Clothing can make or break your family photo session. You could love the lighting, location, & expressions in a photo & still not like the photo overall if the clothing is distracting you from appreciating all the good aspects!
What makes a good outfit for a family photo session depends largely on balancing colors & patterns & avoiding a small handful of things.
In this post, I’ll walk you through creating a color palette for your family’s clothing & teach you some dos & don’ts.
Creating a color scheme for family photos – in 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Ask yourself if you’d like to hang any of these photos in your home. If so, are there any colors you’d prefer to *not* have in your home? If so, rule these out for clothing colors when it comes to photos.
Are there any colors you are already using in your home decor that you would like to echo in your photos? If so, keep these colors in mind when picking out clothing.
Step 2: I recommend choosing an outfit for the person in your family who is the pickiest about what looks good on them (oftentimes this is moms). Keep any colors in mind from step 1
Step 3: You’ve found one outfit! Yay! Now it’s time to build a color palette off of that one outfit.
Tip 1: I recommend 2-3 colors within a color palette for family photos.
Tip 2: For sessions with 3+ people, I recommend that you incorporate both solids & patterns. If everyone wears solids of 2-3 different colors, it can come off looking like different sports teams standing next to each other – and that is probably not the look you’re going for ;-).
(For sessions with 2 people – you can both wear solid colors that compliment each other OR one person can wear a solid & the other can wear a pattern.)
Example Palette 1:
If the first outfit you’ve chosen is solid & you have a family of 3 or more, I recommend looking for an outfit that contains the color of that solid within a small & classic pattern.
Ex: You chose a sage green dress. Find an outfit for your daughter with cream, tan, & sage green in the floral pattern. You’ve now established a color palette of Cream, Tan, & Sage green. You find sage green pants for your partner & a cream sweater and a sage patterned flannel and let him choose his preference. Find some tweed tan overalls for your son.
Boom! You’ve made a cohesive color palette for your family photos and all you have left is to choose shoes.
Example Palette 2:
If the first outfit you’ve chosen is a dress with a pattern, you will choose the next outfits for everyone else with colors from your dress.
Ex: You found a blue & white patterned dress and decide to stick with just two colors – blue & white. Your husband wears a denim button shirt w/ khakis or a jean jacket over a white t-shirt & jeans. Put your son in jean overall-shorts & a cream t-shirt. Have your daughter wear a white dress with a small blue bow in her hair.
Your color palette is established and all you have left to pick out is shoes!
That’s it! You’ve built your family’s photo session color palette in 3 simple steps!
Now for a few Do-s & Don’t-s when it comes to clothing for family photos:
Don’t use bright neon colors.
Do use neutrals (like tan, cream, & light gray), pastels, muted/subdued colors, or earth-tones.
Don’t use clothing with logos, words, characters, or pictures.
Do use solid colors & small + classic patterns.
For outdoor sessions:
Don’t wear shoes that you can’t walk in outdoors OR that don’t go with your outfit choices.
Do choose shoes that you are comfortable walking in & that blend well with your families outfit choices (brown & tan shoes are typically a safe bet – though white & pastel colored shoes can sometimes work well).
If you’d like to look through my client wardrobe for your session, you can do so here!
Already have your family session reserved with me? Reach out if you’d like help planning your family’s clothing choices!
If you’d like to check out my Pinterest board with clothing ideas for the whole family, you can do so here!
Interested in learning more about booking a session? Contact me here!