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What to wear during your family photoshoot...Tips that you would have never though of.

Hey everyone! For those who don't know me I am Melanie McCarty and I am a professional portrait photographer based out of Fort Worth, TX.

Frequently my clients either send me pics of what they have chosen for family photos or they don't know where to even start and ask me what they should wear. I decided that I should write a blog with a few tips and tricks on what to wear to your session to make your family photos that much more of a success. If you follow these guidelines your images will go from good to WOW! As you read this blog bare with me because with the volume of information it can be overwhelming, but surprisingly easily able to follow.

First off let me start out by saying to wear outfits according to the season and time of year your session is taking place. You're probably thinking um of course Melanie thats a give in. But you would be surprised. A lot of clients see a particular article of clothing and fall so much in love with it that they don't take into consideration that it may be a wool long sleeve in the dead of a Texas summer. If it's hot out then dress in lighter, cooler, clothes. If its cold then bundle up. Also dress accordingly to the location of your photoshoot. If you're having a photoshoot on the beach then chances are you're going to want to wear a flowing dress and be barefoot or sandals instead of a fitted skirt and heeled boots.

Next and the biggest "mistake" I see when clients choose their article of clothing is patterns. Or should I say too many of them. It is totally fine to have a beautiful floral patterned dress, or a sharp looking plaid button down, but it is not okay to have the two of them together. Multiple patterns make the image look busy, distracting, and messy. Your eye goes directly to the clothing and not to your beautiful faces. This rule can be broken on certain occasions if it is tastefully done and one of the two patterns is subtle. Don't let this scare you away from any prints/patterns, in fact I encourage them! Just not too many of them. Try your best to avoid logos and always avoid graphics. My rule of thumb is to have 1 (sometimes 2) patterns and to have everyone else wear a solid or a subtle texture. You also want to avoid being too matchy matchy. I always say its good to coordinate, not good to perfectly match. (This rule can be broken if mother/daughter purposely want to match etc). I'll get to what colors to choose shortly. Here is an example I've created below of outfits that would look amazing together. (Keep reading past image)

Always, always, always try on yours and everyone in your family clothes prior to the session. I can't even tell you the amount of times that the kiddos clothes weren't tried on them before the day of the session and they were either too small or way too big, even though according to the size on the tag it should have fit. Also dress for your body type. Make sure to avoid wearing something that is too tight showing your problem areas, or too large to where lets be honest, you look like you're wearing a tent (hey it happens). These tips go with undergarments as well. Avoid a bra that is digging into your sides (I see this a lot), bra/undies that show through your clothes, or that can be seen hanging out of an article of clothing. Don't rely on the photographer to fix it in photoshop.

(Keep reading)

Still with me here? I know there's more than you thought and we still have a few more to go. Something many people don't think about is tan lines. This not only applies to what you wear for your family photos, but also what you wear roughly a week out ahead of time. Try to avoid anything that will create a tan line that will show in your images. Also the clothes you wear for your actual photo session, make sure to wear something that does avoid showing any tan lines you may have in spite of you trying to avoid them.

Now that I've mentioned a lot of don'ts, lets talk about DOs!!! DO choose clothing based off of a 3-4 color pallet that compliment each other well. Choose colors according to the time of year as well. Lighter pastel colors world work best in spring/summer, where as darker, bolder, more contrasted colors would look better in the fall/winter. Always avoid bright neon colors. Regardless of the season it's best to always add in at least one neutral/earth tone to any color pallet. You would be surprised at what colors look amazing together. DO play around with layers and accessories! With only 1-2 patterns you may feel your clothes look boring. Say it with me, ACCESSORIES and LAYERS! I am a sucker for scarfs/necklaces on women/girls and suspenders/bow ties on men/boys. You can really tie together and coordinate everyones outfits by just adding a pop of someone else outfit color with an accessory or a layer of your clothing. Women, if you choose to accessorize with a belt make sure to wear it high waisted. When you wear a belt at hip level it draws attention to your waist which is always the widest part of your body.

I'll post a pic below of my own family portraits I had done (note I did not take these photos and the photo credit goes to Nicole Smith, theres no way my family would have cooperated if I did them myself lol). But you will see that I chose 3 color tones (burgundy, mustard yellow, and white) together and I used some adorable accessories for my boys. I chose to wear my skirt and belt high waisted, there is only 1 plaid pattern (matched with a solid yellow bow tie) and I am in a solid colored textured shirt. Also because it was Fall I dressed us accordingly.

Here are a couple more examples I have hand created to show some complimenting color pallet. Make sure to scroll though all of them to get some great ideas. If you are local to me then I hope you will consider me for your photography needs! If not then I wish you well and hope that these tips and tricks help you chose beautiful outfits for your family photoshoot.


Melanie McCarty Photography

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