What To Wear For Your Family Portrait

What should you wear for your family portrait? Why are your clothing choices so important for the success of your family pictures?  If you wonder about this, you should read this article.

family with dogs taken in the bulrushes at Kin Coulee ParkThe most important aspect of a family portrait are the faces. The viewer should to be drawn to the faces, not to the clothing. A good family portrait makes the faces the main object of attention and plays down the clothing.
The right clothing will flatter the subject. The right clothing will cover up any flaws in the subject. The right clothing will make an over weight person appear slimmer.

Avoid large patterns where possible as they can detract. Pinstripes are okay.  That Led Zeppelin t shirt might be your son’s favorite, but in a portrait that is all you will notice.

To check your clothes, lye them out on a bed. Squint your eyes while you look at them. Do your eyes focus in on any one thing. If so that item will be distracting in the final portrait. Remove it and try something else.
Dark clothes make people look slender, while light colored clothes tend to make people look larger.

Out door Portraits:
family lying in fall leaves in Kin Coulee ParkThe best clothes to wear outside are earth tones such as greens, blues, browns, beige and tans. Vivid reds, yellows and oranges would be distracting in a photo.
You should cover up your body as much as you can with long sleeved shirts, pants or long dresses. Bare arms and legs can be distracting. Ladies should avoid mini-skirts and men should not wear sleeveless shirts.





Studio Portraits:
young family in studio with white backgroundIn a studio environment almost anything goes as photographers usually have lots of different backgrounds and contrasting colors to choose from.  You still need to make sure everyone is coordinated. You do not want one person wearing a bright red dress while everyone else is black and white because she will be the center of attention.


Formal vs casual:
If the ladies are going to wear evening dresses and the men are wearing suits, we have to pick a suitable background. I wouldn’t wear these in a park because they just don’t seem to fit the scene. Studio photos or using a fancy building or staircase as a background would be more suitable for formal pictures.


Large Family Groups:
large family group taken outdoors in park like settingI know it can be challenging to co-ordinate colors in a family picture, especially for larger groups. The best way to do that is to instruct everyone to wear blue jeans and their choice of a light top or a dark top but no bright colors.


Don’t forget about your feet!
Many family portraits show the whole body including the feet.  If someone is wearing bright colored sneakers,  they stand out like a sore thumb! Please coordinate your shoes with what you are wearing.

Len’s Family Photo Gallery

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