Oh family pictures! Those beautiful keepsakes that record how your family is changing year to year. Trying to sort out what everyone is going to wear though can be a nightmare. You want your family to look cohesive yet not too matchy matchy. When it comes to choosing clothing for our family we have three specific challenges.
#1 Our family Size- It’s just pure logistics that as our family has grown the number of outfits that we need to co-ordinate has increased.
#2 Our family composition- Our family is heavy on the boy side with 5 boys and 2 girls. I find it more difficult to layer boys outfits than girls so this produces a challenge. Boys clothing also seems to have more images on them than girls clothing.
#3 Our varying skin tones- While I am very white my husband is quite a bit darker than me and our kids are a smack in the middle. Therefore what looks great on my husband like the colour white can often make me look completely washed out.
Over the years my method for choosing clothing has evolved. At first, it was just whatever we had on hand then I began combining colours and learning to layer. Eventually, I tried putting the pieces together ahead of time to see what they looked like. Below is the process that I went through this year when getting ready to take family pictures and what it has evolved to.
First, I gathered all the clothes that we have that were not torn or stained or does not have a cartoon character on them. I then placed those items into piles sorted out by colours. Once that was done and I had an idea of how many options I will had in each colour group I took some time to figure out what style and colour combinations that I wanted to do. I took into consideration where our photos will be done and what the backdrop would be. Also, of course the time of year and temperature as well. You can find lots of information on Pinterest about colour combinations that go well together. Typically you want one neutral colour with two other complementary colours but that is just a suggestion. There are other ways to combine colour ideas here. Kristen Duke has lots of suggestions and ideas sorted out by colours. I love the family picture that Emilie recently shared- the colours go great together.
Once I had the clothes colours chosen I hit up the second-hand stores to filled in any pieces that I needed. I took a picture of the clothing I already had with me so that I could stay on track at the store.
Next, I started laying everything out on the bed. I started with the adults clothing since we’re usually in behind the kids. Then I slowly started laying the other outfits on top. In the photos below I assumed that I would be holding baby the most and that our daughter who is the next youngest would be with my husband. I tried a few options out and see what visually looks best. Once I had the basics figured out I started to add layers. Things like a jacket on top or a shirt underneath etc. Don’t forget about accessories like jewellery and shoes. Once everything has been decided I confiscated the clothing. It got washed, ironed if needed and put aside for a few days until it was picture time.
Below are some pictures of how the outfits worked out. As you can see me holding the baby and my daughter being by my husband didn’t work out but that’s life! Because the colours are complementary to each other it’s not a big deal. I wish I had added a necklace so that I would have another layer on… next year! It;s always a continual learning experience about what works best and what does not.
Here are a few other real life pictures from over the years so you can see what worked and what did not.
What is your process for choosing clothing for family pictures? What have I missed?
*These photos were taken by a few different photographers. If you are in the Calgary area and looking for a photographer feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email and I can pass some names on to you.