With fall sessions quickly approaching, clients are planning what to wear when they get in front of the camera. This can be daunting for extended family sessions in particular. But don’t stress! It isn’t as hard as you might fear. Here are a few tips to help you plan:
1) Decide where you want to be on the level of formality — do you want the guys in denim jeans, or are you thinking pressed chinos? Casual pullovers or fitted t-shirts, or button ups? Ladies have it easier — if you’re into dresses or skirts, those can really dress up or down. Here are two examples — one with chinos and jackets, another with all denim and casual tops. Both work beautifully!
2) Pick a color family as your foundation. For ex., neutrals, jewel tones, earth tones, blues… then play within that. This extended family went with jewel and autumn tones:
3) Then play with accents. Use the color wheel to see would play well as accent colors: The color opposite your main color is a great accent. For ex., if you’re doing a lot of blues, then a pattern with pink flowers, or some burgundy sweaters and skirts, work beautifully. Showing off this family again, because it’s a great example of using the burgundy and red, as well as whites / light blue, to keep your eye moving across the scene.
4) Incorporate textures and patterns. This gives the photographs more depth, and it keeps your eye moving over and across the photograph at all the subjects. You don’t want a sea of all one color or identical outfits — the subjects will blend into one another and the photographs will feel flat. This family wanted to go with denims, blues, and whites, but they incorporated texture into the different shirts (notice how the three women each have very different shirts, in the bottom right) and used belts to accent.
5) Don’t be afraid to use pattern! I often suggest that if there is a great patterned dress, shirt, or skirt that one person would like to wear, use that as the jumping off point. Pick colors within that piece of clothing for others to wear. In this family, mom’s dress brings the fun and the other four ladies’ dresses pick up on colors in her dress. Also, notice the texture in the grandmother’s jacket and tween’s ruffled dress.
Here are a few extended family sessions to check out for inspiration. Most importantly, you want everyone to feel good in what they’re wearing!
And I’ll leave you with this one — six grandchildren from three families. We didn’t overthink, but did this very impromptu and just pulled out pale colored clothes from the suitcases. Point is, don’t stress, because you’re just going to have FUN, be yourselves, and the outfits are the backdrops to the main characters!
Sep 17, 2022
© Kate hollings photography