Picking out your own outfit can be hard enough, but getting the whole family dressed can be a stress headache in the making. One of the most popular questions I get before a family session is “what should we wear to our session?!” Over the years I’ve seen how a little bit of pre-planning can make for a well-chosen wardrobe.
First, let’s start out with the Don’ts
They can be distracting and take the focus away from your family.
Not too matchy-matchy.
Instead of dressing identically (like a family uniform) coordinate your colors so they work together. (I’ll talk more about this in the Do’s)
Skip the all white shirts and blue jeans look.
Yes, this is essentially the same as the previous point but I feel it deserves its own acknowledgment. The white shirt and blue jeans combo on the beach had its heyday in the 90’s (thank you Gap!). Your photos will look instantly dated if we try to revive it.
You know that shirt you have that looks so cute on but only when it falls just perfectly, that is, until you breathe and then you have to re-adjust it? I’m sure it’s adorable but you’ll be stressing about your shirt the whole time and trust me, you don’t want that.
Nothing too formal.
Most sessions I have with families are fun, relaxed, and laid back. We’re often shooting at a local park or in their backyard where it just wouldn’t make sense to have high heels or a tailored blazer. If you do prefer a more formal look, make sure your location and session’s vibe complements your attire.
And now the Do’s
Rock the neutrals.
Start off by piecing together everyone’s wardrobe by mixing in all the neutrals – white, black, gray, navy, khaki, tan, brown, blue jeans
Coordinate and complement each other.
Once you’ve maxed out your neutrals you will only need to add a color or two to complete everyone’s look. Better yet, pick one color and work within that color family.
Blue is your friend.
Blue is one of the rare colors that pretty much everyone looks good in and all shades of it work well together.
Make sure you can easily move, sit, snuggle and play in whatever you choose. This one especially goes out to those families with little ones. You want your kids to be comfortable, if they’re dressed fussy they’ll be fussy!
Scarves, bold jewelry, hats, and belts can all add a pop of interest to any outfit. A word to the wise, if accessories just don’t feel like you or if the thought of figuring this out seems overwhelming, don’t force it. It’s totally not a requirement.
Keep the patterns limited.
I love the look of a fun patterned outfit but limit this to 1-2 people.
Keep it classy.
The photos we create together will likely be hanging on your walls for many years to come. Fashion trends change fast and it’s sometimes hard to recognize them when we’re in it. Consider a timeless piece that won’t look dated or trendy in 10 years.
Working with large family groups
- If we’re planning for a session with a large number of different families, it can be near impossible for everyone to coordinate. In this case, my suggestion is to pass along the guideline of sticking with the neutrals + blue. It’s a foolproof plan!
And remember, these aren’t rules on what to wear to your family session. They’re more helpful guidelines to make the process of getting everyone dressed that much easier!