Today’s blog post is a bit of a reminder. As a portrait photographer, I am a fashion guru and most people turn to me for advice on what to wear. Please stop laughing. That was just a joke. Recovered? Glad I could lighten up your day. 😉
While I may not be a fashion guru, I definitely have a knack for visuals, especially when it comes to making images. When I’m chatting with clients on their portraits sessions, we always talk about what they’re thinking of wearing. The reality of the issue is a well planned outfit or coordinated outfits really can take an image from good to great. It’s worth talking about.
Being that we’re moving into the holiday family portrait season, which in south Florida also happens to be wedding season and senior portrait season and everything else season…this is the oddest place ever, I will add… I thought it would be a good time to blog a few tips I threw together years ago that give a bit of a guideline on the subject of ‘fashion in photos’. Ooooo that’s almost good enough to be a hashtag…. #fashioninphotos… no??
Anyway, do you remember the time when family portraits were done with EVERYONE in a white shirt?? Oh dear, I remember those days. Somehow we got in our heads that we all must wear the exact same color to “match” for a good family portrait. Who made this plan?? Yikes. What should you wear? My answer is pretty easy, outfits that reflect who you are. Things that show your personality. Things you feel good wearing.
If we are talking about something like a wedding engagement session or a senior portrait session where we have time for multiple outfits, I would add; something formal, something casual and something you think is the best piece of clothing known to man-kind. 😉 You know, the basics.
Things get just a little more complicated when you are doing family portraits or extended family portraits. Number one, no one agrees. Number two, even if you can get agreement, no one complies. 😉 I’ve found in general, I’d rather live a life based on principles rather than rules. Principles apply when rules fall short. Plus as soon as you tell me the ’10 rules of how to dress for family portraits’ I want to break them. So below you’ll find some helpful principles for dressing your family, or extended family, for getting really amazing images.
- Don’t speak.
No matter how ‘cute/funny/you’ the words on that shirt are that you want to wear, JUST SAY NO. This is usually more of a guy issue. Yes I’m stereotyping. But, ESPECIALLY in the extended family photo, there is always one young man who would like to make a statement. With words on a shirt. There is just nothing more distracting. This is major. Seriously. Resist.
- Don’t be afraid of color.
All white is not ok. There, I’ve said it. Color is not to be feared. If you pick the right colors it can bring your eyes and skin out in a way that your ‘all white nonsense’ will suck away. We have this thought that if we tone down the clothes the people and faces will stand out, but it can actually be the opposite. We want natural looking clothes, things that you would actually look really nice in because, um, you look really nice. And that shows through in your images.
- Be who you are.
Creating a beautiful image is my job. But, seeing who someone is, that is what makes it a delight. Lifestyle and editorial photography is all about trying to capture a piece of you. If you don’t wear makeup and want to add a little, have fun. But don’t go crazy! Just be you. If you’re going over the top with something that’s not really you, you’ll be uncomfortable and that will show through. Family portraits, especially, are about pulling out the best of that joy of laughing and living together. Having family portraits done should be a delight, an experience that is bonding and fun. Those moments come more naturally if you feel comfortable.
- Matching Rules.
There are some. Matching is ok at times. You’ll see some examples in these images here that are matching. I approve. But if you’re going to match, make sure it still allows for personality of the individual to be seen. That’s important. It’s better to pull out one color throughout the clothing than to say, “this is the color”. We are all individuals and ignoring that by perfectly matching isn’t the best way to showcase your family.
- Think color schemes, not matchy, matchy, green squared.
When you’re thinking color, think schemes; not matching. You don’t want to say, “everyone wear green”. If you do, everyone shows up in an ugly green t-shirt because that’s all they had. This is where Pintrest is your best friend. What I do is find a color scheme that I love and then try and bring those colors out in what the people will be wearing. So say you love this blend of colors. Maybe look to pull that green out a few times like in someone’s shirt, another’s skirt and someone else’s necklace. Then pull the pinkish color in a few times in the same kind of way. What happens then is you get this beautiful blend of colors that you love and the ‘matching’ happens in these brilliant pops of colors, stitching the family together. Yet, everyone is unique and no one has a t-shirt on. Don’t limit yourself either…you can find inspiration and color anywhere.
Hopefully these tips and thoughts have been helpful and whatever you decide to wear, it represents who you are. Here are some fun families and people who in my humble fashion guru opinion did it right. 😉