PHOTOGRAPHY TIP #22. What to wear in outdoor family photos

Children Portrait Photography London Photograher - Big Ben Londopn Eye-2We live in a digital era where everyone has a smartphone and a photo camera – these are affordable tools that make taking family photos easy. But it’s all too easy to snap away, ending up with hundreds of photos and risking visual overload, before ending up with that ONE good final family photo. This is why more and more families are turning to professional photography. But before booking a family photo session, remember that clothes are an important element that can transform your family portraits from good to perfect. Here is a list of tips on what to wear in family photos:

1. Wear warm colors. Warm colors are a very good choice for outdoor family portrait session during the cold season (Autumn, Winter), because it offers a very nice contrast from the grey-ish background. You can, of course, mix warm colors with neutral nuances.

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2. Wear pastel colors: light grey, blue, light pink, beige, peach and so on. Pastel colors look really good on camera if you mix them! In family photos, they add a certain softness that makes the overall look more “dreamy” and warm.

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3. Avoid large prints (no lines or dots).

Prints tend to “steal” the focus away from smiles and faces, so it’s better to avoid them completely. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule: we once did a photo session with a family from Nigeria who wanted to do family portraits dressed in their national ethnic clothes. Traditional African clothes are colourful with large prints, and usually we’d steer away from them, but they mattered in this case because wearing them “represents” the subjects: the clothes are  part of their identity and added a note of authenticity to their family portraits.

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4. You do not have to exactly match colours, just coordinate them.

Matching colours don’t really look good because they add too much uniformity to the overall look.  Coordinating colours is the best solution (see examples below):

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5. Dress casually, but with a touch of elegance if possible

You need to feel comfortable during outdoor sessions, so it’s best to go with a casual look. To add a touch of “formality” to the outdoor family sessions, accessorize with an elegant scarf, with classic jewelry or perhaps bring along a second pair of shoes. Remember, it is precisely the small things that make the difference.

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6. Wear plain colors.

Too many colors make a photo look “heavy” and distract the eye, so the viewer does not know what to focus on…

7. Avoid wearing plain black or white, which can create a washed out look.

Plain black clothes might look good for an afternoon cocktail party, but never in family photos. To avoid this, you can mix black and white with other colors, like blue jeans for example.

8. In the cold season, you can dress in layers to have diversity in the final family portraits. 

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