Jo, what shall I get everyone to wear?
A family lifestyle photo session, is a very personalised photo shoot. It is about who you are, where your heart and homebase is, what you love, and a showcase of the family bond. The clothing you wear, should also reflect you and you should be comfortable in them. Here are some pointers to help bring those styles and personalities into a cohesive family portrait.
Matching outfits can look a little contrived and unnatural for a lifestyle type session, unless it's a multiple birth scenario and wearing matching outfits is the norm. You don't have wear the same colours, but it is nice to have clothing from the same colour pallette. In the photo above, everyone wearing their style, and the colours are in the greys, and blues range.
There are things in a photo that catches the eye and can make an individual stand out from the rest.
Sometimes this is wanted if there is person the family session is based around, e.g. Grandma and Grandad are celebrating 60 years married, the family get together at the family home to celebrate and have a family photo. If everyone was dressed in plain muted coloured clothing, the Grandparents could be wearing something more colourful or more patterned, so they stand out more in a family photo.
Generally though most lifestyle family photos are about the whole family, so here are some things to be aware of.
RED in a photo catches the eye. If there is red in a photo, your eye is drawn to it and it becomes a focus point.
Writing on T shirts, signage in a setting, will draw the eye because you automatically go in to read it. Home names and welcome signs are okay when they are part of the family story, but a slogan on a T shirt can be distracting...... Unless you are all Dr Who or Star Trek fans and then you have my understanding and blessing.
Bold contrasting colours can work if everyone is wearing mainly one particular colour. One person wearing bold contrasting colours will make their clothing stand out.
Heavily patterned clothing can also draw the eye. It is usually okay if the colours and pattern don't clash and blend in with the rest of the family. There are some patterns that make the camera go a bit crosseyed, you know those 'I'm going to hypnotise you with my eyes can't settle anywhere' type patterns.
I take a lot of black and white photos in my lifestyle family photo sessions too. In black and white there is no colour to contrast, so sometimes the clothing can blend in with the background. That should be something the photographer will pick up on though. Just if you a planning a black and white lifestyle session in the snow, don't wear all white.
Feel free to add any pointers in the comments you might have, on what to wear in a family lifestyle photo session.