An age-old question: What should I wear for my family photos?
Okay, you've finally gotten around to booking those family photos that you desperately need. Whew! Maybe it's been years since your last family photos, OR maybe these are your first professional photos ever! Either way, once you book your photographer, then comes the stress of deciding what to wear...
Except this shouldn't be stressful! Your photographer should be guiding you in selecting your outfits, and it's one thing I love to help my clients with.
The three things to consider when picking outfits for your family photo session include:
- Your location and the season
- Your family's vibe
- How you plan to use the photos
1. Your location and the season.
The first thing to consider when you're picking outfits for your family photos is the "where." You should be considering where you live, what your seasons look like, and the location you plan to have your family session at.
For many of my families in Colorado, we need to consider the season pretty heavily. I often recommend the summer and fall for family photos, since the weather is usually nice and the wind has usually died down. If you are taking photos in Colorado in the spring, you may need to consider the wind. And if you're dying for those winter wonderland photos, you'll need to plan for an outfit that will keep you warm, while photographing well.
Also, considering the location of your photo session will benefit you. For example, if you're hiking to the best spot, consider wearing comfortable shoes, and then changing into your stylish shoes at the photo spot. Your feet will thank you! Sometimes this can be challenging with kids, so you might want to consider a location where you don't need to walk far.
Regardless of your locale, think about your typical weather patterns. The most important thing is that you're comfortable during your session. You don't want to be sweating or shivering thanks to your outfit choices, and you want your family to be comfortable to look the most naturally joyful in your photos.
2. Your family's vibe.
Your family photos should be a true reflection of who you are as a family! My clients enjoy to see their memories captured in a true to life style. What does this mean for your outfit choices?
When you're thinking about what to wear for your family photo session, think about how you want your family to be remembered by your family and friends. Staying true to your vibe might mean you want to wear more casual clothing, like most of my client families. But it could mean that you want a more formal session with Easter dresses, formal attire, or luxury brands.
Maybe your husband always wears a ball cap. Maybe your kiddos just started dressing themselves. Maybe you hate wearing jeans. These might seem like a nightmare to a mom trying to perfectly coordinate her family photos, but think about the memories you'll be able to capture with these sentimental items and moments. You can always work with your photographer (and your kiddos!) to make sure this stage of life is captured well and is well-coordinated.
3. How you plan to use the photos.
Thinking about how you plan to use your family photos is often missed, with the exception of one big occasion -- holiday photos! It's wonderful if you plan on taking professional photos specifically to use for your holiday cards, to consider family photo outfits that reflect the season. But what about the rest of the year?
If you're simply refreshing your family portraits, without an end goal in mind, that might make selecting your outfits a little harder. In these situations, consider where you would like to hang these photos in your home. Do you have a color palette for that room that would also work really well for your family photo outfits? Oftentimes our personal style blends from our outfit choices to the items we like to surround ourselves with.
A neutral color palette, with one or two pops of your favorite color, is a great option for family photos. My clients find that these photos can be used in countless places, from their social media profile pictures, to Mother's day cards, to framed prints in their home.
A few last tips...
Okay, now you know the three biggest things I advise my clients on when they are picking out what to wear for their family photos. But there are just a few other words of advice that I have, if you're stuck:
- I typically recommend that only 1-2 people are in a patterned outfit (florals, plaids, stripes, etc.). Other colors can be selected from that pattern to build a really nice color palette that feels cohesive without being too matchy-matchy.
- Don't sacrifice your comfort. If you're in 6" heels and your kiddos are in bow ties, unless you are used to those items in daily life, this is where I see the most meltdowns. Your session will run smoother and your photos will turn out better if you and your family are comfortable and cute.
- When in doubt, work with your photographer! Speaking from my own experience, I love when clients send me outfit options in advance. Most of the time, the best photo outfits for family portraits are already in your closet. Your photographer (hello!) can help you pair items that you already own to create a seamless look among your family. Plus, seeing options in advance give us lots of ideas for details to capture in your session (a dress twirl, that sentimental ball cap, or even those bow ties on your little boys).