Choosing outfits for your family session can become really stressful as your session approaches and the more family members you have the more stressful it can get.
As a lifestyle photographer the most important thing for me, that you feel great in the clothes that you wear!
The successes of my session depends on the general mood and not on the colour coordination (and I can usually adjust colours in the post processing if they are really not working together).
But of course there are things that I cannot adjust, so each of my clients gets a list with things which they should NOT wear.
Like for example, that they should avoid a football-team-look at any costs!
It is when your clothes are matching so strongly that you get a feeling that everyone is wearing some kind of a uniform.
My clients also get a basic explanation of colour theory so they know how different colours work together and how to choose the right combination.
Usually me and my clients have a brief chat before the session discussing their actual wardrobe so everything is ready for the session day.
Here is my simple step by step guide to creat group outfits so you can see how choosing clothes for your photo session really works.
I always suggest to start with neutral colours.
This is the easiest way to look stylish during your photo session!
Neutral colours are:
- blue marine
To get a well balanced group of outfits you should always start with an accent to create some visual interest.
We cannot create a colour accent using neutral colours, that is why we are going to create an accent using contrast – by combining very dark and very light tones (for example black and white).
We can combine very dark and very light clothes within one outfit or we can choose one thing with a very strong contrasting pattern (a dress, a shirt, pants etc. - but only ONE thing).
I think that it is the best to make an accent on the youngest child, but you are free to choose any family member.
Sometimes children are very particular about what they want to wear, so if someone REALLY wants to wear something with strong pattern or contrast tones – just start there.
So here we start with a strongly patterned black-and-white dress.
So now when you decided about your accent item you can relax and have a cup of coffee.
Adding the second outfit is really easy, just choose some clothes in neutral colours, without pattern, in light, middle or dark tones (so that the second outfit does not have contrast).
Here we go – this could be a nice choice for a couple photo shoot, a siblings photo shoot or mummy & me / daddy & me session (just switch the dress for a shirt and the skirt for pants).
The third outfit can also be as simple as the second one, but as I am planning to show you a family of five I would like to create some diversity by adding a soft pattern.
Having two patterns in different outfits looks very nice and natural.
Just make sure that the second pattern does not create too much contrast. So now we have a family of three.
The forth outfit also can be with no pattern in neutral colours. So now we have a family of four.
When you make a group of outfits in neutral colours it looks really nice and natural if you try to use many neutral colours and not only whites, blacks, greys or browns. This is especially important for large groups of people. That is why I will add some dark blue into the fifth outfit as we did not use it yet. And here we have a family of five.
The last step is to add some accessories. They should be in neutral colours too and if you wish they can also be patterned if you use them with non patterned clothes.
HOW TO ADD MORE COLOUR
When you use neutral colours as a basis for your outfits you can easily add other colours.
To keep the harmony I recommend to add ONE bright colour to the neutrals.
And now the most important thing that usually no one says!
You add ONE COLOUR, but use different shades of it in different outfits.
For example, you can add RED colour and use different shades of red in different outfits:
- Bordeau etc.
And you can do this for any colour! Just mix dark and light shades of it!
Red colour works great if you are planning a photo session outside and there will be greens in the background. Great for spring and summer sessions.
Shades of blue and violet work beautifully for autumn sessions when we have orange and yellow leaves in the background.
Green, orange, red and yellow will add warmth to your portraits in winter.
Thank you for reading!
If you would like to improve your photography and start documenting your family in relaxed and creative way, please feel free to join my facebook group for parents – Capture and Connect.
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