirts with logos or too strong of prints. Solid colors will help keep the focus on your face with is the goal. When selecting pants and tops, choose different “weights”. Meaning, if going with dark gray pants go with a lighter colored top, if doing light beige pants go with maybe a dark navy blue top to balance the outfit out.

3) The Details Really DO Matter!

Long pants and closed toed shoes really is the most sophisticated and masculine look for men. So, consider leaving the sandals and shorts at home, instead opt for khakis, dress pants or dark-washed jeans instead. If you must wear shorts, khaki or gray colored shorts are going to be your best bet, but pair with a nice belt and leather close toed shoes. Brown leather dress shoes work with almost any outfit, opposed to athletic shoes.

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I hope you’ll get some ideas from all this and I cannot wait to see what color pallets, outfit pieces and details you choose to show off at your next family portrait session!