I’m always getting asked, “Nakeshia, what do we wear for our family session?” I’m always puzzled when answering this question, but I tell people ‘Wear what you think looks good on you. Use your own judgment, but I would avoid these colors..”
Well, now I’ve done my research (aka asking my fellow photographers) and finding a lot of great tools and advice for getting ready for your family portraits in fact portraits in general.
• wear solid colored clothing so that we see all of your faces and no one person stands out. If you wear stripes or flowers, you will stand out from the rest of your group.
• choose muted tones that are a bit subdued so that you are the subject not your clothes and you don’t stand out from the group. Bright colors project (especially reds, oranges, and yellows) makes you look larger.
• choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light) so that one doesn’t look bigger than the other. White top, dark pants will make your top look bigger. White pants, dark top will make your butt look bigger.
• choose 1-3 colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones. OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones. So that we see the people first and your portrait looks stunning. Wedding group photos look so good because they’re all wearing the same colours and the people stand out!
• choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow because your arms take up more skin area than your face and will draw attention and it may also make your arms look larger
• choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies so that your legs don’t take attention from your faces, and you will be able to sit and bend without showing too much leg.
• choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach) because white just sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s all you’ll notice in your portrait
• keep jewelry simple and minimalistic because too much draws attention from your face
• do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes – no fancy up dos with jeans, no pony tails with evening gowns, etc. This is common sense, or so you’d think, but I’ve had ladies go to the hair salon and get fancy up dos then show up in jeans and a t-shirt. It just simply doesn’t make sense cause you wouldn’t normally do that to put on jeans and go to the park for a BBQ or something. So tell them “it is because your portrait will be more timeless and represent more closely who you are, not just what you look like.”
if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session – again this seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised! Fresh haircuts rarely look their best the same or next day. Ladies need time to practice working it men need it to grow out just a little. Allow some time to live with your new look before your portrait session.