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FAQ Friday: What to Wear to Your Family Session


This time of year can be busy for everyone. Between kids' Fall schedules, holidays, family visits, and oh yeah, sleep, there's not much time left to perfectly plan out your family's wardrobe for your Fall family portrait session. Here at Julia Ervin Photography, I always set up an appointment with my clients (whether on the phone or in person) to really dive into what makes for a good collective look. When it comes to the clothes on your back, it's not a boss-level challenge once you know a few simple tricks to make life easier.

Tip #1:

Use your home for inspiration

You spend a lot of time making sure every room in your home is welcoming and cozy. And I bet you use colors and decor that make you happy and compliment your style. I believe that our house reflects our personality. If you are stuck on what type of pattern or color scheme to dress your family in, then let your home speak to you for inspiration. Bonus: you know your portraits will look great when hung on your wall since the colors already go with your throwpillows! Score!

Tip #2:

Mom, dress yourself first!

Ladies, I know that putting yourself before the welfare (and cuteness) of your children is hard. But this tip helps you have a starting point to build around. Plus, if mama ain't comfy, ain't nobody comfy! Find styles, colors, and shapes that both flatter you and make you feel good! Don't feel beautiful in yellow? Then don't force yourself to wear a yellow dress just because it matches your daughter's bow. Trust me, it helps to put yourself first sometimes #selfcare!

Tip #3:

Choose 3-4 colors and stick to it

By dialing in on 3-4 colors for your family to wear, you know that the overall coordination will be complimentary to each piece. You can use one piece of clothing to work off of too. For example, if Mom's dress is green with blue, white, and purple florals, you can use those colors to build outfits for the rest of your family. Be sure to break up the colors too. For example, if your husband's favorite sweater is solid navy blue, then don't dress little Timmy in a navy blue shirt too. Break it up by having him in navy blue cordoroys/ crisp white shirt and little Sally in a white and navy dress. We're going for coordination, not matchy matchy.

Tip #4:

Blend patterns with layers

Blending patterns means finding fabrics that work well together and do not compete for your eye's attention. Small florals, subtle stripes, and pretty plaids all have a place when it comes to your family's portrait wardrobe. Just remember to stick with those 3-4 colors your chose, and try not to select over the top patterns that distract from your beautiful family. By staying in the same color family and remembering to keep patterns subtle, you'll have achieved a much more cohesive look. Also, layers are a great way to add depth and interest to your wardrobe. Things like vests, sweaters, scarfs, and hats can help break up heavy patterns and make your portraits more intriguing.

Tip #5:

Ditch the distractions

You worked so hard to find a photographer that you click with, spent money on your session fee, and set aside time with your family to spend an hour or so together making memories. When it's time to view your portraits, the last thing you want to see is a giant Nike check or neon green t-shirt staring at you. Now, I love me some work out clothes (and do enjoy bright colors every now and then), but family portraits are time to step it up a little bit. Try to select pieces that highlight your family, not take the focus off of them. You can incorporate personality pieces, but just choose the subtle route, like a bow or jewelry.

There are so many stresses in this world. Don't let your family's portrait wardrobe be one of them. Sticking to a few key colors, keeping the patterns simple, and adding some fun layers can be all you need to make a perfectly cohesive collection. Enjoy your time with your family during your session and your smiles will take center stage.

Julia Ervin is a portrait and wedding photographer based out of Brenham, Texas. She specializes in newborns, family, children, and couples. Her favorite food on the planet is pizza and she loves singing along to music with her silly husband and six year old.


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