Updated: Aug 24, 2020
It's the question I get asked THE MOST as a photographer. While I hate to interfere with anyone's personal style, there are some pointers I like to give that not everyone may think about when it comes to your final images and the colors/styles you choose to wear. I do have a Pinterest page especially dedicated to client attire and it's where I direct every person that asks. It's so much easier to see examples since color is so subjective and open to interpretation.
Generally speaking, clothing and/or shoes with logos are pretty distracting in photos. Since we want nothing to detract from the subject (you and your beautiful family) I usually ask that you avoid clothing with obvious, high-contrast logos. Below is an example, and while this is a perfectly handsome logo, the eye is drawn right to it in photographs.
PATTERNS, TEXTURES, & LAYERS
Forever I have heard photographers say "No patterns--only white shirts and khaki shorts or denim looks best." I actually hate that advice. While I do agree it can make for clean and polished photos, adding patterns is a fantastic way to tie in the family wardrobe and give a bit of interest to the final images. Obviously, giant pandas or hamburgers printed on a dress are not going to look great, but stripes, plaids, dots, shimmer, speckles, heathered fabrics, and those types of patterns are perfect. You can even use a combo of patterns for different family members. There are exceptions, but generally patterns are super-cute as long as they are in the same color palette. Textured accent pieces also add depth to the photos. Below I see a variety of textures. A ribbed cardigan, a knit beanie, and a faux fur vest for the little miss is SO ADORABLE. Don't be afraid to experiment! Lastly, layer it up! I know it's hard to be in layers most of the time in Florida, but the payoff is worth it, I promise! You'll see lots of examples on my page!
This subject is tricky. I've been taking pictures of families for almost 9 years now and along my journey, I have noticed some colors that photograph amazingly and those that are not as flattering. If you're getting photographed outdoors, generally neutral and earthy tones will complement the backdrop and make the images really cohesive. Warm tones work best. For example, if you choose a red color, make it burgundy instead of bright red. Not only is the color more muted which helps the eye draw to faces instead of bright colors, but warmer muted tones tend to not reflect light and cause color casting. If you're standing next to someone wearing a bright red shirt, the side of your face closest to that shirt will most likely have a red tone to it in photos. Color casting can happen with any brighter color. Green, red, yellow, blue...you name it! To avoid this choose your favorite colors, but go for the muted and warmer tones of your favorite colors.
Blues. Blues photograph well, however you'd be better to keep the blue tones rather muted as in darker blues or be sure to not make the main palette color blue. For example, denim is blue and photographs beautifully when paired with warmer toned shirts, shoes, and accessories. Pinks. The pinks that photograph the best are generally muted salmons, and dusty pinks. Purples. Lavenders are very cool toned and along with lighter blues, I personally would avoid them if being photographed outside. They tend to clash with the natural backdrop of warm, earthy tones. A good purple would be a darker purple or plum color. The darker plum absorbs light and instead of reflecting and drawing the eye to the color, it creates shadow which in turn allows your eye to be drawn to the lighter parts of the images which are typically smiles and faces.
Bright whites and all black are usually not the best choices either. Your eyes are naturally drawn to the lightest parts of an image. If you're wearing all bright white, the eye is drawn not to the face first, but to the white clothing. Creams and tans are preferred over bright white. Black tends to be the opposite. While it allows for the face to be the main focus, you can lose a lot of detail, especially if more than one person in the group is wearing black as well. While black can be very slimming, consider making it an accent color, undershirt color, or pants color. You do NOT want your group being photographed to look like a black blob with faces because everyone's silhouettes run together. Gray. Grays are fantastic as an accent, but they can wash out the image because most grays are cool toned, so keep that in mind if you're going to be in a warm toned environment.
Hopefully these tidbits I have learned along the way will help you in choosing your next family session wardrobe. You would be totally amazed how much the colors you wear in images affect the final outcome of your gallery. Please visit my Pinterest family outfit idea board below for inspiration for your next session! Thanks so much for giving me a few minutes of your day! Bless from the Ranch!
See my Pinterest board here for inspo!