I’m not sure where the time went, it feels like yesterday was January. Thanksgiving is next week, and after that will be Christmas. As a professional photographer I typically start to see e-mails about holiday photos roll in around August. Isn’t that crazy? I could never be that organized. After booking, one of the most common questions that my clients ask is “What do I wear for holiday photos?”. I have a little formula I like to use when I help my clients choose what to wear for holiday photos, and it works every single time. Today I’m sharing it with you!
First and foremost, you want to be comfortable. There is nothing worse than showing up for a photo session in clothing that someone is uncomfortable in. It should be casual enough for you to move and not feel restricted in. The fit should be perfect, though on kids if it’s a little big or a little small it should still be fine. Try to keep in mind each family member’s personality and choose items accordingly. If your daughter hates dresses, now is not the time to fight that battle.
Think about your location.
Where are you taking photos? Indoors? Outdoors? In studio? The location should help set the limits of your outfits. For our photos, we decided to take them where we are most at home, on our couch in the living room. This means that our clothing will be very casual, and we probably won’t wear shoes.
Choose one person to wear a print or texture.
Start with a focal point. This person doesn’t have to be the focus of every photo, but it’s good to start with an item you can build off of. I really love a gingham, plaid, or bold stripe for Fall and holiday photos. If the print is too busy or small it might be lost in the background of the photo. If prints aren’t your thing, choose an item with a nice texture instead. Our focal point was my son Aiden’s heathered sweater.
Identify your palette. What colors are in the print? What would look good with that print?
Aiden’s sweater is a black and white heather, which can go with most colors. We aren’t a bold color type of family, so we chose to stick with neutrals for the rest of us. I wore a cozy medium gray v-neck sweater dress, my husband wore a black textured sweater with jeans, and my youngest son, Søren, wore a chambray button down with jeans. Avoid having everyone wear the same color, or very contrasting colors. This means that a black and white palette might be too stark for the outfits to look cohesive in your photos. Absolutely avoid colors that match the background of your photos. For example, if you know you’ll be photographed on green grass, I’d highly suggest avoiding the color green. You want to stand out from the background in your photos, not blend in.
Keep it cohesive, not matching.
When it comes to pants and bottoms, try to stick with all one color. For example, have everyone wear jeans or denim that are in the same color family. Don’t have dad in khaki pants and the kids in denim jeans, it won’t look as cohesive. The same goes for shoes, try to stick with all one color, or color family. Not everyone needs to wear the exact same style or color of shoe, and chances are the shoes will not be the focus of the photo, but sticking to a neutrals, dark, or light color scheme would be helpful.
As a photographer, I love adding accessories to my photos. This can be a nice blanket to sit on (that also matches clothing) or something like hats, scarves, etc. They can definitley help add character to the family, but be careful that you don’t go overboard. You want them to accent and help bring attention to your family, not distract from them.
Test it out.
Before your photo session, lay all of your clothing out and see how it looks together. Think about if you need to make any changes, and what types of colors could be in the background.
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What is your favorite thing to wear for family photos? Do you have any tips to share?