Friday, September 30, 2011

What to wear for family portraits!

Some people have a natural talent for fashion. They can throw together outfits and make everyone look fabulous. But for those of us who are admittedly fashion challenged, how do you choose the perfect outfit for family portraits? To start, there are a few simple questions you should ask yourself. Do you want formal or casual? Do you want classic or modern? Do you like urban or rural?

If you are looking for something modern and fun, for 2011, think color, texture and lots of layers! Choose clothing that is comfortable, fits well and compliments your skin tone. If you know how to use bright colors and/or patterns to create a desired effect, then go for it. You are truly lucky and can get away with breaking all of the rules. If you do not know anything about fashion, then keep it simple. Keep the clothes for the adults free from bold patterns and overly bright colors. Dress everyone is various shades of the same color or dress everyone in complementary colors. Once you have picked an outfit for each member of the family, lay the clothes out and look at them. Is your eye drawn to any certain article of clothing? If it is, the same will hold true in the photo. Your eye will be drawn to that clothing and it may take away from the portrait. What you want is a collection of clothing that allows your eye to wander from outfit to outfit without stopping to continually stare at one thing. The goal of a portrait, is to see faces and personality.

Here are some classic rules for portraits. As with all things in photography, the rules can and sometimes should be broken. But, knowing how and when to break them is important.

1. Avoid bold colors and patterns.
2. Wear neutral solid colors.
3. Avoid light colored clothing unless shooting indoors with a light colored background.
4. Wear monochromatic or complimentary colors
5. Cover as much skin as possible in order to bring more attention to your face.
6. Keep make-up and hairstyles simple.
7. Avoid t-shirts, plunging neck-lines and bare arms
8. Wear clothes that fit...not too tight and not too baggy.
9. Avoid trendy apparel that will date the image
10. Wear nice shoes that coordinate with your outfit and avoid white socks with dark pants!

For my family portraits this year, I decided to break a lot of the rules. Since we decided to shoot in an urban location, I wanted lots of color and fun patterns. I love the patterns on the kids but will probably wear a solid shirt myself next time around. :)

A big thank you to my nephew, Matthew Workman, for taking my family portraits this year. He is starting up his own photo business in Omaha, NE and has a fabulous special going on. If you live in that area, you should check him out on Facebook. ;)

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