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We are scheduled to take our 1st family portrait/pictures. I'm
uncertain what we should wear? I do not like the pictures I
received from friends where they are all dressed the same
(khaki's and blue shirts, jeans and white shirts, etc. etc.),
the outfits are usually blah and don't express everyone's
personality. Does anyone have any advice? I would hate to cancel
the sitting because of my indecisiveness.
we recently had our family portraits taken. we also didn't want the
same outfits for everyone, but also didn't want any clashing colors. so
we kind of settled on a color palette (navy blue, white, green), just to
make sure one wasn't wearing fuschia next to someone in red. i think
that's the important thing. people can wear different colors, as long as
they look good together.
the photos turned out great
The reason you see people in blah matching clothes in portraits is
because that is often what is recommended by photographers. The theory
is that the faces in the portaits are what you see first if the clothes
aren't competing for attention. And I have to say, I have a portrait of
my sister's family in which they all wore ''whatever''
and it looks like crap. It just looks like a snapshot from an event, not
a nicely composed professional photo.
Have you considered black and white portraits? The clothing color would
be less of an issue in that case. You could also have everyone wear
clothes in the same color family, say a range of blues, purples, deep
magentas, etc. That's what we have done with my husband's family and it
looks nice. No patterns on the clothes, though. It really stands out and
it is the first thing people see. If your kids are young, they could be
naked or just wear overalls with no shirt...that is a popular look.
Another argument in favor of the khakis or jeans with plain shirts is
that the photo doesn't look totally dated in 5 years as styles change.
That is something to consider, too. A photo with toned-down clothes
As a photographer myself I recommend to my clients to stay away from
loud, distracting clothing patterns. No stripes, polka dots, plaid, you
get the picture (no pun intended :-)
I typically suggest staying with solid colors in a similar color palette
so that you're not clones, but you are a cohesive unit. When you look at
a family portrait your eye should typically go right to the subject's
face, not your shirt.
For lifestyle portraits of kids and such I think bright colors and some
patterns are fine. It depends on the type of photograph you are having
made. Will you be in a studio or out and about in a park? In any event,
Some of the best family portraits I've seen are ones where everyone is
in complimentary colors, but individual outfits. A friend of ours does
this, and I asked her how she plans it, and she told me that she picks a
color palate and then gives everyone their choice of clothing from
within this palate (every child has the choice of 2-3 outfits.) This
works very well since everyone doesn't have to be in the same color for
the pictures (as long as the colors are complimentary, the pictures turn
out great!) and this allows for the individuality it sounds like you are
looking for Good luck.
For your family portrait, I suggest wearing unobtrusive plain colors
that will not draw attention away from the person. The point of family
portraits, at least to me, is the faces and eyes of the people, so you
don't want the clothing to detract
from the faces. For my family, with light skin and fair hair,
we wore darker solid colors and were in a dark-ish background at a
studio, and the portrait is lovely. If you will be in a studio, they
will choose the background that you want or that they think looks best,
but if it will be outside or in your home, take the background into
account in color, light or darkness, and busy-ness. The one thing you
do NOT want to wear, in my experience, is any kind of print or plaid. I
recommend solid colors or a VERY subtle pattern at most. The
photographer in our case specifically suggested dark reds, blues, or
browns. I hope this helps. happy with our picture
I'm guessing you are opting for a color photo, but if black and white is
an option, that is one way to avoid most color- clashes. As for the
''matchy'' outfits some people wear for photos, I too get creeped out by
them. We've had some luck by just staying within the same general
palette, and steering clear of busy patterns, logos, etc. Assuming it's
2 adults + kids, I think it's easiest if one parent at least wears
something ''boring'', ie. white-ish shirt/blouse, jeans/khakis, and then
perhaps the other adult who wants to wear something more colorful
doesn't have to worry about clashing. Keep in mind that ''most'' of the
time, the photo set-up will hide adults' pants/bottoms. And then you can
work the kids' wardrobe around the adults Besides, their clothes are
smaller, so any clash won't be as noticeable as between adults.
More than anything, just have fun. We have some awful photos taken last
year after I'd just given birth, and my husband is missing a button AND
has his cell phone hooked to his pocket, while my breastmilk was leaking
through my shirt. We didn't even order them but always crack up at them
when we see them at my in-laws anon
Why, holiday sweaters, of course! J/K. I am with you about not liking
the all in jeans and khakis thing. It is a misled attempt to look
''timeless'' when actually it screams ''late 1990s Gap ad''. I think you
should wear (and dress your family in) whatever you wear for a special
occasion, or just what you wear on a regular day. Look like you are all
going to the same place, but don't dress in the same exact outfits,
colors, or patterns. (Exception for the kids--they can dress alike if
you want.) Avoid anything that is going to be too distracting or really
clash with someone elses outfit, but that doesn't mean you are bound to
blue, black, and beige.
The reason photographers recommend people wearing the same thing for a
portrait is the picture looks cleaner and you focus on the people, not
the clothes. Especially if you have a lot of people in the photo. While
it's great that everyone has their own individual taste in clothing, I'm
not sure if the family portrait is the best time to express this. I was
against the matching thing for a long time but in comparing portraits of
my family over the years, I have to say, when we all dressed alike (or
close to it) they looked more modern and everyone just looks great. it
doesn't have to be khaki pants and white shirts tho. It would depend on
if you're doing it in a studio and what type of back ground and such,
but maybe everyone can wear black.
I've seen photos like that and you mostely just see the faces. Or,
bottoms can be individual but all the tops should match.
We took a family portrait with 14 people, grandparents, parents and
kids. Our portrait was taken outdoors in a park so we dressed casually.
Some wore jeans, others wore khakis.
Everyone wore a different shirt or top, but in a range of shades of blue
or purple. (These were the colors we decided on as a family.) Choosing
1,2 or 3 different colors was suggested by our photographer. You can
choose the colors you like, but keep them complimentary so they don't
take away from the photo. You want people to look at your smiles, not
your clothes anon
I recommend plain white or black shirts for portraits. No logos, no
stripes or frills. The clothes don't date the picture so much and you
focus more on the faces of the people.
I'm with you - sometimes those identical outfits are a little too
perfect. BUT... when I was a teenager, 5 of us went to take a portrait.
4 were each in bright primary solids, and I was in a burgundy flowered
blouse. The pics were HORRIBLE.
So maybe you can just agree to wear outfits that complement each other
and are in the same color families. Like any variation of
navy/burgundy/forest green - if that's your style. Or each person picks
their favored outfit, and you decide ahead of time if they'll all look
harmonious together or just liek an eyesore, and then you make some
My Eyes Hurt
A good family portrait should draw attention to your lovely, smiling
faces, so the clothes should not be distracting. Solid colors, simple
lines, and timeless styles will serve you well.
Patterns don't always photograph well and can look busy, and
super-trendy outfits may look super-dated a few years from now. I agree
that you don't want to be too ''matchy-matchy,'' but on the other hand
if you're taking a color portrait you may want to put on all your
outfits and check that the colors work well together and don't clash.
I've also heard that though many of us like to wear black, it's not the
best color to be photographed in. Have fun!
For our family photos, my husband and I wore black and we dressed my
daughter in bright colors. The pictures turned out really nice. The
black and white photos were really crisp and the color ones were great
because my daughter stood out.
Does anyone have any advice about taking better photographs?
When I look at pictures of myself everything seems to look
bad ... double chin, weird smile, slightly crazed eyes ...
people consider me to be attractive in person yet all of the
features that look ''exotic'' in real life just look odd in
pictures. Any advice?
Funny Face in Photos
I've struggled with the same things! I almost always look better in
candid photos than in staged ones, so the first thing I do is try my
best to relax. Easier said than done when you're already stressed about
looking funny in the photo, but try! If possible, I find a longer photo
session, rather than just a single shot, helps me relax. Also, through
experimentation in front of a mirror (sounds crazy, but try it!) I've
found out a number of things: I look best when I turn my head to a 3/4
angle; I generally look better with a half-smile than a full one in
posed photos; holding my shoulders back and down a bit gives me a
flattering posture. If you plan to smile try to laugh so your eyes are
engaged and the smile looks genuine. And photographers are always
telling me to keep my chin up, so that must be worth something, too. It
can be hard to balance relaxing and thinking about all these details,
but I have found my photos have improved quite a bit since I started all
this stuff. Good luck!
My job requires that I am photographed constantly, after so many
strange smiles I have learned what is key. Before the photo is
snapped, relax your face - then focus on something really pleasant,
like picturing your child doing something funny, the instant your photo
is being snapped.
Works everytime. For double chin, you need to look up slightly and turn
your head to the side slightly.
People make fun of me because I have the same face in every picture but
it is because I figured out years ago what looks good in a pic. Part of
your problem is probably people are snapping shots when you are not
expecting it. So start by watching out when you see a camera around.
Analyze the problems with your pics and practice a face in the mirror
that fixes it. For ex., double chin--keep your tilted slightly chin up,
Notice if you have a good side and tilt your face that way toward the
camera. If it is that important, you have to do what models do and
develop a look. Or, just toss out the bad pics!
Photography has been an important hobby of mine for the past twenty
years and one thing I have learned is that the relationship between the
photographer and their subject/s is the most important factor in the
quality of the photo. I would suggest having a friend who you trust,
and are close to, and who knows their way around a camera, spend an hour
or two having fun, laughing, while they snap away with the camera. As
hard as it might be, forget about the camera and have fun. I think you
will be surprised at the results.
Here are a few tricks. 1) To avoid double chins, have the camera angling
down, like from above your head. 2) Instead of facing the camera head
on, a 3/4 view of a face is usually more flattering. 3) Whatever is
closest to the camera looks the largest, so if you want your bottom half
looking smaller, lean forward some how (like over a chair or a bench);
4) cover up the parts you would rather not see (e.g., stand your kids in
front of your thighs). 5) Relax and look natural - think of something
funny so that you have a natural smile on your face. 6) Lighting is key
- photos taken in the shade or on a cloudy day give the skin good color.
Try to avoid using the flash. 7) Put on lipstick - it makes a big
I think most people think they are not photogenic. I think I am very
unphotogenic, especially as I age. For me, the way to deal with this is
to try and not care so much. Our society has
taught us that we should look a certain way. Therefore, when
we don't measure up, it is yet another way to find fault with ourselves.
Be easy on yourself. Try to think of yourself as unique. That is
probably how the friends who you say think you are attractive see you.
They are not looking at a photo. They are looking at the whole picture.
That us what you need to do.
Have you seen yourself in videos? That presents a much truer picture of
how you look to others.
signed, Been There
Long ago I learned that you should tilt your head slightly down - you'll
have to play with the amount to find a balance between a double chin and
a wide nose - I think cocking your head slightly to one side works too
as long as your chin isn't too high.
We got a family photo session taken with a photographer. The photo
session took 3 hours- the kids loved it- so the photos turned out
great. I tried to get my husband to commit to how much we wanted to
spend before going into look at the results but all he could say was
lets see how they turn out and if they are great- get them. Well they
were great and I felt physically sick after ward and my husband was in
shock at the cost. During the viewing I would say no, the
photographer would say really? you have to get that one and my husband
would say lets get it.
I have learned to choose a photographer that allows you to buy the
proofs, or proofs come with the sitting fee, and allows you to view
the photos privately or on line.
Any other suggestions out there? Has this happened to anyone else?
I would advise that in the future you and your husband agree as
to how much you are going to spend before going shopping. The
photographer used your husband's desire to spend more than you
would have liked to on the pictures to sell them and it worked.
When my wife and I go shopping, we always decide in advance how
much we are going to spend. That way when people try to sell us
on things, we come across as a united front and we can't be
Your posting made me feel sad! As a photographer who deals with
clients and sales all the time I was bummed to hear that you
had this experience. Please don't think all photographers are
this way! What should have happened is that the photographer
should have prepped you for the cost by saying something during
your intitial consultation. For example, ''typically my clients
spend around $1000-$3000 for final art prints''. My clients
receive a ''proof magazine'' (12 images up on 8.5x11 size prints
which are spiral bound) and online hosting for 60 days included
with the session fee. That's my way of doing it, but there are
so many different ways that photographers package their
offerings. No way is right or wrong, they are just different.
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