"Do you have any suggestions on what we should wear for our shoot?" - I get asked this question quite a bit so I figured it might make a great blog entry. Please know that the following tips (as are most of my entries) are just my opinions on what looks good from experience and from doing research... but here they are:
Choose a complementary color palette.
This can be tricky. I usually suggest choosing 3-4 complementary colors in solid fabrics when deciding on a scheme. But, there's going to be wiggle room with every 'rule', and this one is no exception. Sometimes, especially for larger groups (extended family shoots), just a simple theme like earth tones, is all you need to create a beautifully cohesive look. Other times, a pop of color is really fun when added to a more subdued or neutral color scheme. Below are some images I 'stole' from Pinterest to help illustrate my thoughts. (Which should be one of my points all on it's own -
Pinterest it! That damned time-sucking stupidly brilliant website has yet to fail me when I'm looking for inspiration on just about anything! :)
Below is the 2014 CMG (Color Marketing Group) color forecast. The mission of CMG is to create this color forecast for professionals who design and market with color by following trends and influences and then translating them into fluent colors. So, for the fashion-forward thinkers, these are the colors that are expected to be most popular in 2014.
what to Avoid...
Avoid busy-ness by...choosing solid fabrics for your main pieces. But don't take this too literally - Please please please add patterns, textures, and pops of color with children's clothing, and accessories for the adults, but avoid logos and lettering. You can also leave the busy-ness behind by not mixing light and dark tops. Having the whole group in either lighter OR darker tones simplifies the look and draws more attention to faces. This goes for footwear too! Make sure your socks and shoes match and know that Uncle Fred is going to stand out like a sore thumb with his white tennis shoes in the crowd of darker toned dress shoes, just sayin.
Avoid stark whites...for a couple of reasons. For the photographer - the whitest whites will blow out meaning the clothing will be over-exposed and lose a lot of it's detail. For you - we all know dark colors are more flattering. Now, I'm NOT saying everyone should show up in black, (which can also lose detail quickly) but darker clothing does tend to slenderize. Long sleeves and dark leggings or tights also help this illusion as well as simplify the image. Which leads us to the next point...
Avoid looking bigger than you are by...choosing the right pieces. For the ladies, choose tops (in a darker tone perhaps ;) that have a sleeve to at least the elbow and skirts/pants that fall below the knee. Reasoning for this is when the eye sees more skin on the arm or leg compared to the face, it'll focus on this area first and can also make it appear larger. And, if you're wearing a mini-skirt there are only so many poses I can put you in, well, ones that are family-friendly at least. :) Also, choose an outfit that's working FOR you. Don't want to look frumpy? Don't wear a frumpy shirt. Don't show up in completely tailored suit, just be mindful of the shape your outfit's giving you. Guys - let your lady pick out your outfit. :) Kidding aside, these tips are generally gender neutral.
Avoid being matchy matchy. Just don't do it. It's 2014, coordinate your colors and patterns, don't match them. And besides, we want these photos to look like a snapshot of your every day life, so unless your family always perfectly matches... Follow all the other 'rules' and you should be fine. :)
To wrap it up...
I have a small love affair with fashion so I could go on forever. I won't. But I will leave you with this thought as I wrap this entry up... Make sure to be yourselves! Take all this advice with a grain of salt. Who am I to tell you what looks good? These portraits are meant to represent you and yours, and where you guys are in your journey right now. If you only wear stark white tank tops with paisley pants, then that's what you should wear, and know that I can not wait to photograph YOU in them. If you're not comfortable with what you're wearing, it's going to show and I can't Photoshop that out. Confidence is key.
Well, I hope this has answered any questions you might have about what to wear for your next portrait shoot! Please enjoy a few more examples I 'stole' from Pinterest to help illustrate my points before you leave.