Family photo time. It fills the mother with dread. I mean, of course she wants the beautiful image hanging above her mantle with pride. But, what sends fear into her heart is that shopping trip to get everyone ready for the photos.
But what you wear matters. It give your image shape and texture. It give the image visual interest. So let me walk you through some tips and tricks for choosing an ensemble so the prep will be simpler.
First of all DO NOT go into the store with a palette in mind exactly. Nothing will send your blood pressure and wardrobe budget into the stratosphere faster than having a pre-conceived idea. Tracking down all of the colors and styles you want will literally make you feel a little crazy. So, rather than hitting every store, mall, and online store you know of, go in to a favorite store with an open mind.
My advice is to go to a store where you know you will find an item you love. Pick out that signature item you just adore and MUST have in your image. It could be your shirt, your daughter’s dress, or a super accessory. Now take that patten that you love and look at the colors in it. That is your color palette. There tends to be certain colors that are prominent each year, so if you are finding items in that color, chances are you should have some luck in finding matching colors.
Once I get my first patten, I will walk around the rest of the store and begin matching to that item. Usually 3 colors look great. In the images below the main colors are gray, blue and yellow with a little white. There are different shades of the same colors, but those are the main colors.
When looking at clothes, avoid words, images, and distracting elements. Simple patterns or solid colors will let your family be the star of the show.
Layers of clothing give you that effortless, casual, magazine-model look. A tee shirt, khakis, and a cotton button up on the boys, a scarf on mom, a sweater on sister, a nice cardigan with a collared shirt underneath for dad. It gives texture and interest to the image. Accessories can also add a subtle pop. Necklaces, belts, earrings, hair accessories, scarves, etc. can give your image distinction. Hats should be used sparingly, because they can obscure the face with shadows and color casts.
Sometimes people choose larger clothing, hoping to hide trouble spots but more shaped clothing is always very flattering.
If you are not sure if everything looks good, throw all of your clothing on the bed. Does something stand out? Look out of place? If it does on the bed, it probably will in the images.
Don’t be afraid of color. Lots of times people want to choose neutral colors, but little pops of bold color is very flattering. Jewel tones are lovely for skin tones. Don’t be afraid. BUT do consider the room you intend to hang your images in. If your room is all cool blues and tans and sand colors, and you decide to have stark bold colors, the image might look beautiful but out of place. So consider your decor a little. Also consider your venue. If you are having your images made in a very deep, green area, don’t make green a main color in your palette. Choose a contrasting color, like red, purple, orange, etc. If you are doing a wheat field shot, all browns and tans will have you blending right in. Maybe some turquoise and gray and white will be the ticket to popping out.
Obviously there are so many things that make an outfit great. You could break ALL of these guidelines and still come up with a winner, but these are just simple helps to make the process a little less daunting.
Below, the P family knocked it out of the park with their outfit choices. They coordinated right down to the fingernails, but never felt the dreaded “matchy-matchy!”