So you’ve found a family photographer whose style you love and booked your studio session with them. Now it’s time for the fun part: getting ready and deciding what to wear to your family photoshoot. This seemingly simple task can be easily complicated when you want to make sure you all complement each other without being too matchy-matchy.
That’s why I thought I’d share some of my tips for pulling together outfits that’ll look great in your family portraits. So get that Pinterest inspiration board ready and let’s start planning your family photo outfits.
With family portraits, we want to capture the way your family is right now – with everyone’s personalities shining through and showcasing your unity as a family. That’s why going for complementing, rather than matching, outfits is often the best approach.
When it comes to your family pictures, you want something that you’ll be proud to display in your home for years to come. That’s why we recommend taking a look around your home where you’re planning to hang your new family portraits. What kind of colours and textures have you used to decorate the space? This can help give you some ideas for a colour palette or at least avoid hues that would clash with your decor.
I’d recommend you choose 3-4 colours and try to find clothes for everyone that contain some of those shades. Neutral colours are a safe, timeless option and a great way to create a sense of unity in your photos. They’ll also never distract the eye from the people wearing them.
But there’s also nothing wrong with having a pop of colour in there. I’d suggest choosing one punchier colour and incorporating it into several outfits to create cohesion. Something very saturated like a bright red might also be a little overpowering and lose some of the detail of the fabric.
As for patterns, these can work well if balanced, but it might be best to opt for something not too busy or distracting. Plaids, stripes and subtle florals are all good options and a great way to incorporate several colours from your palette into a single outfit or even act as the base for it.
Broadly speaking, it still tends to be the mums who book family photoshoots, so it’s only right to start with them. If this is you, keep in mind that you deserve to look your best in the photos just as much as everyone else, so make sure you plan out your outfit too, and not just those for your partner and kids.
Choosing a single patterned outfit, like your favourite dress (take a peak on Elle for inspiration), can act as the base for your colour palette. Adding some visual interest in the form of textures like lace and knits could also be a useful place to start.
Make-up wise, you don’t want to be too heavy-handed or trendy to make sure your photos look great for years to come (no 80s pink blush and blue eye shadow combo moments here unless that’s your personal style), but something like matching your lip or nail colour to a colour in your outfit can again help to create that cohesion we’re looking for.
When it comes to dads, typically speaking, they’ll be happiest in something casual and comfortable. While you can obviously go for the suit and tie look, chances are they’ll be more comfortable in one of their well-worn (but clean and hole-free) t-shirts or button-downs and favourite pair of jeans. After all, we want to capture who your family authentically is, and not some idealised version of it.
Something like a soft flannel shirt in a nice earth-toned plaid could be a great choice as it can incorporate several shades from your colour palette or even act as a base for it, and add a nice soft texture to your photos.
Getting kids excited for your family photography session can be easier when they get to wear some of their favourite clothes. If you have nothing that matches the rest of the family’s outfits, this might be the perfect time to go shopping with your little one and choose clothes together.
Avoiding something too busy is best practice, so your kid’s favourite Spiderman shirt might not be the best outfit option for the photoshoot. Not only will it distract the eye from their face, it could be that in a year’s time they’re completely over Spiderman!
Details shouldn’t be ignored, whether that’s accessories like hats or jewellery or making sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free. The last thing you want is to arrive at the studio realising there’s a ketchup stain all the way down your youngest one’s sleeve or a stubborn wrinkle down the back of your dress.
Don’t forget about your shoes, either. These can easily be overlooked, but a great outfit is easily ruined by ratty trainers. And while heels for that full-glam look may be tempting (and may look lush), it’s important you’re comfortable and able to interact with your loved ones like you normally would in order to capture your family best. As with all things it’s all about your personal style, as well as comfort.
At the end of the day, what matters most when choosing your outfits for family photos is that all of you feel confident and comfortable. Many people feel uneasy about stepping in front of the camera, but keep in mind that it’s literally our job to make you look your best.
Looking for a family photographer in Edinburgh? You’ve come to the right place. We specialise in creating timeless portraits that capture your family’s unique beauty and personalities. Check out more information about our service for family portraits in Edinburgh here.
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