Part 1 is for the pro. The all-out, maximum effort, total investment, commitment to the very best type of client.
To you, pro client, I say. I love you! I love how invested in this you are. This blog post will aid your awesomeness.
To every thinking 'that's waaaaayy too much effort' I saw. I love you! I love that you want to have family photos and What to Wear Part 2 is for you!
Avoid busy patterns. They distract attention and make me go cross eyed ;)
Don't blend into the background. If you've asked for a white backdrop, don't wear white. If you've asked for a black backdrop, don't wear black. You will look like a floating head if you do.
Choose ONE neutral colour. The colours I consider neutral are; black, white, jeans, beige (like chinos), navy, grey. Choosing one looks better than someone in black, someone wearing jeans, another person in chinos and a fourth person in khakis.
Now for the pro!
Step 1 - Begin with starting rule number 3 - choose one neutral colour.
Step 2 - Add between 1 and 3 complimentary colours. When choosing your colours consider the room your photograph will be displayed in. The colours can contrast (yellow and blue!) or compliment (pink, pale yellow, light blue)
Step 3 - Make sure everyone as at least one item of clothing or accessory with the accent colour.
Step 4 - Try to spread the colour evenly between people and between the bottom and top. Rather than have 3 people with blue t-shirts and one person with blue trousers.
Step 5 - Remember the shoes and accessories. Its easy to forget shoes and then realise the kids only have ugly black trainers! A complimentary pair of earrings, a hair bow or necklace can really just wow the whole outfit and bring it all together.
In this example step 1 - to choose a neutral colour - I've gone for chino beige!
Step 2 - I contrasted coral with some kind of blue (light teal? Aqua?)
Step 3 - everyone has at least one accent colour, two of them have both (which I love!)
Step 4 - Spread the colours evenly. Notice how both coral and blue are represented on the bottom and top halves, on the bottom: two beige, two coral and one blue. And on the top, one beige, two coral and two blue.
Step 5 - cute shoes and matching accessories!
Here is Kristen Duke and her family who I shot in London last summer - this lady is a pro at outfit choosing! Find her What to Wear blog post here!
Layers give a softer feel. If you have to shop, choose a colour that's in season and therefore easy to buy! If they are in season a simple plain coloured t-shirt can be picked up for less than £5 for example. But start with what you already own, look through everyones clothes and you may find there already is a theme and a colour in common. When we had our family photos taken by the wonderful Rachel Spence last year I didn't buy anything. It wasn't perfect but it was a good start!
We did look a bit better than that to start with haha. Harry had a denim blue blazer on and Elspeth was wearing a lovely cardigan that had the greenish teal colour (how bad am I at naming colours!!!) and the purple/pink (lol just give up Rachel) and kind of tied us all together nicely but that was abandoned. The point is we did a not bad job without buying a single thing :)
I hope that helped - look out for part 2!