I would say the #1 question I get asked is “What should we wear?”. It’s for this reason that I’ve partnered with expert stylist Krisann Kiley. Every session I offer includes a complimentary 30 minute consultation with Krisann where you can figure out what specifically will work best outfit-wise for you. But if you’re just trying to get the wheels turning, here are some guiding principles I like for thinking about styling for family portraits:
- Leave the completely-matching for Sears portraits. Gone are the days when everyone should come to a portrait session with jeans and a white t-shirt or all wear green. For a more modern, natural look, I recommend coordinating your outfits without actually matching them. If everyone is in pastels, that works well, or jewel tones, or earth tones. One of my favorite sessions ever style-wise was this family of 7 — they all wore earthy tones that complemented each other without needing to match — it created a much more organic feel to their portraits than if they all were wearing the exact same thing while still allowing for a cohesive look.
- Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. My family portrait sessions involve a lot of movement — games, prompts, and walking around to explore the space. Wear clothes you feel good in and can move in — that you aren’t afraid to sit down in or run around in. Make sure your outfits are weather-appropriate — there are gorgeous options for warm layers in the cold weather, and lovely summer-y options when it’s hot out. Everyone will look and feel better if they’re dressed for the weather.
- Wear clothes that make you feel good. If you feel self-conscious in your outfit (it’s too tight or too loose in all the wrong places, or your shoes rub), that will come through in your photos. Wear clothes that make you feel good about who you are and how you look. If you feel good in yourself, that will also come through in your photos and you will shine.
- Empty your pockets. Yes, guys, this means you too — even giant pockets on mens’ clothing can show the bulk of keys or a phone or that mask you’ve stuck in there.
- Leave the graphic tees and super-brights at home. Ok, now that I’ve said that, if your kid has a graphic tee that is really, iconically THEM, that is fine — just work the other outfits around it, but in general, graphic tees don’t tend to age well in photos, so something a little more neutral is a great choice. Super bright / neon clothing is also good to avoid because it can cause unsightly color casts on the skin.