Outfit planning for a family photo session is one of the most fun and intimidating parts of the whole getting your photo taken process. The best part is obviously the excuse to go shopping and add new clothes to your wardrobe, but the worst part is wondering if your wardrobe decisions really flow together and how it will all translate in front of the camera once you’re at the location. If you’re like me, you worry that the vibe you had hoped to achieve doesn’t come through in the end. Well, fear not my friends, you’re in luck, because I’ve consulted my sweet friend and fashion guru, Amy Ann, the genius and pretty face of The Real Arnolds fashion and lifestyle blog and she is going to help us map our way through the outfit planning process. She put together some fabulous outfit inspiration boards that will be a great guide for anyone who may need some extra help pulling together a winning combination.
(This is Amy’s kitchen. Amazzzzingg right? Those peek through cabinets that allow so much natural light into her home are to die for!)
Here are some basic tips and tricks to planning picture perfect outfits for your upcoming family photo session.
1.First, decide on the location and setting of your family session. Then, ask yourself, “Does what we have planned to wear make sense for this location?” (P.S. another great article about outfit planning can be found here. Rebekah is one of my FAVORITE photographers and I particularly love this post of hers she wrote on the subject) One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing outfits that look disjointed or out of place. You don’t want to make that mistake, so make sure you figure out whether or not you’re hoping for a more formal or casual setting. This will make the planning process so much easier!
2. Coordinate your outfits. This however, does not mean you should all match. This does require you to put in a little more thought because everyone isn’t going to be wearing the exact same color or patterned shirt, but in the end, you’ll be happy you didn’t make this mistake and end up on a buzzfeed thread of worst outfits. So how do you do this? Start with Mom. In my opinion, Mom should be the focal point of the group shot. Because, duh, she’s the Mom and she should look fantastic so whatever she is wearing should definitely set the tone for the rest of the group. This doesn’t necessarily mean she needs to standout more than the rest of the group in an obnoxious, in your face, sort of way, but choosing to start with her outfit will help spur the rest of the design decisions. To pull the rest of the group together in a cohesive way, pick two or three colors that compliment Mom’s outfit and put Dad and kids in outfits that have these colors. Don’t forget to have fun with this step and get creative with patterns, textures, and layers!
3. Accessorize! Family photos should be something that you put the extra effort into planning for. So don’t skimp on the accessories! For Mom, maybe add a bold statement necklace or scarf, if you want your accessory to be smaller and more subtle. If you want to incorporate a standout piece, maybe opt for something like a pretty trench coat and rain boots or try adding a fun hat! If you have little girls, headbands, bows, necklaces, bracelets, etc add a little sparkle and visual interest. Little boys look so adorable in suspenders, hats, and bowties! Whatever you do, make sure your real personalities shine through!
4. Complete your looks. Put thought into everything that will be worn from head to toe. Shoes make all the difference! Don’t let your outfit fall flat by wearing the wrong shoes for the setting and the occassion. First, consider the location again, for instance if you’re going for a rustic field look, boots are a perfect choice! In my opinion, athletic tennis shoes should be avoided if possible. Especially on Dad. I mean, c’mon Dad, this isn’t a trip to Costco! There are some atheltic shoes that are the exception however. If for instance they aren’t your standard white or black Nike, but instead have a playful color and fit the outfit and location, then by all means wear those. A good condition pair of Chucks or Vans or something similar can add to the look of the outfit instead of distract. Just make smart decisions about this, and as the judges on Project Runway would tell you, make sure you edit yourself so each look adds to the cohesion of the group.
5. Don’t Stress! Make smart decisions and then go with your instincts, but don’t over think it to the point where you stop trusting yourself and your families style. The last thing you want to do is hate your photos and then never hang them in your home. Your goal should be to have photos you adore so much that you can decorate your home with beautiful wall portraits or display a stunning album you’ll love flipping through over and over again! You should absolutely LOVE the way you and your family look in the photos because that will translate in the photograph and the overall experience. If you show up to your session dressed well and confident about the way everything came together, then that will allow me to capture you and your family in the best possible way.
Here are some of my favorite family sessions from last fall! I’m so flattered and grateful that so many of you who’ve hired me to photograph your families continue to come back each year! Ya’ll are amazing and I’m incredibly lucky to get to know you.
I hope these tips, tricks, and photos help inspire you when planning your next family session!