Choosing what to wear for outdoor family photography can be one of the things you think about the most beforehand – you’re making an investment in having family photos taken, and you want to make sure you all look good! Here are my tips for making sure you love how your family looks in your outdoor family photos…
Dress for your environment
The best place to start is with the environment you’re in. What kind of clothes would you usually wear there? For example if you’re having an Autumn photo shoot in the park it will look much more natural if you all dress in smart/casual clothes and wellies than if you’re in your Sunday best.
Dress for the same weather and occasion
Similarly, make sure that everyone in your family is dressed for the same weather and occasion. For example if everyone is wearing short sleeved tops with shorts or skirts, but one person is wearing a coat the person in the coat will look out of place. Similarly if one person is in shorts and a t-shirt whilst everyone else has formal dresses and trousers on the person in shorts will look out of place. Making sure that you’re all dressed for the same weather and occasion will make sure you look cohesive as a group.
Choose a colour scheme
This is usually the one that makes Dads groan “you want us to colour co-ordinate!?” but choosing complementary colours can really bring photographs together, and importantly make sure that we see the people first and their clothes second. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to wear the same thing, or that everyone has to wear every colour in your colour scheme. The goal is to co-ordinate not match.
When putting together your family’s colour scheme choose a maximum of 3-4 colours that run through it. If you’re not sure where to start it might help to think of one outfit that you definitely want to include and build your colour scheme with three or four colours and tones that complement it. Or choose one patterned item – for example a little girl’s dress or mum’s top – and use the colours from that as the basis of your scheme. Here are some examples of how some of the families I’ve photographed recently have co-ordinated their colours:
One other factor to consider is that some colours work better than others in photos, and there are some that you should avoid. Black tends to make people look very washed out, so I don’t recommend it for family sessions. Neon or very bright colours generally don’t work well in photos and can make them look quite imbalanced – I suggest avoiding them completely.
Embrace layers and texture
Layering and using different textures can add a lot of dimension and interest to your photos.Think gilets, cardigans and jackets. Accessories can also work well too, if they are what you would normally wear in that location – hats, scarves, jewellery and hair bands for example.
Avoid pictures and slogans
This one might not be popular with your superhero-mad children, but clothes with pictures and slogans on will date your photos much more quickly. It’s usually best to avoid them completely.
Make sure it’s a good fit
This is particularly important for children, as they grow so quickly. Clothes that fit now, rather than having room to grow, will help to make your photographs sharp.
If you’re wearing shorts, a dress or a skirt bear in mind that you’ll probably need to sit or kneel down at some point in the shoot – check that you’re comfortable with how your skirt sits when you do this.
It’s much better to wear something that you feel completely comfortable in than something new that you’re not quite sure about. If you’re relaxed and happy it usually shows in the photos, and feeling comfortable about how you look will play a big role in this.
If you’re still feeling a little unsure of what to wear, don’t worry. When you book a family session with me I’ll be on hand to answer any questions you have and make suggestions if you would like me to. If you need a little more inspiration in the meantime you can also head on over to my ‘What to Wear’ inspiration board on Pinterest for more ideas.