As a photographer, one of the most common question I receive in regards to family shoots is “What on earth should we wear?” Often times, these sessions contain more people (ten or more), and that can become a matching nightmare. How can we possibly get that many individuals to look so coordinated together without the dreaded uniform look (where everyone is essentially wearing the exact same outfit).
There are thankfully four hints to take with you as you shop for your shoot:
1.) Pick one neutral that all members can wear in some capacity, but not in the same way. These include colors such as black, white, navy, grey, beige, brown, etc. This could be the color of pants for someone, a scarf for another, the top for a third, or as a sweater for a fourth. Keep it varied, keep it classy. Sarah’s cute family above went with blue, which works so well (especially with that green grass!).
2.) Try to keep yourself to two colors of the same color family. After you have chosen a neutral or two, you can start to sprinkle in a couple colors from the same color family (so pick two warm or cool colors, or two from the summer tones). Getting too excited and choosing more than three colors, especially random ones, might take away from the curated, coordinated vibe, so try to keep it simple. Freja’s fam over on the right, they did it right: They chose white/cream and denim as a neutral, and paired it with navy and red.
3.) Avoid a ton of reds and pinks. Wearing these bright colors are going to emphasize that color in your cheeks, which perhaps may not be as flattering as you would like (and if you’re having photos professionally taken, it might be easier for your photographer to get glowing skin tones if their editing skills aren’t competing with the color of your clothes).
4.) If all else fails, find a rug in a plaid shirt. A what? You know when we are decorating a house, we find a rug that pulls all the colors together to make it flow and work? You can follow that same principle for family photos! Find a plaid or patterned shirt with several colors in it, and pull those colors out as your options. This almost guarantees colors that not only match, but will be easy to pair. Look at the sweet family to the left…sage greens, golden hues, and maroon. If you look close enough, the dad’s plaid shirt contains two of those three, and then the red and green are opposites on the color wheel, so works on all levels.
These tips are of course not just for family photo sessions, but for any where you find yourself a member of a group. As disasterously demonstrated in my favorite song from the musical How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, you don’t want to be in that “Paris Original”…you don’t want to dress like everyone else, even if it is accidental. Coordinate, not costume; be unique and be original, but all together.
But, as with all things in life, HAVE FUN–and show me when you do with the hastag #kaylaleemademedoit!