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Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill Custom Family Portraits

Styling your family photos with color, jewelry, and accessories


Styling your family photos with color, jewelry, and accessories

Spring is almost here, and in North Carolina, it’s the perfect time for a family portrait session under Carolina blue skies. If you're thinking about scheduling a session but feeling overwhelmed by the planning process, read on!

how to dress for a family portrait session

There's a lot to think about when it comes to envisioning the overall look of a photo session, from mood to backdrop to the way each subject will complement each other. Of course, the best way to ensure great photographs is by hiring a great photographer, but even then, some of the decisions you make will influence the look of the resulting images... especially when it comes to what you wear.

Everyone struggles with how to dress their families for a session, and advice can be found all over the place... it's such a common issue that my welcome packet has an entire page devoted to the topic! The best advice is to be yourselves while making sure that your overall color scheme and style are coordinated.

Styling your family portrait session

Of course, that’s easier said than done for most of us, and so the majority of families end up in a combination of solid neutral colors. That works great from a portrait perspective - solids tend to photograph really well without distracting from the photo - but it can feel a bit boring… and this is where the right accessories come into play. When you accentuate a simple outfit with scarves, hats, and jewelry, you can not only add a bit of color and visual interest, but create an easy way to change the look of what you’re wearing in a matter of seconds.

Choosing Clothing for Family Photographs

Start Simple
The first rule when accessorizing an outfit is to remember that you want your pictures to focus on your face and not your clothes. Heavy or loud pieces can be too bulky and overwhelming, and while it’s great to have pieces that pop, you also want to make sure you don’t overdo it. Keep the larger pieces of clothing - tops, pants, and dresses - well-fitted and simple and in a coordinated overall color palate.

Clothing choices for family portraits

Add Contrast
Most of my clients shudder at the thought of being overly-matchy in their photos (and how many families all go out together in white shirts and khakis anyway?), but I do understand how tempting it can be to default to a neutral palate when you’re trying to coordinate four or five people. A quick fix? Choose one or two contrasting colors to mix in! A scarf with a splash of color, fun earrings, or your favorite pair of boots will add personality without distracting from the images. This is a great way to coordinate the look for the whole group without getting too complicated (or expensive!).

Color pop clothing family portrait session

Get Help!
A lot goes into choosing the right look for your photo session. If you are still struggling with the wardrobe and jewelry, pick a quiet day at your favorite clothing boutique and ask a salesperson to help you with ideas - they can be a great source of inspiration finding the right look (but don’t let them talk you into anything you wouldn’t normally wear)! Of course, I’m happy to help, too… though I’m no fashionista, I’ve learned a lot over the course of my career and can help you make choices that will give you the look you want that looks great for the camera.

Choosing clothes and accessories for family portraits

Want to book a spring session before they all disappear? Drop me a line and let's get something on the books!