What to wear... What to wear...
The goal is to make the family look coordinated without matching exactly.
The way to do this with a group is to have a common colour scheme or style that you plan ahead. We’re aiming for a more subtle cohesive appearance, not twinning. (Unless you’re under 10 years old, let’s leave identical outfits in the 80s where they belong and avoid the identical matching white T's of the 90s.)
1. For smaller or single family units:
a) I recommend you PLAN AROUND MOM. Mother dear, please, pick out what you feel most BEAUTIFUL in and coordinate the rest of the family around that colour scheme.
b). Go for colour! Look for colours that compliment each other. Look at everyones outfits together the night before to make sure they work well together.
If you’re not a confident stylist:
2. For large extended family units:
Neutral tones can be easier to coordinate than brighter colours. It can be cute to put something matching on grandchildren and/or grandparents.
Generally, the group will look fine if everyone just makes an effort to dress nicely and not too flashy (because it draws attention to them and therefore away from others in the group.
3. AVOID clothing with brand names or logos.
Please check that coats and shoes do not have reflective tape on them. These can all be very distracting.
Avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily as we may do both sitting and standing poses.
4. Remember the season
Dress for the weather both in temperature and colour. Layers are your best bet, if you’re shooting outdoor in Alberta!
Try to work with the natural colours outside.For example, don’t wear white in winter. Avoid bright orange in the fall. Green is not great in the summer.
5. Textures and patterns are great
Nothing too flashy as you don’t want to draw attention away from the face but a simple plaid or knit sweater add interest.
6. Avoid plain, solid coloured tops (especially Black and White)
Wearing a variety of textures, fabrics, and patterns can add interest without being distracting. Things as simple as a shirt with buttons is more interesting than a plain T-shirt.
Avoiding wearing solid bright white or solid black is extra important if you are thinking about having the photo printed in Black & White. (Obviously, wedding dresses and suits.) Solid shades can end up looking like a large block in the image that takes the eye away from faces.
Accessorize—this can off set this effect: buttons, jewelry, a scarf, vest, sweater. Layers are your friend in photos.
7. Lay it out the night before all together so you’re not frantic moments before.
8. Tame that mane.
Hair spray down fly aways. Even if you don’t normally use product guys, it’s a good call for the family photo.
Consider: Bringing a brush. This is important if little girls are wearing their hair loose. And maybe hair spray or a water spritzer in the winter to control the inevitable static.
This is totally a personal preference thing. (I would not encourage it for men, if it’s not something you do not normally wear—we’re not doing a theatre production ;)
10. Women, a little bit can really brighten your face. A little bit of liner or mascara make-up can really make your eyes pop. Natural lashes tend to make a person look tiered, most notably on our fair-haired friends.
11. Apply your foundation in natural light—in front of a large window or outside. This is the light that will be used during your photo shoot and it is the least forgiving lighting, in terms of blending.
12. Pack for touch-ups. It’s a good idea to bring your lipstick or compact to do touch ups if necessary.
13. Clean your nails. If it’s an engagement or maternity session your hands will be in close ups. Be sure to moisturize, trim your nails and maybe fresh polish.
14. Prepare for the weather. Check it the morning of in case the forecast has changed.
15. Eat before you come! And bring snacks and water if it is a longer shoot.
One more little note!
Don’t force that smile
The best look is your natural one. I’ve heard some photographers say, “cheese is for crackers.” Please don’t encourage kids to “smile” or “say cheese” it will look exactly like that’s what happened. Laughter photographs beautifully, bad Dad jokes are strongly encouraged.
Let your kids be themselves (no one is judging here) we will capture that little personality. We’ll work with what we get, not fight it.
Have fun with your family! I can’t wait to capture your moments!
Think About Bringing
Michelle J. Falk
Shares stories from behind the scenes and tips to improve your photo sessions.