By Aimee Heckel
As if getting the whole family dressed for school and work isn’t challenging enough, then comes the fashion choices that will be forever immortalized in photography.
Getting your family pictures taken is exciting and meaningful; you’ll keep them forever and pass them down for generations. Not to mention blanket Facebook with them. The clothes you wear can be as important as photographer you choose; both truly can make or break the experience.
So, it can feel intimidating to determine what to wear and how to dress your kids (and husband, let’s be honest here).
We wanted an expert opinion on this tricky topic, so we asked one of our favorite photographers who specializes in families and children, Nicole Hart Photography of Portland, Ore.
Should your family members all match each other? How do you deal with patterns?
I always suggest choosing a color palette and then having everyone in that family wear something from the same color family, without being too matchy-matchy. You want there to be some definition between everyone. Please avoid everyone wearing jeans and black shirts.
Looking for some cute children’s accessories to make your focal point?
Layers, scarves, boots, bows/headbands for girls all photograph well. Texture is really important in black and white photos.
How do you pick colors? Are there some colors that are better than others on film?
I think one person in the family needs to wear something bright to help pop the outfits. They can be in a jewel tone or a pink sweater.
Is there anything you recommend not wearing for family portraits?
Watch bright florescent colors, which might be pleasing to the eye but in photographs they tend to look really blown out. If you are shooting in the park, avoid wearing green or yellow and think instead of colors that will pop against the background. Maybe navy or white. If you’re shooting on a college campus with brick buildings, avoid red and instead opt for jewel tones or cooler colors. Avoid anything with logos or graphic T-shirts.
What about trendy verses timeless styles?
I think trendy can work to a point. Scarves and boots photograph well, but they are also pretty trendy right now.
What about picking props, a background and accessories? How do you choose what else to bring to assure good photos?
I like props, but they need to make sense. Having one-year photos taken with balloons or a red wagon works wonderfully. Using a little antique chair for a younger sibling to sit in while the older sibling stands behind adds some interest to a photograph. Using a bright-colored or antique chair for head shots will add some variety, so that the person isn’t standing in every photo.
Make sure the props work with the style of the shoot. For example, if you really like sunflowers, instead of bringing some to the shoot, mention it to your photographer beforehand and see if you can find a sunflower field to shoot in. Embrace the “prop” as the focus of your session.
Any final tips?
My biggest tip is just to make sure everyone is comfortable, especially down to their tiny feet. Make sure children are in comfortable shoes because often times, your photographer will want to walk around the session to incorporate different looks and backgrounds.
Happy, comfortable (and warm) kiddos are much easier to deal with than grouchy, cold and uncomfortable ones. Also, try and stay true to your style and keep you location in mind.
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