You have booked your family portrait and now you have to start making decisions. Very few people like to choose the outfits to wear. Hopefully, this article can simplify that decision and make it easier to deal with.
Set Limits and it Will Be Easier
Choosing outfits is a part of the creative process for your family portrait. If the outfits don't look good there is only so much the photographer can do to make the final image look good.
Too many options can lead to a mental block. The best artists begin by defining the project and limiting their choices. That is how you can be most creative. Simplify your process to the choices below and see how easy it can be - maybe even enjoyable.
5 Simple Tips to Make Choosing Outfits Easier
1 - Everyone Wear the Same Thing
Probably the easiest strategy for clothing is to have everyone wear the same thing. For example, you may decide to all wear black dress shirts with jeans or you may decide to wear white shirts with khaki pants. Both of those outfits would look great and it is easy to decide. This strategy is the easiest but also the least complex.
2 - Wear Different Shades of the Same Color
If you want to keep things simple but add a level of complexity then choose a color and use different tones of that color (tones refer to how light or dark the color is). You may decide to all wear blue and have some wear light blue, medium blue and dark blue.
Make sure you stay close to the same hue. Blue can appear more violet or more green. Mixing hues can look strange so try to avoid it if possible.
3 - Add an Accent Color for Variety
The next level of complexity is to add an accent color. Let's take the example above. Keep the different tones of blue but add a few splashes of yellow and you now have something that's still easy to pull off but looks a lot more complex. The secret to the accent color is to include about 15%-30% of that color. If you add too much it stops being an accent color. If you add too little the person wearing it will stand out awkwardly.
4 - Choose a Multi-color Option that Coordinates
The most complex and hardest to pull off is choosing multiple colors. You will need to have an eye for picking out colors to use this strategy. You can find help online, however, with color theory tools. A couple I use regularly is the Adobe Color Wheel and the Adobe color explore. The color wheel allows you to input a color and apply different color rules to see coordinating colors to your original color. The Adobe explore has examples other people have already created. All you have to do is browse the combinations and choose the one you like.
5 - Add Accessories
After you have chosen your strategy from above, you can have fun adding accessories to liven up the package. You can use jackets, scarves, necklaces or bracelets. All of those things can add visual interest to your ensemble.
Let's Begin to Use Your Strategy
Start with Your Favorite Outfit or Shop for One
I guarantee you will like the picture better if you like the way you look in the picture. As the mom, you are busy looking out for everyone else and often leave your outfit until last. If you start with your outfit you will not only love the way you look but you will have a great place to begin.
See What You Have and What You Need
You will save both time and money if you don't have to shop for new outfits. Start by laying out possible outfits for each person keeping the 5 strategies above in mind. You may find you will need to purchase a few things but keep it to a minimum. Using what you have helps the picture look and be more authentic.
Communicate with Your Photographer
If you are still having struggles or need other advice make sure you work with your photographer. He/she should have some good opinions and hopefully some experience at what looks good in a photograph.
Relax and Enjoy the Experience
Hopefully, you have family pictures done regularly and this isn't the first time in 10 years you have done it. But, even if it is, realize that perfection is not always the best result. You are adding to your family's history library and your descendants aren't going to care if everything was perfect. They want to know who you were and if they are like you in any way. It is the photographer's job to get the very best image possible. It is your job to be yourself and show your personality. Relax and enjoy the journey, then sit back and watch the value of your family portrait increase as experiences turn into cherished memories that will last for generations.
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