It’s that time of year…family photos. The key to a successful session is coordination, not only colors, but style, setting, and the details.
Family members don’t always have the same coloring, but that shouldn’t ever be a problem. But you should still plan a coordinate family portrait to be enjoyed, appreciated, and loved for years to come.
The important part is to plan ahead. Choose one person in the group as your point-person to communicate to others, and to ensure that you’re not all wearing the same color - I mean, unless that is your family tradition. Choose style over trendy fashion - you’ll look back in twenty years and be glad you did. And do yourself another favor - make sure everything fits well and is comfortable.
Choose attire and any props you want to complement your setting. Going to the beach? Don’t wear a suit. Sitting under an oak tree, surrounded by fall foliage? Don’t wear shorts. Shooting in the studio? Know your background color so you neither clash nor match it.
When discussing colors, choose a simple palette and have everyone choose something within a range. Dark, muted, and neutral colors always work well for groups. Avoid white, black, or bright as they can overtake the visual scene.
Also to avoid - small prints, large distracting prints, small stripes, graphics of any kind. Your best bet is to stick with solid colors. Textures should be matte as anything with shine or bling will compete for attention (and the focus should always be on the people!).
Before stepping in front of the camera, give yourselves a final inspection. Loose threads, small holes, wrinkles, stains, and lint are not only seen but amplified by the camera. Tuck whatever needs to be tucked, fix your hair, check your teeth, and wipe off your shoes.
Then there’s the kids. There’s always some little one who wants to take pictures dressed as their favorite character or with messed up hair or not sitting down where they’re told or with their favorite toy. My advice? It doesn’t matter - just go for it. Some of my favorite family or individual photos of my son are ones that didn’t go as planned or could have been considered imperfect at the time. You’re a real family with real people. Do you really want everything to look plastic? And you may end up with a cuter photo than you could have ever imagined.
One final word - trust your photographer. They do this every day and know what looks best on camera. No, they shouldn’t be depended upon like a set designer, but if they make a suggestion to change something, try it. This process is supposed to be fun!