Wardrobe ideas for family photos is a common question I get once clients have booked a family session with me. The first question is figuring out how to color coordinate clothes for family portrait photos. As someone who has done her fair share of shopping for clothes online, it’s a task that can take a bit of time to accomplish (um, returns, anyone?).
Unlike an engagement shoot, where you’re just trying to figure out clothing for two, family portraits will usually have you coordinating outfits for at least three people!
We’ve likely seen that matching family holiday pajamas were all the rage, but for family portraits, you generally want to go with colors that are complementary rather than exact matches.
But how do you ensure that your choices will photograph well? Here is how I guide my clients in figuring how to color coordinate clothes for their family portrait:
1. Start With Your “Star Piece”
Begin by choosing the article of clothing that most excites you. Whether it is a top you’ve been eyeing or a new sundress that caught your eye. I want to encourage you to use this opportunity to put yourself first and go for that piece that you’ve always wanted to add to your wardrobe!
2. Make Sure the Colors Coordinate
Now for a little Color Theory 101! For photos, we want our colors to be harmonious rather than discordant.
We can create color harmony in several ways:
- Go monochromatic, which means using different shades of a single color (i.e. rose pink, blush pink, light pink, dark pink, etc.)
- Use analogous colors, which, if you look at a color wheel, are the two colors immediately adjacent to a specific color (i.e. purple, lavender, & pink.
- If you want to be daring and include more contrast in your family portrait, try complementary colors, which means colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel. Blue and orange, or purple and yellow, look vastly different from each other and seem like an unexpected pairing, but there are scientific reasons why they work well together (having to do with photoreceptor cells and light wavelengths, but we won’t get into that here). Choosing outfits with complementary colors ensures that your final images will pop in a way that is pleasing to the eye.
4. Take Some Test Shots
Once you have all your outfits on hand, either lay them out or have your family dress up and take a few test images using your phone. Many times, seeing a scene on camera reveals certain things that might not be clear in real life. You can trust that your photographer will have ideas for different poses and accessories to balance colors out during your session, but it will be helpful to see beforehand if there are any issues with how your chosen colors coordinate.
I hope this post helped to reassure you that figuring how to color coordinate clothes for family portraits doesn’t have to be complicated.