It's a common question, "What should we wear?" I'm always torn about how to answer as there are definitely things that photograph well and things that don't. At the same time, families should show some personality in their choices too. The main rules are to coordinate and make sure everything fits well.
What does coordination mean? It doesn't mean matchy, matchy. Everyone does not need to wear crisp white shirts and blue jeans.
Work together effectively! Yes. How do you do this? There are a couple of ways. You can wear shades of the same color.
Ok. Maybe the shoes aren't gray, but they are huge Michigan State fans so they get a pass! Plus, like I said, I always encourage a little personality!
If you don't want to wear shades of the same color you can try choosing a couple of colors to put together. If you are unsure, think of the location you have chosen for your portraits and choose a color that looks good on your family and complements the location. This color can be a main color or an accent but you should pair it with a neutral. Here is a great example of pairing golds with the neutral gray.
When there are little girls in the family, a lot of times I suggest that you pick out a dress that you love for your little girl and pull things that match the dress. Or maybe mom has a dress she likes and you can match mom. Here is a great example of two sisters who wore complimentary dresses. Mom and dad wore golds and oranges to match and it was just perfect!
Here is a family full of boys so they planned around mom! Isn't that how life should be anyway? Moms rule? She chose a pink dress with navy blue accents. The boys wore navy blue to complement mom! I love how two of the boys have a pink stripe in their shirt - it really pulls the family together! Take a moment to look at their shoes too. Often, with families, we forget about the shoes. But they do show and they are important to the portrait. Honestly, ratty kid shoes can ruin an image, especially if you've worked hard to put together great outfits. I'm a mom so I know that shoes aren't always the nicest part of my kid's wardrobe. If you don't want to purchase new shoes for your portraits consider going barefoot or not shooting any full body images. It's ok, really!
Here's an example of a family that didn't follow any of these rules but they still look great. The colors they chose are similar in tone paired with neutrals. They work! By similar in tone I mean a deep red paired with navy. As opposed to some lighter tones together with deeper tones. When thinking about your neutrals, keep them the same too. If the men are wearing khakis the men should wear khaki not some in denim or black. If they are wearing denim, keep it denim. If someone deviates the eye is drawn there, not to gorgeous faces.
Let's go back to personality! This family is a great example. They've done the matching family portraits. We did them several years ago and we did them just before we shot this. But, you know what? They LOVE super heros so they decided to mix it up a little! I love it! This is a great idea if you like to have your portraits made at least once a year. Have a little fun!
Triple threat! These three were a blast to work with. Sometimes I marvel at how my own three kids can be so different from one another but these three prove that even sharing a womb means different personalities, interests and looks.
personalities, interests and looks.