Everyone wants the perfect family portrait to commemorate their time together. But how do you achieve that perfect look? When putting together your family wardrobe, think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your session, and choose clothing that reflects that purpose while still matching and complementing each other’s style.
Choose your color story
When it comes to choosing a color story, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. The most important thing is choosing colors that compliment each other. The goal is not just having your whole family in shades of blue or purple. But also, don’t match everything you wear from head-to-toe. Mix and match with different patterns, textures, and sizes so that everything looks cohesive yet comfortable. Remember this when deciding on what outfits to buy for yourself and the kids!
I personally like monochromatic colors with one bolder color as an accent. If you are the person wearing the bold color, I’d go with something that you’re comfortable in, but also can compliment your family’s outfits and colors.
Pick a more neutral tone if you’re not sure what you want. These tend to look better when matched up with clothing from other colors because they aren’t quite as contrast-y as bright white or black.
How to Dress Mom
Choose your dress first! Yes, I said dress. In full disclosure, I almost always recommend a long dress or skirt for mom. If you’re going to be doing lots of posing, go for a solid colored dress or skirt. It’ll help keep things looking cohesive so you don’t have people looking like they belong in different families! If you do decide you want something with a little more personality then you can go for prints and patterns, but I do recommend staying away from the busy, tiny patterns.
As far as what type of fabric goes best – anything that will hold up well is ideal because it’s not uncommon to end up at an outdoor location with natural hazards like wind and leaves. Keep that in mind when selecting shoes too – you may need boots if it’s cold out, but flip-flops might not be the best choice if there are mosquitoes around!
Choosing Dad’s Outfit
Now that mom’s outfit has been selected, let’s talk about how to dress dad. Dad can wear anything from a nice button-down shirt and khakis to a suit. Keep those complimentary colors in mind while choosing color options.
For example, if Mom is wearing green then Dad should be wearing navy blue or something else in the same color family. If Mom is wearing a floral print then Dad should wear something solid like a dark gray. After you have picked out an outfit for your dad, you will want to find one for your kids too!
Choose the Children’s Clothes
When it comes to the kids, we are going to choose the girls outfits first. Again, we are going to keep in mind the color family mom and dad will be wearing. For example, if you are wearing a purple dress and your husband is wearing a navy suit then your daughter should wear something light pink or purple. If the girls are all dressed up in skirts then the boys should be dressed in button-up shirts with khakis or shorts.
Remember, the kids outfits are not meant to match mom and dad but they should definitely look like they go together.
Solids vs. Prints
Solid colors work well if you want to create a cohesive look and solid colors will hide dirt and stains better. Prints are more likely to stand out in photos, but can be fun with patterns or combining different textures.
When it comes to patterns/prints, try to avoid the tiny print patterns that appear busy on camera. It’s usually safer to select a pattern that is larger and less detailed when photographing your family. To make sure your outfit matches mom and dad’s, consider one light-colored outfit, one dark-colored outfit, one dress (if applicable), and one pair of jeans if you are going for something less formal.
Finalize Your Look
Most photographers have a style they prefer, so this is one of the most important decisions of the day. You don’t want to show up and find out your clothes clash with their style! If you are unsure about what color or pattern is best, consult with your photographer before making a decision. Being in communication with your photographer even about the wardrobe is part of the success plan for your family session.
The good news is when you choose M3 Creative Portraits as your photographer, we walk you through the entire wardrobe selection process. You can send us photos of options or we are happy to come sort through options with you.