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7 Tips for Family Portraits

Spring is in the air! With all the blooming flowers and leaves growing back on the trees, it’s the perfect time to take an outdoor family portrait. Whether you’re taking a portrait to hang in the family room or you’re just really on the ball for your 2018 Christmas card, here are some tips to help you find the perfect outfits for your family photo.

Color Coordination

When choosing your outfits for a family picture, keep each person’s clothing in mind. Too much of one color or too many different colors in one portrait can take away from your family as the focus of the photograph! Instead, choose a few colors that compliment one another and base your outfit choices around those colors.

Shades in Spades

A less risky option for color coordination is to opt for clothes that are all different shades of the same base color. For example: if you want to have everyone in your family wear something purple, consider a light lilac for one of the kids, an eggplant-colored tie for your husband, and a purple in between the two for yourself. This is a great way to keep everyone looking put together without looking identical.

Watch Out for Patterns

You’ll see some bloggers say to avoid all patterned clothing for portrait sessions, but I disagree. A good print here and there can add some personality and texture to a picture, especially if you’re taking a picture in a studio with a solid backdrop. What you do want to be careful with is how many patterns you have in one photograph. Feel free to wear your favorite patterned blouse, but it’s bound to be distracting if every member of a six-person family is wearing horizontal stripes. When choosing patterns for your portrait, keep the size of the print in mind! Something like a large chevron will look cleaner in a picture than a tiny houndstooth.

Accessories are Your Friends

If you’re feeling a little like all this color coordination is taking away from everyone’s individuality, don’t be afraid to accessorize! A good hair bow, scarf, or headband is a great way to show some personality in front of the camera, all while giving everyone another chance to add a fun pop of color to the picture.

Background Check

Consider the background for your pictures and if your outfits will blend in or contrast. If you’re planning to stand in front of a yellow wall, don’t wear a dress in that same shade of yellow. If you’re taking a picture in the snow, don’t go with an all-white outfit. Choose something that will let your loved ones stand out from the backdrop!

Making Room

If you’re taking a picture specifically to hang in a certain room, keep the room’s decor in mind when deciding on your outfits. Lay your clothes out on the floor of the room to make sure they go together and that they go with your couch. To really tie everything together, try incorporating a pop of color into your outfits that you can find on one of the pillows or in the tablecloth.

Plan Ahead!

Once you book your session with your favorite photographer, start planning right away! Decide on your outfits as quickly as you can and keep the clothes out of reach of the kiddos until the day of. If the photoshoot date sneaks up on you, clean and prepared outfits will be the easiest part of a busy day!

Bonus tip:

Don’t forget the dog! If you want your pet in the picture, take a look at the color of their collar, scarf, or leash. You’ve worked so hard to get all of your outfits together and it would be a shame to realize you forgot the family pup.

We feel a lot of pressure to flawlessly document our lives in pictures these days, but the most important thing to remember when planning your portrait is to be yourselves! The pictures don’t have to be perfect, so just have fun with your family and enjoy the experience. A well-polished family portrait is nice, but my favorite family portraits are always the ones where the love and personality of a family shine through.

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