I have collected tips for you on choosing outfits for a family or couple photoshoot.
Choose your color palette first. When deciding what to wear for photos, pick a palette of 3-4 colors. Let this be your starting place. Think in terms of tones: blue tones, earth tones, neutrals, pastels, etc. Everyone in the family can express their sense of style within the chosen color palette, and the whole group will coordinate beautifully. Or find your favorite article of clothing to use as a starting point. Pull 2-3 colors from it and stick to shades in those colors as your palette.
Use muted colors. Bright colors attract attention away from the face and may be reflective. Avoid wearing red, bright pink, bright green, etc. When choosing lighter colors, stick to pastels, but avoid pink tones. Pale yellow and pale blue work well, especially with jeans or kaki pants. These colors work great in nature for example if you have a sunset photography session booked in.
Or you can be bold. Pick only one or two happy colors and use some neutral details (white or grey) to tame them a bit. At least one family member can wear some sort of geometric pattern.
Don’t match. Coordinate. Pick a statement outfit and then pull colors from this outfit to dress and layer everyone else. Layering can make a huge difference in tying in all the colors.
Layered clothing works really well – it’s the easiest way to get many looks from your photo shoot without having to get changed multiple times. We can get many different shots from different layers of clothing. It gives us many options to play with and it can be surprising how the same set of clothes can give such a variety of shots.
Dress for the same season. If someone in your family is wearing a warm jacket, it’s not a good idea for someone else to be wearing a summer outfit. Similarly to the point above if the more we can keep styles similar the better. Otherwise, unwillingly, you might have one person standing out in your portrait.
Shop at the same store. Make coordinating family photo outfits easy by shopping at the same store or brand. It’s especially helpful when there are multiple children to dress.
Don’t forget about the shoes. If you’re not the type of family who likes being barefoot, be sure to keep your footwear in mind. Nothing will throw your look off more than a ratty old pair of shoes.
Prints and patterns are a definite NO. This includes logos. Avoid prints of any kind and patterns. No matter how small the print or the pattern, it will become a distraction. In the case of digital portraits, in particular, small patterns in clothing (even a small herringbone or checkered pattern) can cause terrible distortions to appear in the portrait that are not originally there.
For the children, choose outfits that fit well without a lot of “growing room”.