To me, the most important thing about a photo wardrobe is that is in line with who you and your family are. You should wear clothes that you would wear normally, not something you would only ever wear for photos. Of course, you don't want to wear your favorite old stained t-shirt, but you should wear clothes you plan to wear again. If you never wear dresses, don't wear a dress. If you love flats, wear a nice pair of flats. When you wear clothes you like and feel comfortable in, you will be more relaxed and comfortable and it will show in your photos.
I have two strategies for choosing and coordinating outfits that I suggest to clients, but first, here are a few general tips:
-Coordinate clothes between family members, don't match them! When everyone is wearing very similar colors and clothes, people get lost. You want each person to be dressed as an individual.
-Patterns are ok, but avoid big, flashy or gaudy patterns.
-Choose colors you love, but try to avoid a lot of very bright colors, especially in the red/pink family. This doesn't mean no red or pink, but try to go with somewhat more muted shades as opposed to fuchsia.
-Since the weather can be unpredictable in Colorado, make sure you have coordinating sweaters or jackets for the kids that you wouldn't mind having in the photos.
-Look for simple, but interesting pieces. Pieces with a lot of extra embellishments can take the focus away from the people in the photograph.
-Don't forget to consider the shoes! Try to avoid athletic shoes, especially white or light colored ones and especially on adults. They tend to stick out in full body shots. Casual shoes are fine, but leave your running shoes at home.
-Add a few accessories, but don't over-accessorize, again, this takes the focus away from you!
I said earlier, I have two different strategies for choosing outfits that I suggest. Pick the one you think will work the best for you (or combine them!).
Strategy 1: Pick a Color Scheme First
One way to go about picking outfits for your family photos is to start with a color scheme. Start by choosing a neutral or family of neutrals. For casual photos, you may go with denim or khaki/tan as your neutral. For more formal photos, you may want black or navy as your neutral. Then, choose 2-3 additional colors to complete your color scheme. Once you have a color scheme, you can pick outfits for each person (or ask them to pick outfits) that fit in the color scheme. Remember, you don't want everyone to match and not everyone needs to wear all of the colors. In the example below, the neutral is denim/dark blue. The two additional colors chosen were purple and gray. As you can see, mom is only wearing purple and denim and dad is only wearing gray and denim. Again, not everyone needs to wear all of the colors. As you can see, all these outfits coordinate well and they would look great together in photos.
The second strategy involves picking one special outfit that will become a centerpiece in your wardrobe selections. Probably because I am a mom of girls, I typically recommend starting by picking an outfit for one of the girls in the photos (if you have any!) and then choosing the other girls' outfits to coordinate, followed by the boys, then mom and dad. Of course, if you find a great piece for any family member, you can use it as your starting point, regardless of who will be wearing it! In the example below, I started with the little girls' dress and added her leggings, shoes and sweater to make it a complete outfit. Then, I moved on to her brother followed by mom and finally dad. As you can see, each of other outfits goes well with the little girl's dress and they all also go well with each other. This photo also illustrates the recommendation to have coordinating sweaters or jackets for the kids. Depending on the weather, they can wear them or not. Either way, the photos will still look great! It would probably also be a good idea for mom to bring a coordinating sweater just in case.