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What to wear to a family photo session

Posted by on Sep 7, 2008 |

What to wear to a family photo session

Wear similar tones of clothing
Think in black and white tones; if everyone wears dark blue and one person wears white, the eye will be drawn to the person wearing white. If there’s a reason that one person should stand out, then do it. If not, change your color selections.

Learn more about ideal colors for family photos and group portraits.

Denim and khaki pants are classics

Denim in any color for pants and jackets works well. It’s classic, it’s informal and it comes in lots of great colors. Best of all, it never goes out of style.

Groom your hands and nails; they usually end up in some pictures.
Avoid patterns, logos, branding, and busy designs
Stripes, plaids, checks and busy patterns like paisley all tend to be distracting.

Avoid anything shiny or reflective

Avoid large, shiny objects like belt buckles, bold jewelry and reflective watches.

Unless your watch has a story, it’s best to take it off during your portrait session. In fact, it’s best to take it off well before you arrive so the marks on your wrist have a chance to fade.

Classic, elegant jewelry like pearls always looks appropriate.

Beware the color red

Red attracts attention! If you want to stand out on purpose, wear red. If you choose red for everybody, it’s best if the reds match…
Family portrait with everyone in red

Note how these blue tones work really well together:
Family portrait with everyone in blues

Caveat – if your personality demands that you break these rules, then by all means, wear plaid with stripes in multi colors.

White makes for a summery, informal family portrait.

White always works for family portraits, no matter what time of the year it is.

Note the khaki bottoms for everybody in this summery location shot:
Best clothing for a family portrait session

Note the denim bottoms for everybody in this studio shot:
best wardrobe for family pictures

Note how the little girl stands out in these photos. Since she is their pride and joy, maybe it’s not a bad thing?
Professional family photos

Even in color, the tones work well together.
What to wear to a professional family photo session

Portrait Tips for Women

Wear long sleeves, or at least three-quarter length sleeves.
Avoid t-shirt-length sleeves.
Sleeveless works well if you have attractive upper arms and shoulders.

V-necks, square-necks and turtlenecks work well.
Avoid cowlnecks and other floppy necklines.
Avoid buttondowns and crewnecks unless you have a very long neck.

Classic jewelry, like pearl earrings and neclaces, always make a great choice.
Avoid chunky, reflective jewelry unless it’s a true part of your identity.

Layers look great
Blouses with collars that open and lie flat look great over a jacket.
A single-breasted jacket over a tight-fit, square-neck top looks fabulous.
Fitted tops always look better than loose-fitting clothing.

No matter what you choose, make sure you can cross your arms comfortably without the shoulders riding up.

This v-neck is flattering for any neck shape.
Headshot of woman wearing v-neck shirt

The zippered jacket is both casual and informal and sets a very different tone from a single-breasted suit jacket.
Informal headshot of woman wearing zippered jacket and shirt

Note the beautiful, light accent of the blouse that barely peeks out. The dark color choice is professional, neat and forces you to look at her face.
Corporate headshot of woman wearing a suit

This is a great neckline and color for an informal portrait. This works for headshots or a small business headshot.
Corporate headshot of woman wearing a suit

Portrait Tips for Men

Go dark for formal portraits
The more formal the portrait, the darker your colors must be. You can get away with light colors for an informal portrait or location shots in the summer on the beach.

Turtlenecks look great, especially under jackets.
Do not wear a jacket that is much lighter than what you’re wearing underneath it.
Crewnecks sweaters or layers work fine on men. Don’t be afraid to wear white t-shirts under buttondown shirts.

This is a great choice for the creative executive. Note how you look at the watch!
Corporate portrait of a creative executive

This flecked sweater doesn’t work. Choose a solid color.
Headshot of a man wearing a flecked sweater

If you need color shots, choose a white undershirt instead of a colored one.
Headshot of a man wearing a blue t-shirt under a sweater

Dress kids in similar tones.

Even though kids may be attached to their superhero t-shirts, let them wear them to the portrait session, not during it!

Avoid logos and branding

Kids can get away with brighter colors and patterns, but avoid any logos or branding.

Even though kids love their cartoon t-shirts, they look dated quickly and are too informal even for casual portraits.
Portrait of two girls wearing shirts with logos

Bright, summery colors are fine as are light-hearted props like these fairy wings.
Portrait of young girl on Nantucket wearing fairy wings

Classic, timeless kids clothing. Good as a GAP Kids ad!
Portrait of two boys wearing classic clothing

Watch the props, logos, jewelry and decoration. If you can part with bracelets that are tied on, it’s always best.
Portrait of young girl lying on tree stump

About the Photographer

I create intimate, uncluttered portraiture and fine art photography in New York City and Nantucket.

If you’ve always wanted to have a great picture of yourself or your family to mark a milestone, then call me.

If you’ve always thought you were impossible to photograph in a flattering way, then call me.

If you’ve always wanted to feel beautiful but were a little embarrassed to admit it, then call me.

I’ll take a great picture of you that you will love to death or we’ll schedule another session. I’ll use exceptional communication skills to put you at ease and very expensive equipment to give you the best possible results. Is it any wonder that previous clients make up more than 60% of my business?

Clients choose me for imaginative posing and strong composition; they also rave about the lyrical, emotional quality of my lighting.

Everybody is amazed by my confounding ability to make incredibly shy women completely disrobe.

Don’t wait another day. Call now for a wonderfully regenerating photography experience and expect to love the results. You’ll be safe in the hands of someone who is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after pregnancy and nude photographers on the East coast.

Here’s the link to my family photography.