As a Denver photographer, I have to say the question I get most is “what to wear to a family portrait session?”

I always encourage people to be non-uniform and fun and to think about what suits the personality of their little family. Communicating and working with your photographer can help with clothing choices for a Denver family photo session, particularly with all the great colors we have in Colorado!  Here are some quick tips for what to wear for a portrait with Z. Noelle Photography.

  • Think of your family as one large “outfit” instead of trying to match multiple outfits. Imagine all your clothing choices are for one person in the family and plan around that outfit–if there are orange polka dots in little Janie’s dress, maybe mom wears an orange scarf with her green shirt and dad pairs that with an orange sweater over jeans.
  • Try to pick a color palette and work with that, such as red and earth tones.  Stay away from too many patterns–it’s too busy and distracts from the images.
  • Layering clothing is a great way to add dimension, color, and texture. Decide on a color theme and have every person in the portrait wear something in the themed color. This type of clothing keeps everyone “tied” together and prevents you from looking “matched” or artificially put together. Above all, keep the clothing comfortable. Comfortable people give spontaneous and happy smiles.
  • If you are going to hang this portrait in your living room, consider your decor. Make sure the colors go with the color scheme of your home. If you have neutrals in your home, keep the colors muted. You don’t have to match the walls, but don’t go for electric green when your walls are a gentle gray and home accessories have a zen like feel.
  • Accessories add to your outfit and are fun in photos. Give someone in the photo a funky hat and someone else a colorful scarf or trendy necklace.  Also, feel free to bring more than one outfit.
  • Your kids or someone else in your family may identify with character t-shirts but keep them out of your photographs. If you use a t-shirt with a character on it, you can get distracting.
  • Avoid all white or all black clothing. If you are wearing a white shirt, you will look washed out and bland. All white and black makes your portrait look dated and boring.  In addition, having a mostly white scene throws off the exposure in the camera, forcing the photographer to make extreme exposure adjustments for proper skin tones.  Having ten years of experience, I am able to make those adjustments, but I prefer to think about dynamic posing and show love between family members, rather than focusing too much on technical details.
  • Consider the background you are using. If you wear all black and stand in front of a black backdrop, you look like a floating head. My Denver photography studio has a variety of backdrops and I actually prefer to shoot outside, but best not too wear all one color anyhow.

Hopefully these tips help families that are stressed about what to wear for a family photography session.  If you have any other questions about it, feel free to call Z. Noelle Photography and discuss in more detail!  🙂  Below are some great examples of outfits that work.

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