"WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR?"
A lot of people struggle with this question. What on earth are you supposed to wear for family photos anyway? It can get even trickier when it comes to lifestyle sessions. Since we're relaxed in our home, should we dress more casually? How casual is too casual? If we're not careful, we can get stressed about the session because we are so worried about our clothes. I'm here to help.
When dressing your family for a session, keep it simple. Wear simple clothes that won't detract from the subject of the photos - your family. You don't need to match or all wear the same color. In fact, it's best not to do those things. But you should coordinate. That just means your clothes should look nice next to each other.
Actually, it's more about what you should not wear than about what you should wear. Here are a few tips:
DON'T HAVE EVERYONE MATCH EXACTLY
The days of everyone wearing plain white shirts and jeans are behind us. If you're too matchy-matchy, you are drawing attention to the clothes instead of the people and the memories being captured.
AVOID BRIGHT COLORS AND LOUD PATTERNS
Notice, I did not say no colors or patterns. But there is a difference between bright primary colors and soft pastels. In terms of color, stick with light or dark and avoid anything that would be labeled "bright." (This rule wouldn't necessarily apply to an outdoor session, but for a lifestyle session inside the home, there is enough going on that the bright colors are a bit too much.) There is also a difference between a bright, large floral print and a soft plaid, or gray with white stripes. So in terms of color and pattern, remember to keep it simple.
STEER CLEAR OF GRAPHICS
That means no silkscreened T-shirts. This rule applies to both children and adults. No cartoons, no sports teams, no pictures or large letters. The one exception I would make to this rule would be allowing older siblings to wear a "big brother" or "big sister" shirt if a new baby has just arrived.
"So now that I know what NOT to wear, what should I wear?"
MIX NEUTRALS AND SOFT COLORS
Neutrals include black, denim, khaki, white, off-white, gray, and even navy. Colors should be either soft pastels (pink, light blue, pale green) or dark colors (burgundy, dark green, deep plum). Keep in mind that the colors you choose for each family member do not have to match, but they should look nice together. Ideally, you would choose two, or no more than three, colors for the entire family.
PATTERNS ARE OKAY, BUT CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONES
Patterns can make your wardrobe look less boring and add some texture! When choosing patterns, look for small simple patterns in soft or neutral colors.
PAY ATTENTION TO FIT AND COMFORT
Be sure everyone's clothing fits well and is comfortable. Clothing that is too large or too small can be distracting, even on children. Make sure clothing is wrinkle-free and easy to move around in. It would be a pity to dislike your photos because you think it looks like you have a muffin top or your husband's belly is showing.
BONUS TIP: GO BAREFOOT
We all know that during your in-home lifestyle session, the photographer is going to go for the infamous everyone-on-the-bed shot. This would look weird if you were all wearing shoes. If you can't stand the thought of your bare feet being in the photos, sit in a way that hides them. But please, whatever you do, don't show off your socks in the photos! Socks just aren't attractive and they will distract from the rest of the photo. Barefoot is the way to go!
Now that you know how to pick out your clothes, relax! Most likely you already have pieces in your closet that will work. At most, you may need to buy one or two pieces, but you shouldn't need to go out and buy entire outfits for each member of your family. Being happy with your clothing choices means you'll be even happier with your photos. And now that you have your wardrobe taken care of you can sit back and enjoy your session and the fun time you're sure to have with your favorite people!