We take family pictures at least once a year with our family photographer, Whitney Loibner.
This year we took our pictures in the fall in a very fun setting, a local market.
I am going to share lots of them next week, but today for a special edition of What I Wore Wednesday, I asked Whitney to talk a little bit about choosing clothes for your family pictures.
Whitney has great style and we always confer about clothes before we head out on a photo shoot.
8 Guidelines For What to Wear for Family Photos
Guest Post by Whitney Loibner
I am often asked for rules for what to wear when being photographed. I don’t like to think about these as rules, so I’m calling them guidelines. Or suggestions. Everyone has different opinions when it comes to clothes, so these are just my thoughts.
1. Talk to your photographer.
Together you should have an idea of the feel you are going for in your pictures. Are you looking for urban or country? Do you want to be in your home or in a field? Do you want your pictures to feel dressy or casual? Alison and I usually pick a location first. However, occasionally the vision for a shoot has all started with one outfit, something adorable MP has or a crazy beautiful vintage dress that Alison found. In those cases, the location and everyone else’s clothing grows from that. Your location should, at least in a small way, play into what you are wearing. This year we were really doing a day in the life of the Chinos, so we went super relaxed to be at the market and in their home.
2. Be yourself.
Just like in life, what you wear should reflect who you are. Don’t wear something that you would never wear in real life. Maybe you are going for your Friday night or Sunday morning best self, but it’s still you.
3. Think head to toe.
Think about how your whole body will be photographed. Fix your hair and wear cute shoes. Cute shoes go a long way in a picture. Actually, any accessories do. Also, make sure that you can move. Chances are you will be asked to be in different positions, both sitting and standing.
4. Do what fits your family.
It’s not cheesy to think about what fits you and your family. Photographing in a market or at the fair or with a guitar might not fit every family, but if it fits yours, don’t be afraid to go with it. Ask me if you can bring your picnic basket or your kids’ skateboards. I love the challenge.
5. Match without being matchy.
In family photos, you should all go together, but don’t worry about matching. I think it is important to make sense together as a family and for the tones and patterns to complement one another, but you don’t have to be matchy. One year for Alison’s family, Mary Polly had a cute pair of striped tights with lots of colors, so the boys all wore solid shirts that went with the colors in the tights. This was super cute without everyone having to wear the exact same shirt.
6. Avoid stark white or all black.
This is not a hard and fast rule, and weddings are exceptions, but generally it is best to try to have a little color. Choose your favorite color or one that goes with your eyes and skin tone. Also along these same lines, text on clothing can be hard to work with. You can see we had some of that in these photos, but it is kept to a minimum.
7. Try your clothes on before the day of the shoot.
At the very least, lay out all the clothes together to be sure you like the way everything goes. I am always open to questions and texts of pictures with clothes from clients asking for opinions. Getting everything out together helps you have a vision, but also it shows you if something is missing. It became very apparent that one Chino was going to have to borrow or buy new shoes for the shoot once we got all everything put together. Sometimes an item like that will be overlooked if you don’t pull everything together ahead of time.
8. Have fun!
As a mom I know how stressful it can be to get everyone together and keep them unwrinkled or stain free. Take a deep breathe and try to enjoy it. Even if you have everything perfectly planned, people in your family might not cooperate. On the day of these pictures, Alison’s oldest son, Cole, was very late to the shoot (it might have slipped his mind) and everyone was so frustrated by the time he arrived that it could have ruined the whole evening. I went ahead and shot some individuals of the younger three kids while Taido and Alison tracked him down, took deep breaths and decided to laugh about it.
You just have to relax and remember that you’re trying to capture a season in the life of your family. So you forget the big fight you had about which headband your daughter wants to wear. I recommend having a glass of wine or a little snack before a photo shoot. And of course, I love to try new things that make the whole experience more fun for everyone involved.
Whitney Loibner is a local Little Rock photographer. She specializes in shooting families, newborns, kids, couples, weddings and individual portraits. I especially love her ideas for styled couple shoots. See her most recent one here. Thanks so much Whitney for your advice on choosing clothes! And for our family pictures, which I always treasure!