So often I am asked by clients, "What should we wear to out session?" Your wardrobe choices greatly affect the look and feel of your portraits. While you don't need to spend months tediously deciding exactly what you and your family members will be wearing, it is important to put some careful thought into the outfits you choose.
One place I ask my clients to begin when considering outfit options, is by thinking about what they want to do with their portraits. Are the portraits going to be hung as a gallery display in their living room? Perhaps their entryway? By picking up the colors in the room in your outfits, you can help accentuate the portraits as artistic focal points in the room. They will tie in with the decor and create a beautiful look.
When deciding on colors, I always recommended keep it minimal. This is not to say everyone in the photograph needs to have matching shirts and all be in the same colored khakis (please send that thought fleeing from your mind). Choose one or two main colors, then you can add interest and vibrancy by bringing in pops of accent colors in your accessories.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Accessories are such a wonderful way to add personality to portraits and help set the members of your family apart. Even if you are all wearing white t-shirts and jeans (which, in general, I recommend against since it tends to look dated and can look a bit boring), if you accessorize well, you can keep your personality from being lost in the crowd. Accessorize with scarves, necklaces, belts, earrings, a cute headband or clip, fun colored shoes, the list goes on and on. In addition to adding personality and color pops, accessories help keep your eye moving around the photo and hold your interest.
Another key element to think about when choosing your wardrobe is, "what tone do you want these portraits to be?" Are you wanting a formal or high fashion style? Do you prefer a more comfortable, casual look? Both looks are wonderful, but it's important to choose one or the other. I have seen people arrive to portrait sessions in mismatched clothing. The guy walks in wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt, looking very casual and relaxed. His wife coming in wearing a beautiful blouse and dress slacks. Both are wonderful outfits in their own right, but they don't pair well together. In your portraits you want to look like a cohesive group, like you were meant to be together. If someone is under or over dressed they will definitely stand out from the rest in a less than ideal way.
Don't forget to consider the location your portraits will be taken in as a factor for deciding your attire. While females in beautiful flowy sundress and guys in khaki shorts look beautiful on a beach, it's perhaps not the ideal look for an urban setting. Not to say it can't be pulled off, but try to think about how all the pieces of your portraits will fit together, even the ones in the background.
Hopefully, these tips have helped to inspire you and give you food for thought as you begin contemplating your family portrait wardrobe!