After much planning and pleading, you finally get your family to have some updated photos taken, hooray!
Now comes the next dilemma, what is everyone going to wear?! No worries, I have you covered with some tips to choose the best possible wardrobes for everyone!
This first tip is one I can't stress enough, choose the colors in your wardrobe carefully. First and foremost, no neons, none, zippo, zilch, skip em! Those bright, fluorescent, neon colors are going to reflect big time onto your skin and dramatically impact your skin tones, so don't wear them to your photos. For my particular bright style, I recommend soft, muted colors. Think light gray, dusty blue, mauve. These light, soft colors will help keep the overall look and feel of your images brighter and lighter, as opposed to wearing dark colors like black and navy. It's totally fine to mix in a few pieces that are darker for some contrast, but just be aware that if everyone is in darker colors, it will make the whole overall image look darker, with more moodiness and contrast. You can see in the comparison of the photos of my husband and I, with us both in darker colors the overall image looks much darker and has more of a high contrast look, while when I opt for a lighter dress, it helps soften the overall image. You can break this rule though if you have a brighter background, like in the image below of my dear friends Alex and Amanda. The full, white, snowy background helps keep their images looking bright even with darker wardrobes, whereas if they had a full background of dark trees, the overall image would look very dark and moody. So think about the look and feel you want when you choose the colors of your outfits.
Don't be afraid to Dress it up!
You know when you look at people in weddings and how they always look so great, it's because they are dressed to impress. In order to have your photos look the best they possibly can, you will want to dress the best you can. Do I wear a long dress everyday, heck no! Does my husband wear a suit everyday, nope! But when we set aside time to get some updated photos taken of ourselves, we want to look our very best. I also happen to be a huge fan of how my husband looks in a suit, but that's beside the point ;-) Choosing a lovely dress that complements his suit is always a winning combination for us, because the images end up looking so much more timeless and classy than if we were in t-shirts and ripped jeans. When setting aside the time and making the investment in having portraits done, choose the outfits that are wall hanging material.
Be Careful with Patterns
For some, having everyone in solid colors can get pretty dull and boring, which I totally get! So you may want to mix in an outfit with a pattern, like a patterned dress. There are a few things to keep in mind with patterns though. First, avoid having too many patterns. One patterned outfit can really compliment and pull all the other outfits together. A great example of this is when the pattern has different colors, and there are pieces in each of the other individuals outfits that match different colors in the patterned outfit. However if you have multiple patterns going on, then the images become very busy and distract from what's important, your happy faces. So for the most part, I recommend sticking to only one outfit with a pattern. The second thing I recommend avoiding is having everyone in matching patterns. Again, this look can get very busy and distracting, plus it makes it difficult to differentiate each individual person as they all blend together.
Choose Wardrobes that are Both Flattering and Comfortable
It can be really frustrating trying to go shopping for an outfit for photos, especially for us women! We can truly be our own worst critics and have a really hard time settling on the perfect wardrobe for photos. When settling on a wardrobe, make sure that it is both flattering and comfortable to you personally. Maybe you prefer wearing form fitting clothing, or maybe your style is more loose and flowy, whichever your preference try to stay true to that. If you buy something that someone else thinks compliments you, but you personally don't love, you won't love the way you look in your photos either. If the latest fashion trends aren't your preference, then ditch them and stick to something you like to wearing. Don't choose an outfit that you have to remember to stand a certain way to like the way it looks because that won't work one bit. Not only are you not going to be able to hold one pose the entire time, I will be moving you and re-positioning you throughout the session, so it simply won't happen. Also, be sure to be mindful of exposure areas, and make sure that you are comfortable with how they look and they don't feel too exposed to you because again, you will feel exposed in the photos later! The great thing about choosing your wardrobe is you can select a style that shows off the things you like, while concealing the things you don't, so use your wardrobe to your advantage!
Put on some Fancy Footwear
My personal day to day footwear preferences are barefoot, muck boots, flip flops, and sneakers, pretty much in that order. Those shoes are definitely not my go to's for photos though! Again, sticking with the concept of looking your best for your photos, you will want to pick something more on the pretty side. For ladies, I recommend some nice nude pumps. Nude colored shoes will always match your outfit, so you can wear them for multiple seasons. You don't need anything with a super high heel or your feet will be killing you by the time you're done with your photos, but a nice small heel will help your calves to look nicely toned if you are wearing an outfit that your legs are exposed. If you are wearing a long dress you can totally go for some cute and comfy flats or sandals! For the guys, a nice pair of dress shoes is always a great option. I am especially partial to the way the brown oxford style shoes look on guys, they just look a little bit extra fancy. And you don't have to break the bank for your fancy shoes, I have seen some really great, inexpensive options at Target! Every little detail in your wardrobe helps add up to give the overall look, so yes, even your shoes matter!
I know some of these recommendations may seem a bit silly or maybe even too fancy for your taste, but remember, professional photos are an investment. These are the photos that your children and grandchildren will have to look back on for years to come. Maybe purchasing a whole new wardrobe isn't quite in your budget, which is totally fine! I have a client closet specifically for ladies to rent for their portrait sessions at a low cost because I know how expensive women's dresses can be! And there is nothing wrong with closet sharing with friends and family, or purchasing second hand either. My goal is always to help my client's look and feel their best in their photos, so hopefully these tips will help you out in your next photo session!