Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fall Family "What To Wear" Guide

One of the most commons questions I get asked relates to outfit selection. This is especially true for portraits of an entire family. And because of this, I thought I'd create this quick guide!

 First and foremost, your outfit choices should be comfortable. They should make you feel confident! Make sure you wear something that fits and flatters you even if it means buying an outfit just for the occasion. If you choose to buy outfits, please try them on to ensure that they fit, are comfortable, and feel natural to wear. Wear a pair of jeans that dig in at the waist, a pair of shoes that haven't been broken in, or a shirt with an itchy/annoying tag and your discomfort will surely show in the photographs. This is especially true with children because, as we all know, they'll let us know how they're feeling no matter what! 

Now that we've gotten the obvious out of the way, here are a few rules that cover the not-so-obvious choices in a family portrait wardrobe...

Rule #1: Complement but don't match

If your family of 4+ doesn't walk out of the house wearing the exact same outfit,
why would you choose to do it in photos?

 For this Spring session: the color palette was beige/khaki, white, coral, with a splash of mint. Though the boys are similar, the shade of pink in the top layers are different and so is the pattern of each. And because the colors were layered, we could get variety in our shoot by having one child remove his coral layer. 

 and that brings me to...

Rule #2: Layers & Accessories

Layers and accessories are a great way to add variety and color pops to a neutral color palette. Think items like cardigans, button shirts (like the example above), hats, scarfs, jewelry, and shoes. Layers are especially important if you want variety in your family photos without having to do full outfit changes. The possibilities are endless! 

Now that we've worked out 2 main rules on the "Do" list, 
here is my rule on what to avoid...

Rule #3: Avoid Crazy/Busy Patterns, Logos, Cartoons, and Sarcastic Graphic Tees

Examples of the types of patterns and graphics to avoid can be found below

There are exceptions to this rule but in general these patterns do not help tell the family story and should be avoided. Some, like the cartoons and logos can date a photo. Family portraits should appear classic and timeless and nothing ruins that quite like an Angry Birds graphic tee, sports jersey, or brand name. Crazy patterns are simple a distraction from the the face of the subject being photographed.

My rule on plaid...
I love plaid as much as the next country girl, I was raised in Texas after all, but it has it's drawbacks. Avoid harsh plaid patterns (like those featured above). If you wish to incorporate plaid into a family portrait, I suggest limiting it to 1-2 members and making sure that the plaid pattern is subtle to the eye. 

 If you choose to wear a patterned shirt that might distract, a neutral layer over top can help to minimize the distraction by hiding some of the fabric. Can you tell that I love layers? :) 

Now that we've covered the Do's and the Dont's, I thought I'd share a few color palette options that I believe are perfect for Fall family portrait sessions. You can follow these 100% or you can use them as a source for inspiration while you decide what colors work best for you and your family. 


And, as always, I'm available to answer any questions and help out wherever I can. It's not at all out of the ordinary for my to go shopping with a family to help them pick out their outfits or for clients to text message me photos of clothes they own or clothes they're considering purchasing in order to get my opinion! In fact, I encourage it! :) 


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