As a professional photographer for more than 10 years, I can affirm that “What should we wear?” is a question everyone has when planning their family portrait session. It’s a fair question because style and color trends are constantly changing (seasonally and yearly) and you want to look your very best. Aside from advising my clients to just be themselves – which is truly the best outfit there is – I also talk to them about how color and style can play a huge role in the final product. Wardrobe choice is such a large part of portrait session planning for families that I’m dedicating two blog posts that will separately focus on the two main prep essentials: color and style.
For part 1 of my “What to Wear” post, I’m going to show you how to enhance your Spring family portrait session with colors and what resources you can use when choosing the best hues for you and your family.
1. Wear Your Feel-Good Colors
My first color tip is to choose your feel-good colors. For both parents and kids, looking most natural in photos requires being comfortable! That’s why it’s crucial to choose colors you and your family feel great about when planning your portrait session wardrobe. If you don’t favor yellow in your everyday life, then by no means choose a bold yellow.
On the other hand, if you feel best when wearing a trendy color, then you might want to check out the most popular colors of the year from Pantone.com. Each year, Pantone debuts seasonal color palettes of about 12 trendy colors. It’s a great resource for sifting through the latest hues to find some that match your style. The top colors for Spring 2018 include Meadowlark yellow, Arcadia green, Pink Lavender, and more!
2. Choose Complementary Colors
Photos tend to look the best when families “go together” by wearing complementary colors rather than matching outfits that are all the exact same color. For instance, try to stay away from everyone in your family only wearing pastel blue and white. Instead, incorporate various colors that pair well with pastel blue into each family member’s outfit. You can create your own color palette on Coolors.co or find some on my Pinterest board. One way to win at the complementary color game is by incorporating the corresponding colors by adding layers or accessory pieces.
3. Add-in Accent Colors
As mentioned above, accessories and layers are a great way to mix in complementary colors, but they can also enhance a wardrobe. If you’re leaning more toward a neutral palette, a great way to include a splash of color is through accents. You can accent your outfits by blending in colorful accessories like jewelry, scarves, bows, ties, or shoes. If families are trying to find a way to add color to their photos, I often suggest that they switch things up with colorful accessories during the last half of their session. This way, families who don’t want to compromise their neutral theme can still try out accent colors.
4. Match Colors with Final Product
Prior to a photo shoot, many families already know exactly where they want their family photos to go in their house. For instance, if a family wants to display a wall portrait in their living room, then they might avoid wearing colors in their photo shoot that would clash in their living room. So if you’re uncertain about which colors to wear for your upcoming family photoshoot try visualizing where you want to place your final products around your home.
With 4 color tips under your belt, here are my favorite color resources:
This site is so awesome – and it’s also available as an app. It’s a super fast color schemes generator. It’s the quickest way I’ve found to easily visualize complementary colors! You start off with some suggested palettes, and with just a few clicks, you can choose your favorite colors to generate a color palette of your own! Generate your color scheme here and instantly organize your next portrait session wardrobe.
Of course, the obvious resource for tips and inspiration is Pinterest. I suggest creating a board and pinning various color themes and style ideas for your portrait shoot wardrobe. This way, it’s easy for you to visualize all of your favorite ideas and to begin narrowing them down to the ones that fit your family the best. You can start your inspiration over on my “What to Wear: Color & Style Pinterest Board” for a variety of color palettes, accent mix inspiration and complementary color ideas. Check it out here!
From home decorating, painting, photography and even fashion, Pantone is a go-to guide and inspiration for all things color. This resource’s popularity has grown with its handy Color of the Year charts and seasonal color palette guides. Want to wear trendy colors in your next family photo shoot? Start researching here!
While taking in all the photo and color inspiration out there, just remember to keep your families most natural quality of just “being you” at the forefront of your portrait session wardrobe planning.