What To Wear
Clothing Suggestion for Timeless Family Portraits
Begin With a Neutral Theme
For a classic look, start with solid fabrics. Add a little pattern and splashes of color with the children's outfits and accessories on the adults (scarf, shawl, cardigan, hat, etc.).
Do Not Mix Dark and Light Tops and Bottoms
Especially in larger groups. Mixing darks and lights creates a busy look. Keeping the entire group in darker tones or all in lighter tones simplifies and draws attention to the faces.
Dark clothing tends to slenderize, especially against darker backdrops. Long sleeves and dark stockings also slenderize and simplify.
For a Natural Look
Sweaters and other long-sleeved knits help you look relaxed. Layered tops add depth and dimension. Jeans are great because they allow us to sit people on the ground. For outdoor portraits, autumn colors, or jewel tones work better than pastels.
For a Formal Group
For a stunning formal portrait, start with a blend of rich, understated colors, not too 'matchy'. Add a little dark-on-dark pattern in accessories. Don't be afraid to spice it up with a color splash, over-the-top fabrics, necklines and jewelry. Darker tones work well to simplify the overall look.
Lay out everyone's clothing together in the room where your portrait will live. Replace outfits and add accessories until you achieve a fresh and exciting look for that room.
Low Contrast Clothing for Family Portraits
Faces in the family portrait should be the first thing you notice. But clothing sometimes competes for the viewer's attention. Clothing that simplifies a group portrait is usually made up of all lighter tones, or all darker tones, not a mix of the two.
A common mistake is mixing dark tops with light bottoms, or vise-versa. This can create a high contrast, 'busy' scene, especially with larger groups.
We suggest a mix of medium light to light outfits. Or, for even more thinning and flattering portraits, a blend of dark colors. Darks de-emphasize the bodies and feature the faces in the family.
Save strong patterns and contrasting colors for areas you want to feature, like young children in the group. Otherwise choose solid fabrics of slightly varying tone.
Add interest to the clothing by choosing fabrics with dramatic texture, sheen or cut... We're not suggesting the portraits be dull!
Breaking the Rules With Pattern
Bold use of pattern-on-pattern is a current trend and can make for an exciting portrait. Like most trends however, these highly colorful images will become dated more quickly.