What to wear for a family photo shoot

SO you have booked your family photo shoot – great step 1, done and dusted! Now the hard part – what to wear? This is something that I am asked all the time, I think it is because we all want to look our best and also you do not want to look back at the photos and think OMG what am I wearing!

Below are a few tips and tricks that should help you in deciding what to wear.

Co-ordinate but do not match

There is nothing worse than everyone wearing the same outfit. It is better to choose a basic colour palette and go from there. As a very general rule of thumb, everyone should wear colors that are complementary in shade and avoid large prints or patterns (However, these can work provided not everyone is wearing clashing patterns – it is probably better to have one person wearing patterns). In my experience, generally medium shades of blues, greens and purples are quite flattering to most skin tones. Stay away from vivid shades of red or orange or stark neutrals like black or white – as these generally do not photograph well. However, you could wear black or white if you break it up with the addition of another colour or accessory.

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Accessories are always welcome, especially if they suit your style and personality. Do not add accessories if that is not you, as you want to keep true to your style and personality. I personally love the addition of a gorgeous colourful scarf. Think outside the box…think scarfs, hats, jewellery, headbands, the list is endless and they can add that little bit of interest you need or that little pop of colour. Your clothes and accessories should complement you and your personality and not take over – we want you to be the focus of the photos!

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When I talk about texture, I am referring to the fabric clothes are made of. This is especially important if you have chosen a more neutral palette. Think tweed, lace, cotton, knit, etc… it can also include embroidery detail. It can be something as simple as a knitted jersey over a cotton dress or detail on your winter boots. All of these things can add depth to your images as well as some interest. However, I cannot stress enough – you need to be true to your personality and style.

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Shoes are important

Shoes are part of your outfit and can make or break a look. Your shoes should complement and complete your outfit and not fight against it. Also sometimes no shoes is best, specially if you have children as they love to run around like crazy on soft grass barefoot. Lastly, a fun or bold choice of shoes can help bring the photos to live with colour and your or your child’s personality.

Maternity photo shoot on a Jacaranda lined street in Johannesburg

Other tips

  • It is best to choose clothing that is timeless or classic so it doesn’t date quickly, that doesn’t mean you have to wear boring and drab clothings…especially if you plan to keep updating your family photos every year
  • Clothing that has some movement and flow can also look really nice, especially if your little girls are jumping around – nothing better than a twirly whirly skirt!
  • Make sure that your clothes are comfortable and that there is enough space to move freely – especially for your kids. You want to be happy and comfortable and not miserable and grouchy!
  • Patterns are good and welcome in moderation – they can add some texture and personality. Either only one person must be in pattern or everyone in complementary patterns.
  • Think about your location and dress appropriately unless that is the look you are going for. Normally one does not wear a ball gown to a farm – thought it has happened.

Lastly have fun with your clothing! Follow your own vision and style… you do not have to include all these elements into your wardrobe for your photo shoot. This will just give you inspiration and ideas of what can look great on camera!

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