WARDROBE TIPS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS | Portland, Oregon
The most common question/concern families have when they book their portrait session with me is how to pick a great wardrobe. I'm always glad for the question because wardrobe really does play a big part in how the photos turn out -- but don't fear, it's actually not as complex as you think :)
KEEP THE COLOR PALETTE SIMPLE
Color is probably the most important part of choosing clothing for your photo session. You can't go wrong with neutral/pastel palettes such as chambray, denim, light blue, white, cream, grey, bits of pale pink, lavender or yellow. These colors work especially well in summer and spring. However, if you are doing a fall or winter shoot, richer tones like navy, pops of gold/mustard yellow, black, charcoal grey and berry tones can be wonderful. Consider the location of your photoshoot. If we are shooting in your house where neutral colors and bright light abound...you have better versatility for your color choices because it won't clash with the background. However, if you know we are going to be in the forest...maybe go with a more neutral light palette to contrast with the rich green surroundings.
Colors to avoid almost always: too much green (most locations in oregon are very heavy on green and you'll get lost in the background), true red or orange (you'll look like McDonalds), bright purple or anything neon has a tendency to cast purple weird light on everyone. Can't have that :)
WHAT ABOUT PRINTS?
Contrary to what you may think, prints are amazing on camera! Just keep them conservative. Mini-polka dots, plaid, stripes and simple floral prints are beautiful on camera. The general rule is not to mix them, however. For example: for a family of three, if mom is wearing a floral dress, Dad and baby should have more simple, solid colors on. If Dad is wearing a plaid shirt, mom and kids should go with a simple, basic color. If you have more people at the shoot, you can have a couple different prints and I'll be more intentional about how we arrange everyone next to each other. You can break all these rules if you are very stylish and really know how to work prints, as mixing prints in a single outfit is showing up in stores like Anthropologie and Zara all the time! Whatever you do, just make sure you feel really confident. If you aren't sure, keep it simple.
Prints to avoid almost always: Shirts with sayings on them, brand names or cartoon/TV characters. Neon prints, overly loud florals and most animal prints.
THINK ABOUT THE SEASON + YOUR SURROUNDINGS:
I touched on this briefly already, but consider your location. Is it very rich and green (woodland or meadow settings)....then avoid green and go for something neutral. Is it going to be cold, then layer on the cute coats and scarves. Shooting at the coast? All that open space makes room for lots of prints and flowey fabrics! Make sure to represent the season of your photos and consider your color choices based on your surroundings.
Remember to wear shoes you can easily walk in and that fit you well (no blisters!). Dress the kids in layers so they can warm up or cool down if need be. I cannot stress how important it is that the kids are warm!! Choose coats that are cute on camera so they stay warm (being too cold usually brings the tears in young ones)! Remember to check any sheer clothing in natural light outside to make sure your undergarments are not showing through BEFORE your session, as this can really show up on camera. Being comfortable is important, if you try out a new style you've never worn before or your son's sweater is super itchy, it usually shows on camera.
STILL NOT SURE?
Send me pictures! I can always help create a wardrobe over email/text...and if you are looking to buy some new clothes for the shoot (not a requirement AT ALL) -- I can recommend looks and stores that may work for you.
BE YOUR SELF!
If you show up loving your clothes and feeling confident in yourself...everything will work out. And if you don't feel confident, I'll help you gain your confidence throughout the session. If you'd like more examples of great family wardrobes from some of my own and other photographer's sessions, visit our PINTEREST BOARD.