One of most common questions I get asked is about what to wear for a family portrait so here’s a little bit of information that you might find helpful.
Well the first thing to say, is something you like and feel comfortable in and that’s more important than anything else that I say. If you feel uncomfortable in your outfit choice then that will show in the photos. You have time for an outfit change within a portrait session so you can try two different looks for all of you if you’d like to.
That said, it’s nice if you all match either in the range of colours that you have on or in the lightness / darkness of tone. So you might all choose to wear blue and white or all dark tones – that can really tie a family photo together and take it to the next level in terms of the finished result. Obviously you don’t have to match in terms of outfit design, that would be quite strange when you’re working across age ranges but the colour matching really does help.
Plain clothing is better than anything with a strong pattern or large logo. They can be quite distracting in the finished images from the main feature – your lovely faces! For the same reason, I recommend 3/4 or long sleeves. The human eye is kind of pre-programmed to search for flesh tones in an image and bare arms can be distracting. That sounds a bit Victorian when I write it down, like I’m saying you should be covered from head to toe and dare not flash your ankles but I don’t mean it that way I promise! It really is about the keeping the focus on your face and expressions!
When it comes to posing, we’re probably going to run through a variety of different set ups from standing to sitting and even lying down in some cases. So it can be good to wear something long enough for you to sit down without having to worry about what you’re revealing. Yes, that sounds a bit Victorian too but it’s just a practical consideration.
Generally speaking, you won’t be wearing shoes in the studio so you can either go with your socks or bare feet – totally up to you. If you need an excuse to treat yourself to a pedicure, then feel free to use the portrait session. The same goes for a manicure, your hands will definitely be on show so you will want them to be looking nice!
I see a lot of photographers saying that you need to apply more make up so it doesn’t wash out under studio lighting but I have to say I disagree with this. It’s not like stage lighting, it’s designed to be as natural and gentle as possible so you can just apply your normal amount of make up however you’d like it – you’ll still look great.
When it comes to a portrait shoot, we’ll use the studio time to mix and match the groups that we shoot. So we might shoot everyone together, and also kids together, individuals separately etc So feel free free to bring along different outfits for the kids to be photographed in if you would like to!
My portrait studio is a very relaxed and informal space, so you don’t need to be anything other than yourselves to get great results and that applies to what you wear as well. If you want to dress formally, then great, but don’t feel like you have to be fancy just because you’re visiting a studio.