When we book a family portrait session, one of the first questions we always get asked is
Of course these are just my tips, other photographers may have their own advice to share (and if any of you out there are reading, please feel free to share them in the comments!).
SOLIDS OVER PRINTS
Solids will get my vote every time. The right print can look great, but more often I will suggest that a client wear a solid color. Bold prints can look very busy and distract the viewer from the focus of the photo, you.
COLOR IS YOUR FRIEND
I love a nice bright, rich color that really pops in a photo. Lighter brights stand out, but aren’t too distracting (i.e. no neon greens and yellows). Even white looks great and can feel fresh. I usually suggest staying away from dark colors because they can blend into the background, but if you know you’ll be shooting in a location that offers a light background, dark colors can also be slimming. A nice bright color however, just adds a little something to the photo. And if you have a favorite color that you just love, wear it!
Unless you’re going for a particular style for your shoot, it’s usually a good idea to avoid anything too on trend so that later on you aren’t looking back at your photos thinking, “why did I wear THAT?
DON'T BE TOO MATCHY MATCHY
For group family portraits, you can certainly match if that’s truly what you want, but in my opinion simple color coordination is all that’s needed. You could choose pastels, for example, and everyone can stick to that color palette but not wear the exact same color. Or choose a color combination that you like, just as you would do for a wedding, and have everyone in the family dress any way they want, but using only those color options. You want to complement each other, not look identical.
COMFORT IS KEY
If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of walking during your photo session, laying on the ground, getting wet…anything at all, you’ll want to be comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you have a pair of heels that you’re dying to wear for your photos, it might be a good idea to have a pair of flats with you just in case. And as they always say, if you’re comfortable, you’ll feel more confident and it will show in your photos. So, look nice, even dress up if you like, but don’t wear something if it makes you self-conscious or you know you’re going to have keep adjusting it during your shoot.
ON LOCATION AND IN SEASON
Think about the location and the season. If you’re shooting outside you don’t want to freeze if the temperatures have been dropping. Likewise, in the summer when it’s extremely hot outside, you don’t want to wear a fabric that isn’t breathable.
The most important piece of advice I can share is to just be yourself. The above are all great tips, but for an engagement or any portrait session, the focus is YOU and you want your personality to shine through.