Lots of clients ask me, “What should we wear for our family photos?” or “Should we wear something specific for our shoot?”
My reply is always wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothes, theres a 10000% chance you won’t like your images. You wont feel confident and it show in your photos. These pictures are to be treasured - you need to like how you look.
Saying that, now may not be the best time to try out a radical new look. I’m sure we’ve all had one of those times where we think we look amazing, then looking back at images think to ourselves - what on earth was I doing? Haha
Best advice - think about what you’d normally wear, then just smarten it up! You’ll feel confident, comfortable and it will shine in your photos.
“Aren’t there Rules to what to wear?”
Rules? There are no Rules! These are your photos! This article is about guiding you and sharing my suggestion on what is helpful to wear and what I’ve learnt from my experience.
You know your family
You are the best source of knowledge for your family - and you know them best.
Are you a smart family? A casual bunch? Or are you the bold lively bunch?
If you veer on the smart side, then dress in a smart attire. If you prefer your comfy’s and like to keep it casual - then t-shirt / jumper combo is fine!
Again theres no set attire - if you want to bring a change of clothes for the session thats ok!
I don’t judge what you’re wearing - I just want you to be comfortable.
Here are some tips I can suggest to you and I’ve noticed makes for better photos;
Avoid eccentric patterns - Checks/chequered patterns aren’t the most flattering in images. A mix of the contrast and repeat pattern can be a bit distracting. Same principle goes for bold stripes and words. When we move (and yes this isn’t always the case) part of the words becomes in/visible. The top that says ‘cute princess’ could end up looking like ‘c cess’. Many a times I have had to photoshop out words on t-shirts because of misfortunate movements creating not so appropriate words. We’re drawn to things that are distracting - so best to stay like the meerkats - simples!
Honestly, plain colours work best in pictures. No distractions for the eyes so your images become about you rather than your outfits. Don’t think plain has to be block colours, plain can also be a lace, a wool or even knitted attire.
To match or not to match? This is an age old question and it’s very much down to personal preference. If your a family with older children and you can get them to be comfortable in matching clothes - then go for it! It does look lovely in photos. But going back to my first point - you know them best. If they’re going to be miserable and grumpy ‘looking like mum/dad’ probably best to guide them to something they’re comfortable in. Again these are your images - you know you!
When your shoot involves having photos for more than just the immediate family (e.g. grandparents, unless aunts etc) I would advise on having a pre-group chat about attire. WhatsApp is a great tool for this if you don’t use it already, I was surprised to find out when my Nan was on it!
Outdoor sessions have more variables that the studio & can also impact on the clothes you may want to wear. For example - dress for the situation! If we’re having a woodland session/darker setting - make yourself stand out! Wear lighter colours and you’ll be set apart from the background. If we’re having a session and it’s colder - put on warm clothes! No-one wants to look frozen in their images. Same goes for a hot day! From my studio days at Centre Parcs - I can assure you sweat stains don’t make for fabulous images. Same goes for foot wear. It’s a lot cuter photo to see a child splashing in wheelies on a muddy shoot then seeing nice shoes get incredibly muddy and ruined… Although there is no focus on your feet - they do feature in at least one image so bear this in mind.
Silly as the sounds, wear clothes that fit. Clothes that are too tight or too loose tend to be less flattering. You’d also hate to look back at your photos and feel like you are bigger or smaller than you are. Basically don’t squeeze or hide in your clothes - this will add to your confidence and create pictures you’re bound to love.
It’s also no problem if you want to email me a picture before hand of your ideas. I’m only ever a message away and want to help you create beautiful photos that are natural and genuine to you and your family.
In the Words of McFly - ‘It’s all about you’
At the End of the day, these photos are for you to cherish and keep forever. No two families are the same and these images are unique to you. It’s my job to create for you something your proud to have around
your home, on your walls and to look back on with nothing but fond memories.
For more information about my Family Photography have a look at my website where you can find more information about all my sessions and how I work along with prices and galleries. https://www.samanthapaigephotography.co.uk/familysessionssamanthapaigephotographybedford
If you’re having family photos as part of a newborn session have a look at my website for gallery examples and read about my newborn shoot flow.