I have mixed feelings when it comes to giving clients advice on what to wear. Sometimes, if I don’t offer any suggestions, then the client comes up with a combination that I would have never thought of and it looks AMAZING. But sometimes, clients (not my clients of course, but other people’s clients) come up with a combination that I would have never thought of and it looks awful.
And since I don’t want your portraits to end up on the Awkward Family Blog like the picture above, I thought I’d offer a few bits of advice.
1. Be a head turner. You know that outfit that you have that makes you feel amazing. Everyone smiles at you when you put it on. That’s a good start for your photo shoot. Wear something that makes you want to smile. If you have more than one outfit like that, then gravitate towards the color of your eyes.
2. Don’t over-match. There might be a perfectionist lurking inside you (or someone you love) that insists on everyone in your family wearing khaki pants and a black shirt. Or blue jeans and a white shirt. You get the idea. Some people adore this look. Personally, I think it’s overdone and it always leaves someone looking dowdy. The only reason why everyone should be wearing the exact same thing is if there’s a wedding.
Instead of matching everyone identically, think of your family as a wardrobe ensemble. Pick out colors that work together. Here’s a fabulous example. The couple below used red, white and blue for their family portraits. No one is wearing the exact same thing, and yet they all match.
3. Dress for the same party. You don’t want to have one person wearing a t-shirt, while someone else is wearing a cute dress. Everyone in the photo should be dressed on the same level. Either all casual or all dressed up.
4. Consider the destination. On a similar note, you should dress appropriately for the picture’s intended purpose. If you’re getting head shots done for your business, then wear a business suit. If you only use black frames in your living room, then incorporate black into your outfits so that the finished results look professional.
5. Don’t overdo busy patterns. In small doses, busy patterns can spice up a photo (like the one below). You have to be careful though when you incorporate patterns. Keep in mind that fashion changes with every season, so you don’t want your outfits to look dated in six months. As long as you balance out patterns with solids, you’ll be fine. Just think of your family’s clothing as an ensemble.