Let’s talk about dressing for a successful family portrait season!

The portrait season is upon us, and I couldn’t be happier! I know it can be unnerving enough as it is to get in front of the camera. Add in the stress of figuring out what to dress every one in and it can become downright overwhelming. And, let’s face it. It’s typically mom who is going to be the one with the job of making sure everyone looks great in what they wear. Well, let me help give you some simple tips for dressing everyone for their family photos.

1. Choose your color palette. I find that choosing two or three colors to build everyone outfits around works really well, thus giving a cohesive look to family portraits. Start by choosing one great outfit and build your others around that. Below is a great example of doing just that. I haven’t asked mom, but I would bet money that big sis’s outfit was found first. It’s a beautiful plaid with mauve, grey, cream and some navy. All of the other outfits were likely chosen around that. I like that baby and Dad have a nice balance of grey and Mom’s got the cream and mauve tones.

2. Don’t be rigid about choosing your color palette. I would caution you not to be hard set on your color palette until you go and see what colors are available to you for the season. It can become frustrating to have something certain in your mind and then to go out and it’s not out there. Each season has certain popular colors being sold. Be open to seeing what’s out there available to you.

3. Matchy-Matchy is not always the best choice, lol. Okay, in certain instances this can work. One of these instances can be seen here with my Mommy and me studio sessions this year. I’m encouraging moms and kids to wear white or off white or all light tan or petal pinks. The studio is light and airy and it looks current and incredible together. Now, for outdoor family portraits, if everyone wears black turtlenecks and jeans you could all look like a 90s throwback. See the difference there?


4. Moms, make sure it’s not too loose. I know that those loose tent style dresses are all the rage right now. It does seem like it would hide a multitude of sins. The unfortunate reality is that very loose tops and dresses tend to add weight to a person in camera. Shop for dresses or tops that fit amazingly well, but not overly tight. Conversely, you do not want to be popping out of it! Well fitted clothing is so much more flattering to any figure. This goes for you too, teen daughters.

5. Consider patterns and solids carefully.  Another thing that can add weight are giant flower prints. Patterns can work, but make sure they aren’t overwhelming or too busy. When choosing colors stay away from Neons and green. Neons can reflect onto your face as they are so bright. Green can overwhelm if you are doing an outdoor session with green leaves on trees, green grass. It can make everyone look a little, well, green.

6. Dress for the season. This seems obvious, however, I’ve found that it isn’t always so. If the leaves have turned red and orange and gold fall colors, think about dressing correctly for the fall season. A spaghetti strapped spring/summer dress might look strange in this setting.

7. Make sure you feel like a million dollars in it and that it is comfortable. This seems like another obvious one, but when we get frustrated shopping, we tend to settle. Consider, though, that your portraits don’t happen every day. You are likely going to hang a picture on your wall and walk past it daily for the next several years. You don’t want to wish you were wearing something else every time you look at it.

8. The small details can make or break the look. Whatever you are wearing, make sure you iron it. Guys, wear dark socks if your are wearing dark shoes. Ladies, don’t have bra straps showing if you don’t want them in your forever pictures. Add beautiful accessories, jewelry or a scarf to finish off an outfit. With summer dresses, I love wedge sandals to lengthen the legs. Just make sure polish it off!

9. Lastly, make it special. Having your family portraits taken is special. Dress it up a bit or dress it up a lot. This depends on your personal style and taste. Think about what you want your forever memories to be. I hope this little dress for success installment has helped you think about how to shop for your next family portrait session!