A stylist’s opinion: What to wear for your family photos, part 2
By Aimee Heckel
We recently talked to Nicole Hart of Oregon-based Nicole Hart Photography about what to wear for a family photo. She offered great, expert tips from a photographer’s perspective.
We wanted to tap into a stylist’s brain, too.
As she sees it, unfortunately, there’s no one brilliant answer to help you decide what to wear for your family photos, but there is a series of questions you can run through that should lead you to some conclusion.
Here are Dahlquist’s questions to ask yourself when selecting an outfit for family photos:
1. What impression do you want to make with your photos?
If you want more of a formal feel then choose colors that are darker and more serious, like navy versus pink. Going for a more casual feel? Then you may want to choose softer colors and possibly some texture, like cozy knit sweaters.
And you can be less matchy-matchy and choose colors that “go together” more, rather than match. A good example of this is choosing for one family member to wear a plaid and other members wear a color that’s found in the plaid. That’s one way of being sure the colors you choose go together.
Bonus tip: Looking for inspiration? Here is a great blue and black men’s plaid Lucky brand shirt at 6pm.com for $59.99. Or if you’re want to be the pattern-holder, in red and tan, check out this women’s plaid top for just about $20. Save money on 6pm purchases by checking out these online coupons.
2. What color scheme do you all look good in?
The goal is to have photos that compliment your family, so choose colors that do just that.
3. What will your background be?
If you’re shooting outside in nature then you may want to choose stand out colors you’d find in nature, such as deep browns or sky blue. Do try to choose a contrast color though; you do not want to match your background.
Headed to the beach? Often when you see attractive photos taken at the beach, you’ll find lighter tones compliment the setting, as well as give contrast to the ocean and sky as the background.
4. What are you most comfortable in?
You’re going to want everyone (meaning the kids) to be in clothes that are comfortable and make you feel your best. You will be able to see in a photo if your heels are too high or if your kid’s shirt is itchy.
- Avoid neon or overly bright colors. You want to see you and your family, not colors.
- Bold patterns can distract, as well as make you look larger than you are (not good).
- Avoid wearing stripes. It can hurt your eyes.
- Stark white and jet black are colors that don’t look good next to people’s faces. They can wash you out and make you look tired. Stick to color but colors and neutrals that flatter you.
How Dahlquist does it:
Here is a little about how I chose the colors and outfits for my family photos, using the questions above:
1. I wanted to have a casual and fun impression for my family. We are not formal in any way, so I chose colors that bold but soft. Texture is important to me, so I added texture with my leather belt. I wanted my husband and I to have the most interest in our outfits, while I kept our boys more simple. I just think kids are so naturally adorable that I want to only see their faces and expressions, not their clothing. But my belt and my husband’s plaid gave us a little interest, so we didn’t look boring. Because we are not boring either.
2. My husband and oldest son have deep coloring so I wanted to make sure I chose colors that were deep in nature, but my youngest and I have more soft coloring so you’ll see that our colors are deep in nature but some in hue. This way, you see us but you don’t see just color.
3. I knew we’d be outside but also around cement backgrounds and bridges so I chose colors that would stand out in contrast from such neutrals. I also knew we’d be shooting around the St. John’s bridge, which is the coolest color green, so I wanted our colors to compliment that color.
4. I wanted movement and I wanted to be able to move, so I wore jersey knit and had the boys in clothes they could run and play in. I did grab a pair of shoes that day that hurt my son’s feet. He was a champ. Not all kids will be so good.
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