So, you’ve finally decided the time has come. You’ve bribed the kids, bargained with Dad and psyched yourself up for it. You have factored in work schedules, school schedules and nap schedules. Come scrapes, bruises, bumps, bad attitudes and bad weather you are getting a family portrait. Now what on earth are you all gonna wear?!
With all the other hurdles you have to jump to get a nice photo of your growing family, what to dress everyone in should be the last thing you need to worry about. The truth of the matter is, even the most carefully selected wardrobe will most likely look comically dated when you look back on the image 10 or 20 years from now. The only thing that will really matter is the beautiful faces of your family. But, with that said, in the here and now we all still want to look our best. So here are a couple of my best suggestions to help you out when planning what to wear for your next family photo.
Dress Mom First
Let’s face it, if Mom’s not happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy. Many times moms are so worried about getting everyone else prepped and dressed that her own attire becomes hardly more than an afterthought. Since we are all our own worst critic, when mom looks at that photo, if she doesn’t like herself then the adorable outfits that were so painstakingly picked out might as well be burlap sacks because that image will never make it past the photographer’s memory card. Try reverse engineering the process. Instead of struggling to coordinate Mom with everyone else, outfit Mom first and dress the rest to match. Don’t force Mom to wear something she looks less than her best in simply because it matches everyone else. Mom should go to her closet and choose her favorite, most flattering outfit and then dig through the recesses of everyone else’s wardrobes to coordinate.
We’ve all seen the matchy-matchy white shirt with jeans or khakis. While it can be timeless if done right it can also be overdone and dated. You don’t have to be a family of identical twins to compose a nice photo. You can all wear white and still look different. Variety can be found in things other than color. Long sleeve, short sleeve, textures and patterns – everyone can blend nicely without looking the same. Choose a color and let everyone go from there. For example, if everyone wears blue, that could be a range of tones from light to dark in a range of patterns from plaid to polka-dot. You all look unique, with unique styles and personalities but when the final product gets hung on the wall you will all come together as one big, happy family.
You no longer have to peer through strangers’ windows to peek at their wall portraits or commandeer friends’ photo albums to get ideas for how to dress your family for a photo. Now that can be done virtually and from the comfort of your own couch. We are blessed with a wealth of graphic-rich websites providing endless examples of what to wear and what not to wear. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, the list goes on, all abundant sources of motivation. There is no shame in drawing inspiration from what other people have done, or even downright copying them. Don’t reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the job.
If You Can’t Decide, Do Both
The task of getting the whole family dressed and ready is daunting enough, the thought of doing it twice is downright maddening. So the idea of changing outfits during the course of a photo shoot might simply be out of the question. However, taking a sweater or wrap off, revealing something different and thus creating a unique look is completely within the realm of comprehension. Try a casual top concealed under a fancy button up. Bring and extra shirt or two for the kiddos and then, even if they’ve miraculously managed to keep the one they have on clean and presentable, go ahead and do a quick swap just for an alternative aesthetic.
If you were looking for some fabulous tips and pointers on current fashion trends or a tutorial on how to mix patterns, along with a crash course on the color wheel, then unfortunately you came to the wrong blog. I apologize, but as anyone who knows me well (or for that matter even met me once) can attest, a fashionista I am not. So, for that sort of information may I suggest you refer back to the section entitled “Google It”. But hopefully my few simple suggestions are enough to at least get you started on the road to dressing your family for your next portrait. One last thought as you embark on your mission: whatever you decide to wear just be sure it stays true to you. Your clothes and your style and in turn your photo should ultimately reflect who you are and what your family is like and no one else can decide for you what that looks like.