What should we wear to our family portrait session?
Here’s a guide to help you prepare…
THINK HARMONY WITHOUT “MATCHY-MATCHY”
Let’s first look at the word HARMONY in terms of music. One note sounds pure by itself, but it’s the interaction between multiple notes played together that gives music its richness and color. The same concept applies to clothing choices for a portrait session. You’ll want to have harmony with both your surroundings and with everyone else in the photo. Since PhotoGraphics is honored to photograph hundreds of families each year on the beach, I’ll concentrate on what to wear in a seaside surrounding.
What follows are some examples of harmonious outfits we’ve seen during our family beach sessions along with some helpful advice in preparing for your session. Each “harmony hugs” color palette below contains paint chips (a la Home Depot®) to make the hunt for the right clothing a little easier.
We’ll start with khaki-and-white or what we like to call…sand-and-stone. I know, I know, you’re probably sick of seeing this matchy-matchy outfit on the beach. But let’s dig deeper as to why this ensemble is so popular. Khaki is a neutral tone that blends well with the beach. White is a solid bright tone that reflects clean light back onto the face. If you’re trying to organize a large number of family members, this choice is easy to coordinate. However, if your family is anything like my family you’ll want to represent all the different personalities with a bit more color and interest! I always joke that if everyone is dressed the same and you would be embarrassed to go out for pizza together…then you might want to mix up the outfits a bit.
Let’s have a little fun with color…
HARMONIOUS COLOR TONES AND TEXTURES
Start by deciding on the basic color tone combinations for your clothing. Do you want cooler color tones (blues, grays and greens) or warmer tones (oranges, browns and yellows)? Soft tones look beautiful together, so start by selecting 2-3 neutral tones that blend well and then choose an expressive hue to add a pop of color to show off your personalities. Vary that “color pop” in the clothing and accessories of your group (scarves, belts, shoes, pants, shorts, skirts, etc.) For shirts and tops, I most often suggest a solid color with varied textures rather than distracting patterns and stripes which tend to take the focus away from your faces…the most important part of the portrait. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid clothing with big logos, text and characters.
COMFY AND CASUAL
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be comfortable. You don’t want the kids fidgeting with their clothes or throwing a tantrum over an accessory they do or don’t want to wear. Adults need to be able to move freely and not be overly self-conscious considering we’ll be kneeling, squatting, sitting and jumping on the beach. With that in mind, ladies will also want to be sensible regarding short skirts and low necklines. It can be windy on the beach so stay away from unruly ruffles, floppy collars, and sheer clothing that will cling in the wind and reveal like a TSA x-ray. Continued…
As we get older we develop a sense of style that aligns with our personality. With that style comes an air of confidence. You know, it’s that feeling you get when someone tells you “you like nice today”. That’s what I’m talking about. Let your personality shine. The same goes for your kids. Layout some clothing choices that are in line with your color scheme, but let THE KIDS choose what to wear. When you compliment them on their choice, they’ll look forward to “showing off” during the portrait session. Trust me, that proud feeling will shine through in the portraits.
BY ALL MEANS…ACCESSORIZE
Accessories can make the outfit, so ladies don’t be afraid to add that color pop with some cool jewelry, a hairband, or a fun scarf. Guys can get in on the action with a colorful belt or your favorite hat to add interest. Accessories can be added or removed from an outfit in seconds so it’s a great way to add variety to your portrait session. If you like to set up a funny photo for your holiday cards let’s do it. Bring along those Santa hats, sunglasses or fake mustaches. We’re here to have fun! Continued…
- PHOTOGRAPH THE OUTFITS IN ADVANCE: Lay out the clothing choices you have in mind and take a quick snapshot with your phone. If you like what you see, this photo can be helpful when shopping for the rest of the family or to share with your siblings who will gather for the portrait session with PhotoGraphics.
- MAKE-UP: You’ve heard the old adage that less is more. The same goes for wearing makeup during outdoor portraiture…especially on a hot/humid beach. Avoid wearing any makeup that is shiny or has metallic minerals because it will catch the camera’s flash.
- HAIR: My best advice is to wear your hair the way you want it to look in the wind…because it WILL be windy. Hairspray is no match for the wind on our sea islands so bring along some bobby pins, clips and hair ties. I love blowing hair in the wind, but it is undesirable when it flies across your face.
- MOISTURIZER: Apply your moisturizer AFTER your portrait session to avoid the sand sticking to you like glue.
- EYE GLASSES: A camera’s flash will often reflect a light burst on the lenses of your glasses virtually eliminating your eyes from the portrait. You can avoid this issue by investing in anti-glare coated lenses (avoid cheap attitude glasses you found online) or by bringing along a pair of frames without lenses for your portraits. Remember, transitions lenses will look like sunglasses outside so bring along your spare glasses if you need them to see.
- SEARCH ONLINE FOR INSPIRATION: There are plenty of amazing ideas online when it comes to clothing choices for families. Browse your favorite online retailer or head out to Pinterest® for some inspiration.
We look forward to seeing all our wonderful families that return to PhotoGraphics year after year,
and we welcome all our new customers with harmonious hugs.