Coordinate your wardrobe in advance
We've all seen the matchy-matchy family photos with everyone wearing the same outfit. Not only does this not look natural because who has really ever gone to grocery store all wearing the same outfit, it is also visually boring because there is no diversity or personality among the group. This doesn't mean you can't coordinate but don't all wear the same. Decide what look/style/theme you want, and build your outfits from there. This allows each member to convey their own personality with the chosen theme while you still all look like you belong together.
Don't be afraid to consult with your photographer
As photographers, we’ve seen it all. If you aren’t sure about an outfit, bring a few variables and options, and ask your photographer his/her opinion. We want you to be happy with your pictures, and we can tell you what we think will look best. It is okay to call your photographer before your shoot and ask for advice!
Not all colors are the same color
If you are working with large groups of people, just keep in mind that not every red is the same color, and not every blue is the same. It is okay to do different shades of the same color, as long as it is on purpose. You just don’t want Aunt Marge to show up with a “Navy blue” that clashes with Grandma’s “Navy blue”. For larger group photos where everyone is finding their own outfits, pass out paint chips in your desired colors so everyone knows what shade to look for. But keep in mind the first tip, coordinate in style, but don't feel as if you all have to be wearing the same clothes.
Choose 1-2 neutral colors and 1-2 other colors
For your outfits, you can mix and match colors a bit. I’ve found that it works best to choose a few neutrals (white, black, gray, cream, and sometimes brown or dark blue), and then pick one or two colors that go well together. Generally, the colors that look best together are next to each other on the color wheel. One of my favorite tools to see which colors go well together is Color by Adobe. If you need outfit combination ideas, type “photography- what to wear” in Pinterest or Google and you will get endless ideas. You can also contact me and I can give you some ideas.
If you are doing a shoot with more than one wardrobe, work it out with your photographer ahead of time. If your photographer doesn’t know that you would like to do more than one outfit, he or she might take most of your pictures with one outfit, and you might not get as many as you hoped with the other outfit. Also, some photographers will only allow one outfit unless coordinated in advance. Some outfits might work better in certain locations or under specific lighting conditions, so show your photographer all of your outfits at the beginning of your shoot.
Wear your favorite outfit first
If you are doing multiple outfits, wear your favorite outfit first. This will ensure that you get some great pictures with that perfect outfit!
Keep clothing visually simple
Some patterns are okay, and I’ve seen multiple patterns in a shoot work out beautifully, but be conscientious about any patterns you use, and don’t wear shirts with words or logos on them. There are ways to break every rule, just make sure that if you break this rule, you do it on purpose.
Apply makeup like you would for any other day. Don’t go overboard. You don’t want to look like a stranger in your own pictures. Also, bring some powder to put on your face. This will help you avoid a glossy look in your photos.
Pay attention to the details
Moisturize your hands, clean off your shoes. You never know if your hands or feet are going to be in a close up shot. Also, take cell phones, keys, etc. out of your pockets.
Props can often make a picture great. Plan out your props ahead of time, and coordinate with your photographer. You want to keep a few things in mind if you are thinking about using props:
- Keep your location in mind. If you are going to do a lot of walking, you might not want to lug large props around.
- Some props are trendy and could date your photos. You just need to decide if this is the look you are going for. If you update your photos frequently, then it probably doesn’t matter as much if you have props that will date your photos, and trends can be fun. If you don’t take family photos very often, and your photos might be hanging on your wall for 20 years, you might not want to use the really trendy prop of the year.
- Don’t feel pressured to use props. You can have a great photo shoot with lots of beautiful pictures without a single prop. Your photographer might ask if you have any specific props you’d like to use. Don’t feel like you have to come up with something just because they asked.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through!
This is your chance to express yourself, be creative, and enjoy your moment. Find ways to make your images interesting and really capture who you are as a person, family, etc.