Clothing for Family Portraits

The making of successful portraits takes some effort. The choice of outdoor backgrounds that "work", as well as natural looking posing, lighting and expressions are all responsibilities of your photographer. Coordinating the clothing is yours. Consider the look of the final portrait so no one person dominates and that there are no strong distractions from the faces.

Guidelines for all portraits, studio or outdoors: All members of the family should be dressed to the same degree of formality or casualness. We recommend solid color clothing of the same tones. This should be classic, timeless clothing that doesn't date the portrait. If you want to use white or pastel tones, everyone should be similarly dressed. Avoid the look of one person standing out because of a bold, distracting pattern or a contrasting light top when everyone else is dressed darker (especially if that person is heavier). Always avoid T-shirts, sweats, tight short skirts (sometimes people are seated on the ground), heat transfer designs and bold patterns (including wide stripes). This is not the time to experiment with a new hair style or extra makeup. Use makeup to cover blemishes if possible. Babies often spit up; please bring them a second outfit if possible. "Photo-gray" glasses photograph black outdoors and very dark in the studio. We suggest non-glare coated lenses or contacts to avoid reflections. Glass glare is difficult to retouch and still look natural. Shoes may show in some poses. Pets are welcome!

Outdoor portraits (park or home): We need areas of full shade to photograph at your home. Casual or dressy, everyone should look like they belong together. Solid tops with nice jeans or khakis work well outdoors. Sweaters are excellent when the weather is chilly. Coordinate the colors so no one person stands out.

Home portraits (indoors): These are almost always made in your living room, using your natural home environment. If you have a plain background in mind, please arrange for a portrait at our studio. Have your portraits made here because you love your living room, not just for "convenience"!

Darker classic studio background: Solid darker clothing works best with our mottled brown canvas background. You can be casual or formal with this background but longer sleeves are usually best. In formal sessions, women should wear darker hose and avoid short, tight skirts. Family reunions of 8-12 people will be photographed on this background.

White background studio portraits (up to 5 adults): Keep clothing simple. One, two or three solid colors work best. We recommend white socks or bare feet since we will ask you to remove your shoes. For a casual look, wear jeans with white tops or you can wear medium to darker color tops. Other options include dressy casual with khakis or a formal look.

Muslin background (beige and light blue): We recommend casual jeans or khakis. Use solid neutral colors that blend with the muslin. This is a great choice for a casual grouping.