8 What to Wear Guidelines for Family Pictures

It’s probably the most stressful part of family pictures – what to wear?! No wonder mom’s just decided it was going to be jeans and black polo’s! But your family pictures can be so much more and it all starts with the wardrobe. Keep these 8 what to wear guidelines in mind and your images will go from ordinary to editorial!

1. Dress it up

The #1 way to take your family pictures from humdrum to editorial is to dress it up. There is no such thing as ‘too dressed up’ when it comes to your session, I’m serious! Rock that red carpet look you’ve always dreamed of but never had a good excuse to actually wear! If red carpet is a little too fancy for you consider taking it up just a notch or two, even semi-formal beats the heck out of casual every day of the week!

2. What to Wear – For Her

Start with Mom

Mom, I’m giving you permission to be just a little bit selfish, start with your outfit and build everyone else’s from there. If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy! So lets make sure you’re happy and feel fabulous and everyone else will fall into place.

Say Yes to the Dress!

Dresses and skirts flatter every female body, especially on camera! Leave the jeans, pants, and shorts at home and say yes to a dress instead!

When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, you might be sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a longer dress or skirt will make moving around with your kids much easier.

Expecting? I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump.

Dress to your strengths

In my experience, every woman no matter her shape has areas of her body she’s self-conscious about. It’s okay! Me too! Recognizing that area in advance is key. Choose your outfit to flatter your figure. Keep these tips in mind; 3/4 length sleeves slim ALL arms while thin straps and strapless dresses have the opposite effect. Heels elongate the legs and actually change the way you carry yourself which translates great on camera!

3. Treat Yourself to Professional Hair & Makeup

Professional hair and make up is one of the top ways to take your portraits to the next level. First, you’ll look great so you’ll feel great and that confidence will shine through on camera. Don’t worry if it looks a little heavy at first, these artists know what they’re doing and it will look great on camera! Second, because you won’t have to stress about your hair and makeup you’ll be more relaxed for your session, that means you’ll have more patience for your kids and be in a better state of mind for your session, believe it or not the camera can see that too! So pamper yourself and indulge! You will be rewarded with timeless images to last a lifetime.

4. Color Me Neutral

When choosing a color scheme keep it light and neutral to keep the focus on your beautiful faces where it should be! The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.

5. Don’t Match – Coordinate!

DON’T MATCH! I cannot say it enough. Instead of trying to match everyone’s outfits think about how each outfit fits together. For each member of the family chose a dominant color and use accent colors to tie it all together. Don’t be afraid to wear different shades and incorporate different kinds of pieces for each member of the family. For example, if you have two daughters one could wear a dress and the other a skirt. Allow each family member’s personality to shine through in their own outfit while still coordinating with everyone else.

6. What to Wear – For Him

Long pants and closed toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine look for men. Leave the shorts and sandals at home! Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera and solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits. Patterns like pinstripes or plaid can sometimes be distracting and keep it classy by avoiding graphics and logos. Layers elevate a mens look so consider vests and jackets.

7. Don’t forget the details!

Details are a great tool to bring it all together; statement necklaces, flower crowns, bowties, suspenders, etc. will polish and complete your look. Also consider bringing a little something extra to your session to add that “wow” factor. Fresh flowers always deliver, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats. Planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.

8. Prepare the troops!

Okay this isn’t a what to wear tip but its an important step in creating the best photo experience for your crew. Take a minute and explain to your husband why these pictures are important to you, show him a session or two from the photographer you’ve hired and tell him why you chose them to capture your memories, when he hears what this experience means to you he jump on board t make your dreams a reality! Have kids? If they’re old enough, have a similar conversation with them so they know what to expect and why it matters to you. Bring snacks for quick breaks and small toys to help grab your kids attention. Many of my clients decide on a family reward like dinner at a restaurant or everyone’s favorite ice cream for everyone working together to create a good experience.

Keep these what to wear guidelines in mind as you plan your next family pictures and they will be everything you’ve ever dreamed of!

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