Everyone stresses out SO much about what to wear… and I want to try and take some of that stress out of this! This is supposed to be fun, right?!
Start with choosing your colors: There are these great little things called “color palettes.” Usually they are used for home decorating and fashion design... but there're also perfect for coordinating colors for a family portrait. I suggest that you choose 1-2 neutral colors for your base (think beige, gray, white etc) and then add 1-2 complementary colors. This is where the color palettes come in. It really makes coordinating groups a lot easier and does all the work for you!
Pinterest.com is a great place to start looking.
Here are a few (below) that I suggest for the spring/summer season, especially great for beach portraits!
Another idea is to draw colors from your location and incorporate them into your wardrobe. If you're location is the beach, choose a light beige as your base neutral and blues and teals as your color.
You can also choose colors that compliment your location. Look at the color wheel! If your backdrop has a lot of cyan, find a way to incorporate some magenta details to contrast your backdrop.
Is your backdrop bright and clean like the beach or snow? Try something that will POP like bold (but not neon...) colors.
Be careful with patterns but don't be afraid of them! Try and think more texture and less pattern. I'm not a big fan of thin stripes, they tend to do odd things to your eyes on screen and in print... Remember that more often than not, less is more. (I do really love large floral pattens on dresses, just make sure all the colors are all in your color palette.)
Some basic guides:
-Start with mom's outfit and build around that. (Baby will look cute in almost anything,) so choose this outfit FIRST so that you feel confident and look great! (Assuming you're the mom reading this...)
- Shoes matter! Don't have someone in dress shoes while some else has sandals on.
- Accessories matter! Add scarfs, hats etc to add the coordinating color to an otherwise neutral outfit.
- Avoid being overly matchy-matchy, ideally everyone should have some variations in their colors.
- I usually like to have kids in the brightest colors to pop more within the group since they're the smallest, but this isn't a must.
- No text/logos on clothing, please!
- Make sure you don't put everyone in jeans. Mix it up, texture and color. Maybe girls in skirts and boys in chinos while dad wears jeans etc.
- When choosing whites, make sure they are the same tone of white! Not stark white and off-white, this will usually look weird when put all together...
- No hair cuts within 2 weeks before the shoot!
- If you have very little kids, bring an backup outfit in case the first one gets soiled!
Below are a few color palettes I found on Pinterest for inspiration...